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Herbs For Healthy Chickens

Posted 4 years ago. Under General category.


There are a number of common herbs we can grow for chickens for general health. Herbs can also be used to treat chooks for infestations of worms, lice and mites.

Herbs for general health

General poultry tonics and laying stimulants include, garlic, onion, chickweed dandelion, fennel, wormwood, rue, cleavers, cress, marigold, mint, vervain, comfrey, mullein roots, thyme, marjoram, sage, nasturtium, mugwort, goats rue, gotu kola and parsley.

Parasitic worms, body lice and mites are the most common problem of chickens.


A good preventative for worms is nettle. The nettles should be boiled and the liquid added to mash when cold.

Garlic is the best organic treatment for worms.

A cold extract can be made by putting several cloves of crushed garlic into half a cup of water overnight. It can be given to chickens individually by eyedropper or the extract can be put into the chooks drinking water for a week.

Herbs can also be used on a regular basis to treat worms.

Once a month leaves such as horseradish, garlic, wormwood, tansy, elder, santolina, rue hyssop, goats rue, can be mixed with onions, grated carrots, mustard and pumpkin seeds and then added to feed at a rate of about 20%.

Nasturtium leaves and seeds have antiseptic and medicinal properties and are also good wormers.

Lice and Mites

Lice and mites are another common problem for poultry. Garlic again is suitable for these problems.

Artemisia’s such as southernwood, wormwood, mugwort and other insect repellant herbs like tansy and fennel, when grown near the chook pen can be used to control these external parasites. Other good insecticidal herbs are rosemary, catnip, feverfew, lavender and pennyroyal.

These can also be grown near the chook shed, so the chickens can brush past them or nibble on them.

These insect repelling herbs can also be cut fresh and strewn around the ground in the chook area or can be dried and added to feed.

When herbs are used as a food for chickens they will only eat what they need of these herbs.


Comfrey is rich in protein and is a very nutritious tonic food. It has high levels of potassium and calcium and is a good source of amino acids. If chickens are fed comfrey daily before their grain, they will have good health and produce eggs with golden yolks.


A common weed that grows during the cooler months of the year here in SEQld is chickweed. This is a favourite tonic green for chickens.


Feverfew is related to pyrethrum but is not as strong. It produces lots of flowers and self seeds readily. Flowers and leaves can be made into a tea and sprayed to control lice and mites.

Gotu Kola

Gota kola is a creeping plant that likes damp partially shaded areas. The leaves fed to chickens are a useful tonic. It can be used externally for skin conditions.


Nasturtiums are a good general herb for chickens. It has antiseptic and antibiotic properties and is a good wormer. It also helps to repel insects.


Nettles are a great tonic herb for poultry. High in a range of vitamins and minerals, they are a preventative against worms and can be dried and added to comfrey to stimulate egg laying.

This is just a few of the herbs that you can give to your chickens; there are many salad herbs that are quite safe to feed to your chooks.

What herbs do your chooks like the best? Leave a comment.

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23 Responses to “Herbs For Healthy Chickens”
  • Blessed Homestead says:

    cayenne. I use it as a regular dewormer. Add it to the feed at the rate of 1 TBSP per 5 lbs, and/or per 2 gallons of water. if there is an outbreak of cocci, do both water and feed, and make sure it is their only source of water. For maintenance, treat the feed once a month for a week at a time. For an outbreak treat for 2 weeks. I also keep ALL chicks and poults on this in both their feed and water until fully fledged and they are foraging well on their own.

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  • Chris says:

    I gave my girls a bunch of flowers yesterday including nasturtiums, geranium and a white flower, and beetroot leaves a few days ago. This morning I noticed a different smell in the coup, one runny poo and one that looked a little red/ orange and mucus-ey. I’m not sure if they ate too much and the colour is from the flowers / beetroot or something else/ or how worried I should be.

    I’ve read on some sites that chickweed may be toxic….? They had some earlier in the week.

    from a nervous new chook owner!

    • Sandra says:

      I don’t think it would be the chickweed, we give our chooks bucket loads and don’t have a problem.
      Not sure what the problem is with your chooks.
      Sorry I am not more helpful.

  • Roxanne says:

    Thanks for all of this info! Our ladies LOVE Borage! It’s great for us because our borage self seeds and grows to massive sizes, so we keep it in check by cutting it for the chickens. I’m sure there’s some medicinal value, but i haven’t researched it as of yet. Thanks again for the info!

  • Niki says:

    Just a word of warning about chickweed is that there is a weed very similar looking to this one called milkweed, when you break the stem milkweed leaks a “milky” white substance. It’s very toxic to animals.

  • mansoor says:

    i tried it on my chick it really works

  • I enjoy your blog at

    au/blog/2010/10/herbs-for-healthy-chickens/. Magnificent expertise regarding dui, thanks
    so much for sharing.

  • Lisa says:

    I bought four pullets a week ago, and this weekend they have their first venture out of the coop/small run and into the larger area that we will extend until they go can have the whole yard. I planted a variety of herbs around the coop, many you’ve listed, for them to eat, to make the coop smell nice, and to keep bugs away.

    They have had a ball, but the one plant they’ve gone nuts for is a German Camomile. In two days they have pecked two plants down to almost nothing!

    I cannot find anything online about this plant and chickens… any ideas?

  • Polly says:

    Good, concise article, thank you. I’m currently planting up a yard for hens and found your site while searching for herbs.

    At my last house I had many self seeding plants, crossed from a few varieties of mustard greens I had originally planted. The hens loved them and laid eggs with yolks that were so THICK it was difficult to beat them into the whites. They were extra delicious!

  • Karyna says:

    Found your site very informative, I have many lavender bushes and have found cutting foliage and scattering over hen house floor wonderful for keeping parasites and mites away!

  • Lynne says:

    My 5 bantams destroy anything I plant. They knocked over clay pots to get to some. Any suggestions. At present I have old cages over plants but out’s not very attractive.

  • I feed my chickens all kinds of weeds around the yard. Everything I can pull up. They simply eat everything and anything. Even threw a snake in there once when I found one in the yard. i thought it would scare them. Instead they tore it to shreds trying to eat it. The darn snake was about 4 foot long! I stood there stunned and disbelieving but they loved it. Needless to say, I never did that again. LOL…

  • Oh, and I planted cannas in an area in the back and when we extended the pen they had we enclosed the chickens with the cannas. they ate them up. I had to dig them up and move them outside the pen. Chickens are eating (and pooping) machines.

  • Monica says:

    I don’t really like buying grain or laying pallets for my chickens. They don’t eat half of it anyway, they pick out the bits they like. I am tying to go totally organic. Is there plants and other food I can feed my chickens that will still keep them laying eggs. Thanks

  • Ashley says:

    Do you have a suggestion about which trees to plant as shade trees for my coop area?

  • Mary Bowers says:

    I give the chickens all my weeds as well as the grubs I find while weeding, too! I was under the impression that parsley was not good for chickens. Please tell me I’m wrong! I have a ton of it growing. Also, is rosemary good for them to eat? I know that rosemary and garlic is a great hog dewormer, but can I feed it to my chicks and chickens? Does it have to be dried? I’m trying to grow nasturtiums- they never germinate, and will also try comfrey and nettle. We move our ‘egg-mobile’ around, so it’s not practical to plant near the ‘coop’, so any advice about that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for this article! Just what I have been looking for!

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