Saturday, April 19, 2014

Feathered Friday: Herbs for Chickens

As many already know, we had a predator attack the hens and rooster my neighbors left for me.  Evidence left after another attempt proved it to be a raccoon, and it got the rooster and one hen.  Later the next week we lost another hen, but not to a predator.

Front and rear tracks of raccoon
That's been a few weeks past, now.  But this past Sunday, Palm Sunday, I found another egg in one of the nest boxes.  It wasn't the prettiest egg, being pale with textured red-brown speckles, and the shell was thin.  But it was and egg!

First egg after predator attack
After careful observation, and thanks to The Chicken Chick, I was able to determine that the hen leaving me such wonderful presents is Boo-boo.  She is the one that first "told" me something was wrong after the attack because she was limping due to an injury on her leg.

Of the two hens left, Boo-boo is the friendliest and least skittish, which is ironic when you consider the other hen wasn't physically harmed in any way while Boo-boo was.  
Henny & Boo-boo enjoying honey-cinnamon oatmeal
I'll explain in a later post how I know it's Boo-boo leaving me presents, but today I want to tell you why she's leaving me presents.  
Happy hens lay eggs!

I give these girls warm oatmeal with cinnamon and honey mixed in a few times a week.  On top, I sprinkle raw oats.  They love it.

I also give them herbal tea I make myself on a daily basis.  Each batch is different, and I don't measure, but they almost always empty the bowl from the time I put it down in the morning till I pick it up in the evening.  

My purpose today is to give a quick run-down of the herbs I am currently using and the benefits they provide.  Since I don't have fresh herbs growing yet, I'm using dried right now.  I will switch to fresh and add more when they start coming in.
  1. Basil is a natural antibacterial and good for helping to maintain mucus membrane health.
  2. Cinnamon aids respiratory health, including treatment for respiratory issues.
  3. Dill also aids the the health of the respiratory system.  It is also an antioxidant and acts as a sedative or relaxant.
  4. Garlic (fresh crushed cloves) is a parasitic additive, helping to keep the hens free of parasites like worms and mites.  It is also a good additive for reproductive health, otherwise known as egg-laying.
  5. Oregano has antibiotic properties.
  6. Parsley is a vitmin-rich herb also good for reproductive health and the circulatory system development.
  7. Rosemary is another herb good for respiratory health.  It is also a pain reliever and insect repellant.
All of these herbs I use in the tea I make for the chicks and hens.  I just fill my kettle with water, add whatever herbs I want (which is usually a bit of each) and turn it on high.  Once it starts whistling, I turn the heat off, but leave the kettle on the hot burner.  I like to let it steep until it's cool.  When it gets strong, as it will do over the hours, I add water to dilute it.  This method makes the tea last longer.  Once it's cool enough, I pour it into mason jars and store it in the fridge.

The chicks and hens get some every day, and I leave the herb bits in.  They seem to like the extra treats.  

Obviously Boo-boo is appreciative of the treats I've been putting down every day.  Here are the five eggs she's left since last Sunday.  The egg on the far left is the first one she laid.  You can see how they have gotten darker, with more uniform color each day.  They are also gradually getting bigger.

Herbs are Mother Nature's natural solution.

*Note:  I got this information from many different sites, and included the herbs every site listed.

1 comment:

  1. You're such a good mommy to the hens and chicks... Thanks so much for taking them on and feeding the kitties. ;-)