Because we’d taken down the layers snake fence on Saturday and they would have no more access to greens until spring, I started making up the Herbs for Hens mixture.
This first batch is in a ½ gallon jar. It will be thoroughly shaken to mix the plants together. I use the attractant to determine if it is well mixed.
I dehydrate all types of herbs, forbs, and flowers during the season. For each mix, which lasts about 5 days, I try to use a nutritional (parsley, dandelion, red clover, etc), a medicinal (echinacea, Tulsi basil, yarrow, etc.,) an anti-parasitic wormer (wormwood, southernwood, etc), and an attractant (marigolds, calendula, roses, chamomile).
I usually use 5 different ones in each mix. I have up to 42 different plants to choose from each year. This was the first batch: marigold as attractant, raspberry and basil as nutritional, echinacea as medicinal, and tansy for parasites. I keep a record of each mix, in case there’s a problem with the flock.
The herbs I use are not fit for human consumption usually. They may be excessively dirty, or buggy, or poorer quality. When dehydrating for human use, I select the very best and the rest is saved for the hens in winter. The label has a large “C” indicating it is for chicken use only.
The mix is sprinkled on top of their organic alfalfa mash each morning. They will select the plants they need and leave the rest. Some days they clean it right out, others it is still mostly there by evening.