Gardening with Free-Range Chickens For Dummies
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There are many medicinal herbs that play a role in benefiting chickens’ general health and laying, repelling pests, and even de-worming. The herbs described here also are used as edibles for culinary use and provide benefits in a chicken garden for chickens.

Planning your herb garden

Herbs can be planted intermingled throughout your chicken garden, and close to the chicken coop. Many herbs are multifunctional in the chicken garden, providing ornamental beauty, fragrance, health benefits to your chickens, and insect-repellent qualities.

Herbs are fascinating plants that deserve a spot in everyone’s garden. The best location for culinary herbs is a sunny spot immediately off your kitchen door for convenience. Plant herbs in the ground or in containers. Protect these herbs from your chickens, like you do with your vegetables for health reasons, and because many of them are delicate annuals.

If you need a larger quantity of herbs, you can plant additional herbs in your fenced vegetable garden — again, away from your chickens.

The ten most popular herbs for people are basil, curly and Italian parsley, sage, chives, mint, Greek oregano, rosemary, French tarragon, dill, and cilantro.

Examples of herbs in the chicken garden

Try planting the following herbs in your chicken garden, for all of their benefits for chickens:

  • Catmint: Nepeta cataria. Perennial. Hardy to Zone 3. Full sun. Known for attracting bees and cats. 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. Perennial. 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. Comfrey is a dynamic accumulator. It can become invasive in the garden.

  • Fennel: Foeniculum vulgare. Annual. 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. Perennial. 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. It’s very attractive to bees. 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: Nasturtium majus. Annual and perennial. 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. Perennial. 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 or mugwort: Artemisia absinthium. Perennial. 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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