Herbs can be used for culinary and health benefits for both humans and your backyard flock. Most herbs are extremely easy to grow, aren't finicky about sun, soil or moisture and many are perennial and come back year after year bigger and better than the year before!
Herbs can be hung in the coop for them to pick at or used fresh or dried and used in their dirt bath area and nesting boxes. If you hang a bunch in the coop they can be left indefinitely but if adding them to their nesting boxes they will need to be replaced when you clean out the coop so that they don't get moldy.
This is a list of my favorite herbs to grow and harvest for my flock.
- Mint - peppermint, spearmint or lemon balm. Mint can lower body temperature and is a great addition to their water during the hot summer months. It's smell is calming and de-stressing which makes it a great addition to the nesting boxes. Mint is a natural insect and rodent deterrent because they don't like the strong smell. However, mint by itself will not completely solve your insect problems. Mint tends to spread quickly, if you don't have lots of room it does very well in containers too.
- Oregano - oregano has antibacterial and anti-parasitic properties and is a great addition for your flock supporting healthy immune and respiratory systems.
- Lavender - lavender has great aromatherapy benefits! I don't use it in their feed or give them access to pick at but it is very calming and peaceful. Lavender also repels bugs and is beneficial to the circulatory system. Hanging it fresh or drying it and putting it in the nesting box will help your hens feel calm and safe.
- Calendula - calendula will help repel insects and you can use the flowers and the leaves. Consumption of the petals will give a lovely orange color to the egg yolks and will also turn the birds beaks and feet a lovely healthy color. It has amazing anti inflammatory benefits and when made into a salve or ointment can help with an egg bound hen.
- Thyme - thyme is another herb that spreads very quickly. It needs full sun and well drained soil but has so many amazing benefits for the flock. It is also an insect repellent and has antibiotic properties that are great for respiratory infections and just an overall boost to the birds health.
Best of luck and happy gardening!