Herbs for Hens - December 1, 2019 @goldenoakfarm

Herbs for Hens - basil, echinacea, tansy, marigold, raspberry crop December 2019.jpg

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.

Herbs for Hens -  marigold, raspberry, echinacea, tansy, basil crop December 2019.jpg

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).

Herbs for Hens -  marigold, raspberry, echinacea, tansy, basil lids crop December 2019.jpg

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.

Layers mash with herbs crop December 2019.jpg

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.

Comments 6

This is interesting and something I've not heard of before. We had chickens when I was growing up and we never did this. Is this because it snows where you are? Sorry for my ignorance...

03.12.2019 10:00

I had chickens as a child also and we never did this.

I learned about it from Fresh Eggs Daily, back when she had a nice blog, not all selling like it is now.

I do it to keep the hens healthy over the winter in a much smaller confinement than they have the rest of the year. They have no access to greens from December until March or April. It also provides higher nutrition for the eggs. My eggs stay bright orange year round.

03.12.2019 12:44

Ah, makes sense. I think we (humans) have lost many skills and much knowledge as time as moved forward. We think we're so clever these days but I wonder if those that came before had a better, more intrinsic knowledge, of the world they lived in. I think they lived more in synergy with their surroundings. Little tricks like this one...Possibly a remnant from the past? I don't know, not that smart, but I surmise.

Thanks for replying. Much appreciated.

03.12.2019 12:49

That is cool to hear your eggs stay bright orange through the winter, usually there is such a noticeable difference between hens that forage outside vs feed fed. Very interesting post. Cheers

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04.12.2019 05:17
04.12.2019 05:17

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04.12.2019 05:20