Grow Your Own Chicken Treats (Herbs!)
Homemade treats for chickens
One of the best projects for spring is growing healthy homemade treats for your chickens. You can try growing a number of herbs in pots covered with chicken wire and see which the ladies enjoy the most. In this post and video, we demonstrate growing rosemary as a homemade treat for chickens in a pot and adding it right outside the coop in an area where our birds free-range. We also provide our flocks with Scratch and Peck Feeds’ Cluckin’ Good Organic Herbs, which we add to the chickens’ layer feed each morning. Growing herbs is a fun way to ensure the flock is getting a large variety of “treats” that are healthy and have a ton of benefits. However, supplements like this product should be used regularly in layer feed and in addition to whatever you grow in the coop. Better safe than sorry! Not everything grows perfectly and you want to make sure those herbs are added daily!
Here are some common benefits associated with these Scratch and Peck herbs!
Nettle: Calcium, bone strengtheningGinger: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
Garlic: Immune support
Basil: Adaptogen, anti-inflammatory
Thyme: Respiratory health
Calendula: Contains xanthophylls, which deepens egg yolk color
Oregano: Antioxidant for immune support
Parsley: Good source for vitamin K, D, and A, folate, and iron
Try parsley, sage, lavender, bee balm (which is also a flower), basil, rosemary, oregano (a natural antibiotic as well as a great culinary herb).Why rosemary for our coop? We chose to grow rosemary for a number of its health properties. According to Backyard Chicken Coops,
“Rosemary is great at assisting with pain relief and enhancing respiratory health in your girls. It’s also a great natural insecticide, so will help repel any pesky insects that hang around your coop. To harness all of this goodness try planting a rosemary plant in (or near) your chicken run, this way it will ward off pests and your girls can peck at the leaves until their heart’s content. You could also place freshly cut rosemary leaves in their nesting boxes and scattered around the coop.”
Materials to make a Self-Serve Herb Pot for Your Chickens:
- Chicken wire
- Staple gun and wire cutters
- One rosemary herb starter (or chicken-appropriate herb of your choice)
- Potting soil
- A pot that’s big enough so the rosemary will grow up through the wire
DIY projects almost always take some trial and error, so watch your birds! They may love the lavender but never touch the oregano. Plant the rosemary and see what happens. I promise the ladies will take an interest. Put the chicken wire over the pot so the plant sticks straight through the top. Use a staple gun to attach the wire to the outside of the pot to keep the wire in place. If you haven’t used chicken wire before, note that it’s hard to unroll and even harder to cut straight edges! It doesn’t have to be perfect. The most important thing is to make sure the wire prongs aren’t sticking out where the birds can catch their feathers on it. Expect your birds to stand on the edge of the pot and nibble on the herbs! Here are some more resources on how to grow your own homemade treats for chickens:
- Gardening with Chickens: Plans and Plants for You and Your Hens by Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily
- Plant a Chicken Garden from HGTV
- Feeding the Flock from Home Resources from The Modern Homestead
If you have questions, please leave a comment below.