Hens and Herbs – A Love Affair

My chickens love their herbs! Every morning after I feed them their wet fermented mash, I cut them fresh culinary herbs. I walk down through my vegetable garden and meadow clipping fresh tarragon, fennel, parsley, sage, basil, mint, catmint and even spinach gone to seed. I chop them all up and add the herbs to their food dish and offer several dishes of herbal tasty treats. In a short time every bit of fresh green herbs are eaten.

Eating and posing USETHIS ONE

Herbs the breakfast of champions!

It’s important to teach my three-month-old Rhodies to eat these fresh herbs now, because I am already drying many herbs for winter eating for when the deep snow is on the ground and live greens are hard to find. Last spring when they were just tiny chicks, I fed them dried sage, oregano and kale which they gobbled up. Their absolute favorite was the dehydrated kale and I was thrilled because I know how healthy kale is.

babies corner food and herbs USE

My Rhode Island Reds feeding station and hang out place. I give them food, water, herbs, a tarp for shade and a roost bar for an afternoon rest.

I’m the first to admit that feeding fresh herbs is not my original idea. A number of chicken bloggers choose herbs for their many health benefits and many knowledgeable chicken keepers are feeding their hens and chicks fresh herbs every day.

Herb bed 6-2015

In my opinion as a chicken keeper this is definitely a nutritional strategy that is worth the time and effort. If you desire to learn more about the benefit of herbs for chickens, I recommend you visit the Facebook community, Susan BurekPoultry Natural Living & Herbal Care started by herbalist Susan Burek for lots of great information. You can also visit her website Moonlight Mile Herb Farm, http://www.moonlightmileherbs.com

Moonlight Mile LOGO

I am attending the Great Lakes Herb Faire this September and am anxious to hear Susan present and learn even more.

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2015 Great Lakes Herb Faire logo. I’m signed up!

My herbs have been chosen for their soothing and healing properties as well as their nutrition. Their fresh smell is delightful too. I had thought that perhaps the strong taste of some of the herbs, like fennel for example, would be too strong to be accepted but this does not seem to be the case. My laying hens and pullets gobble them all up. 

Herbs hanging on old rake USE

I hang a bunch of mint and tansy on my coop where the hens dust to help with fly control.

Yes, hens need their grains, vitamins and minerals to stay healthy but fresh live green are like a nutritious summer dessert. Now why can’t we humans have nutritional desserts every day too? I vote yes, do you?

Herbs and mash

Small House homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna



I Signed Up for The Great Lakes Herb Faire

I did it. I made my commitment to the September Great Lakes Herb Faire today and I am now registered for this amazing event. Their website is greatlakesherbfaire.org/about.html

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The first Great Lakes Herb Faire will be held on September 11-13 2015, at the Chelsea Outdoor Center which is located at 2500 Pierce Road in Chelsea, Michigan. This three-day event is dedicated to the sharing of herbal knowledge.

Many community-building activities, like  morning yoga and tai chi, and evening drumming and Contra dancing are planned as well. There is also a vendor opportunity for sellers and buyer alike.

Herb bed 6-2015

One of my herb beds planted in very old RR ties to contain them.

While I am nervous that I have may have over scheduled myself this fall (I have two trips planned in Sept.) I am very excited about this learning opportunity.

Artesemesia close

Artemisia/wormwood in my meadow; primarily used in aromatherapy and as a de-wormer for chickens. This has a sage like scent with mint undertones.

I can’t wait to meet others of like mind, to listen to what the many talented herbalists and teachers from throughout the Great Lakes bioregion have to share.

Comfrey close USE

Comfrey in my meadow; Used as a fertilizer, conditioner for soil and activator for compost. I use it to make compost tea for tomatoes. Also used as an herbal medicine for healing scrapes and bruises.

And what I am really “over the moon” about is that I will be able to meet and take a class with herbalist Susan Burek of Moonlight Mile Herb Farm http://www.moonlightmileherbs.com/

Moonlight Mile LOGO

I am a member of her Poultry Natural Living and Herbal Care blog, https://www.facebook.com/groups/herbalpoultrycare/ and quite frankly, I am in awe of her herbal knowledge and skills.

I am thrilled to finally meet her, purchase some of her special herbal avian tonics and tremendously interested in learning more about her experiences, natural chicken keeping tips and her unique way of using herbs in her chicken keeping.

I grow many herbs here at The Small House Homestead but I do not always feel confident about the best way to use them.

For additional details about the faire or to register go to the Facebook page; Great Lakes Herb FaireFestival ImageSmall House Homesteader and chicken keeper, Donna