I have had chickens before, but our old barn was not predator proof and one by one something…a possum or raccoon, was able to get into the barn and kill them. I knew I would not get any more chickens until I could be sure they would be safe. The old barn was torn down last year, and I decided a chicken tractor would be the perfect choice for getting new chickens. I wanted them to be able to have access to fresh grass, but didn’t want them to unprotected in the yard, or cooped up in a pen. We have neighborhood dogs, and our own dog Reba, is not confined to the house, so a sturdy pen was a must. My husband made the chicken tractor, and it has worked out great. We move it either daily, or every other day.
I have six Rhode Island red hens that were four months old when I purchased them. I feed them non GMO feed, and they have access to fresh grass everyday. But there are other things you can do to keep you hens happy and healthy too. Fresh and dried herbs can be added to their feed and nesting box to provide natural antibiotics and strengthen their immunity. Making it smell better is a plus.
Oregano is best picked fresh from your herb garden and added to their feed, or can be used dried. It is a now even being tested for use in large commercial poultry farms to help reduce salmonella, e-coli, and Avian flu.
Sage can be picked fresh and placed in their pen for free choice, or you can dry it and add it to their feed. It is a natural antioxidant.
Mint is easy to grow and when placed in the nesting box it helps repel bugs and mice. Mint also helps lower body temperature, and can be placed in the water of chickens in the summer, or frozen in ice cubes for a summer treat.
One nosey hen couldn’t resist trying to see what I was doing.
I love lavender, and so do chickens. Placed in the nesting box it not only makes it smell great, it is calming to the chickens, and acts as an insect repellent.
Like lavender, thyme is an insect repellent, and has antibiotic and anti-bacterial qualities. Parsley is packed full of nutrients, and stimulates egg laying.
There are many other herbs that are great for your hens. They are all easy to grow and would be a great addition to your herb garden.
It didn’t take long for the girls to head into the coop for a better look.
If you would like to know more about taking care of your chickens I have included a couple of great books. Lisa Steele is the Guru of keeping chickens naturally and sells her own line of chicken herbs. Her book Fresh Eggs Daily, is a great resource. She also has a blog of the same name. These are linked to Amazon and I will receive a small commission which helps keep this blog going.
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