Incorporating Herbs into Natural Chicken Keeping

When I first started raising  chickens more than five years ago, I knew I wanted to do it naturally. I mean, what would be the point of raising our own chickens for the eggs if we were going to use chemicals and medications and antibiotics on them.

Trouble was, not a lot of studies had been done (and still haven't) on herbal remedies and preventives for chickens. Chicken homeopathy just isn't on the scientific research labs' radar!

But I didn't let that deter me. What has been tested and studied is the health benefits of all the culinary herbs for humans.

Every herb has amazing and varied health benefits for humans, and  those benefits also apply to animals as far as I could ascertain from the few books that did talk about holistic animal care.

All of the culinary herbs are completely safe to feed to your flock. I already grew many varieties in my herb garden to use in cooking, so I just expanded my garden and started growing extras for the chickens.

Common sense told me that adding herbs to our chickens' environment and diet could only have a positive effect. There was no downside as far as I could see.

Practically free and easy to grow, herbs made their way into my homeopathic chicken keeping regiment little by little over the years. 

I've since read countless books and articles on using herbs, become a certified herbalist, and been able to see first-hard in my own flock the obvious benefits of herbs.

Some herbs I add to their feed, others I put in their nesting boxes, others I hang in the coop or run depending on the specific herb's benefits.

Maybe you don't believe that mint and pine repels rodents or that pumpkin seeds expel internal worms. I can't empirically prove that lavender calms hens or repels insects.

But what I can tell you that in all the years I've been raising chickens, I've never had a rodent infestation in my coop, never seen any mites or lice on my chickens, despite using straw - which some claim harbors all kinds of critters.

I've never had a hen with any kind of sickness, no respiratory illness, never had to treat for worms.

So with so much potential upside to using herbs, and no downside, I continue to use them in my chicken keeping with really amazing results: 

Whether you believe in the healing power of herbs or not, they at the very least make a beautiful and aromatic addition to any chicken coop.

And just as you don't need to be a doctor to know how to feed your family a healthier diet, you don't need to be a vet or herbalist to feed your chickens a healthier diet. Just add some herbs.

For more information or further reading about my personal experience using herbs, my book Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens...Naturally (St. Lynn's Press, 2013) covers in far more detail how I have incorporated herbs into nearly every aspect of chicken keeping.

-Available on and at bookstores everywhere-

©2014 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc. All rights reserved.


  1. This is why I grow my own herbs ... ok, this is one of the many reasons as to why I grow my own herbs :)

  2. Darn it. I always wondered about herbs for my girls. Now you gave me just enough information that I have to finally go and buy your book. You make me mad. I hope your happy. LOLOLOLOL Anyway it's in my shopping cart so I'll remember to get it payday.

  3. Hahhah! Oh you're funny! Yes! Herbs are so beneficial for them and so easy to add into your daily routine. Plus they're easy to grow and many are perennials.

  4. Same here...just one more reason to love both herbs AND chickens!

  5. Love your book. My sister sent it to me as a surprise. I have been wanting to raise chickens for awhile and a bit scared of the work involved and my sister, who has about 50 has been encouraging me, hence the book. I have a nice little herb garden already so you book was an inspiration for sure.

  6. I've ordered your book, and it has been shipped, can't wait to receive it, and read more on how to use herbs with our chickens. I have a lot to learn about chickens, and am really looking forward to reading your book!

  7. I've had an herb garden for as long as I can remember. I've also dreamed just as long to have my own chickens, hopefully that dream will be realized in the next year. I'm heading over to order a copy of your book. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

  8. As if I ever needed anymore reasons. Although I have chicken right now that seems to have this undying need to cluck very loud at 6am every morning.

  9. Such a wealth of information here. I'm always amazed at the healing power of herbs. Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday; hope to see you again this week.

  10. I love the way you hang the herbs in front of the nest boxes! I'm going to have to get some hooks and try that!

    Thanks again for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday last week! I hope you'll stop by and link up this week too!