I have basically accepted the fact that I’m a crazy chicken lady. I just am.
If you are reading this – you might be too. Men are welcome into the club. The disease knows no boundaries.
The disease begins with a want for farm fresh eggs. Maybe you couldn’t keep your garden alive so you would try your hand at livestock. Maybe your garden is thriving and you want a new challenge. Perhaps you have no garden and you just want chickens. It is possible you don’t even know what a fresh egg tastes like.
Whatever the case, you were bitten with the crazy chicken person bug.
You get birds that lay LOTS of eggs, birds that lay PRETTY eggs, birds that ARE pretty, or maybe you buy the cheapest birds you can find. Regardless – you begin your flock.
You acquire them a house, nesting boxes, food, water. You watch them grow from tiny little peepers into big ole feather-butts and one day you get AN EGG!
Perhaps you don’t eat the egg because… well, it came out the feather-butt’s…. butt.
That’s okay. You’ll be stronger next time.
Tomorrow a new egg appears… woah! Nobody ever said next time would be so soon. Now that you think of it, maybe they did, but you didn’t pay attention because the little nugget was soooo cute.
You try the egg.
You eat all the eggs you can but who eats that many eggs? You tell your friends about this magic animal that poops an egg every day and eats your bugs and your friend wants some eggs!
Stage three of the crazy chicken disease is in full-swing and you are oblivious.
Stage four: your chicken just ain’t right. She is coughing, or limping, or she just looks sick. Most farmers say cull it – farmer language for kill it before it infects the tribe, and probably the neighbors because chicken sickness can be rampant.
You could never! This bird was just laying magic health nuggets every day! Kill the chicken?! Blasphemy.
So, you spend hours and many dollars healing this livestock. You just earned the title ‘crazy chicken person.’
At least… that’s how I earned my title.
Prevent vs. Treat.
In life I like to prevent things instead of treating. Proactive instead of reactive. It is more productive and less stressful.
I am not perfect, and neither are you, so we will still get sick or injured birds. That’s okay. Better luck next time. Learn & grow.
In the event you DO need to treat the birds, VetRX, ACV, and TLC will cure MOST chicken illnesses.
Cull a chicken. Hmmph.
THEY are the crazy ones.
Who knew you could prevent chicken illnesses the same as people illnesses. Different creatures and illnesses, but herbs keep us both very healthy.
I have tried my hand at growing herbs for chickens, and it isn’t easy. Not for the reasons you are probably thinking though, it’s hard for the reason I didn’t think things through.
I planted so many herbs by my coop – for convenience of the chickens. They could eat freely and be the healthiest chickens you ever did meet.
Ha.Chickens know NO boundaries. They ate my plants so bare they didn’t even grow. Idiot.
So this year I am planting my plants behind fences or in window boxes the birds hopefully cannot reach.
Plants for Chickens.
So, I have a cheat sheet of herbs and plants you can grow for chickens.
Overall – I give my birds any food that’s about to go bad in the fridge. If part of it is moldy, cut that off first. Otherwise if you don’t think you’ll enjoy eating it, your birds will likely LOVE it. Plus it is more ‘natural’ and less processed than the layer pellet/crumble in the store.
I give them leftovers – salad, pancakes, eggs, stew veggies, literally anything from the fridge… they will eat. I cook from scratch mostly – so be cautious if you do not. Try to avoid fatty food at large, but at small it shouldn’t hurt.
My compost contains barely any kitchen scraps because the birds eat it.
If you would like to grow food specifically for your birds – give these a try.
Artemisia – repel Chicken mites & external parasites
Basil – improves immunity, repels pests, improves mucus membranes
Bee Balm – improves digestion, respiratory health
Borage – improves laying
Calendula – improves injuries and aids illness
Catnip – external pests
Chamomile – calming, general health
Chickweed – pain relief, nutritional, high in vitamins & minerals
Cilantro – antifungal, antioxidant
Comfrey – healing, high protein
Dandelion – immunity, high in calcium, improves egg color
Dill – respiratory health, antioxidant
Fennel – promotes laying, relaxing
Garlic – lowers internal & external parasites, respiratory health
Lavender – antibacterial, calming (broody), antiseptic
Lemongrass – fly repellent
Marigold – external pests
Marjoram – promotes laying, improves reproductive health
Mint – repels flies & rodents, promotes laying, deodorizer
Nasturtium – antiseptic, antibiotic, de-wormer, promotes laying
Nettle – high in minerals, calcium, and protein
Oregano – immunity, internal parasites, antiseptic, antibiotic
Parsley – promotes laying, high in nutrients
Plantain – aids wound healing, anti-inflammatory, helps diarrhea
Pumpkins – dewormer
Sage – lowers interest parasites, helps general health
Thyme – good for respiratory health, antiseptic, aids in external pests
Maybe that list is intimidating, don’t let it be.
Whatever you are currently growing, just use it. Dry the herbs and put it in their food, hang it in the coop or place a few sprigs in the nesting boxes.
Offer a few sprigs of fresh herbs to the birds.
When you fill their water – add some garlic and herbs.
Some of my chickens devour the mint or parsley and some prefer the thyme and basil. Perhaps the chickens eat what they need.
No need to add ALL of these into your chicken’s diet, but incorporate a few and they’ll be a tad better than they were yesterday. 🙂
If you ever have any questions, or ideas for future blogs, comment below or shoot me an email!
From the farm,