So if any of you guys have ever planted oregano or any herbs in the mint family, you’re very aware of how they tend to dominate EVERYTHING. Well, how about if I told you that all those little annoying off shoots the parent plant spreads everywhere could actually be useful???
Several years ago, I planted an oregano plant in my herb garden, followed a couple years later by lemon balm. The oregano has literally started taking over our yard. At least it smells good when we mow!! 🙂 So, last year we did some major work on our chicken coop and dug up some of our oregano and lemon balm to plant around our chicken coop and they have both taken off like wildfire! They serve a couple purposes: 1) There’s a hill behind our chicken coop that needed greenery growing on it to help prevent erosion, and since they grow so fast and spread so well, I figured what could possibly be better? 2) Herbs are awesome for chickens!!!! So how much more convenient to feed them to our girls then to have them planted right next to our coop?!
That’s really where this book, Gardening with Chickens by Lisa Steele comes in handy. While I knew herbs were good for our feathered family members, I had no idea the extent of their healthy properties…
Listen to what she says about oregano on page 88 of the book: “Oregano is, in my opinion, the best feed additive, especially if you are going to feed only one herb to your chicks.” She also calls out how it’s actually been tested by commercial poultry farms for its natural antibiotic properties as well as aiding in the prevention of common poultry diseases.
Some of the properties of oregano, according to Lisa, listed on page 75 are as follows: strengthens immune system and combats coccidia, salmonella, infectious bronchitis, avian flu, blackhead, and E. Coli.
She also lists lemon balm as another helpful herb for chickens, calling out its ability to calm and relieve stress, antibacterial properties, and its action as a rodent and insect repellent. As a side note, this stuff is IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL.
There are 7 chapters in the book detailing out how to plant your garden so that both you and your flock can enjoy its benefits. As a licensed massage therapist, the chapter about herbs was my favorite, but she also includes chapters about composting, gardening according to the seasons, and what plants to avoid for the safety of your flock.
So go ahead…. grab your shovel, get your hands dirty, and get to planting!
Oh yeah… and pick up your own copy of Gardening with Chickens from The Fancy Chicken Farm Company.