Gardening with Free-Range Chickens For Dummies
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Looking for some plants to grow in your chicken garden that have beneficial qualities for your chickens? Look no further. Check out the following herbs that pull double-duty: They are lovely to look at, and they offer health benefits to your chickens:

  • Catmint: Nepeta cataria. Perennials. Hardy to Zone 3. Full sun. A good insect repellent for lice and ticks on chickens. Catmint can be stunning as a mass border in a garden with its blue flowers.

  • Comfrey: Symphytum officinale. Perennials. Hardy to Zone 5. Rich in protein, potassium, and calcium. Beneficial to chickens for their general health and laying, but their leaves can be harmful to humans if ingested.

  • Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare. Annuals. Zones 69. A striking plant (especially the bronze variety) up to six feet tall. Lacy pods of yellow flowers can attract butterfly larvae and beneficial insects. Full sun. Their foliage and seeds are good for chickens to eat for general health.

  • Feverfew: Tanacetum parthenium. Perennials. Zones vary by species. Easily reseeds itself in the garden. Feverfew is an excellent insect repellent if you dry its small daisy-like flowers.

  • Lavender: Lavandula species. Zones vary by species. Evergreen shrubs. Full sun. One of the most popular and well-loved herbs. Lavender is a good insecticidal herb. Plant a row of lavender around your chicken coop. Put dried lavender in your chicken coop for an enhancing fragrance and to calm chickens.

  • Nasturtium: Tropaeolum majus. Annuals and perennials. Zones vary by species. Full sun. A great general herb for chicken health. Extremely attractive with vibrant edible flowers. It has antiseptic and antibiotic properties. Its seeds can be used as a natural chicken de-wormer. It also has insect repellent qualities. It reseeds itself.

  • Rosemary: Rosmarinus officinalis. Perennials. Evergreen shrubs. Zones 610. Full sun. It has showy flowers that come in blue, pink, and lavender, depending on the variety. Many different varieties in different forms. Use as a small hedge for groundcover. Its aromatic scent repels insects.

  • Sage: Salvia spp. Perennial evergreen herbs in Zones 910, and annuals in colder zones. Full sun. Many different varieties, and quite striking in a garden setting. Sage is a good herb for chickens’ general health.

  • Wormwood: Artemisia absinthium; or mugwort: Artemisia vulgarius. Perennials. Hardy to Zone 4. Beneficial as an insect repellent for chickens, prepared as a steeped tea mixture. Grow next to your chicken coop to help control external parasites.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Bonnie Jo Manion has been featured in national garden magazines with her gardens, organic practices, chickens, and designs. Follow Bonnie at Rob Ludlow is the owner of, a top source on chicken raising, and the coauthor of Raising Chickens For Dummies.

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