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Nesting Box Herbs - Chicken Aromatherapy

Headshot of Lisa - Fresh Eggs Daily Farm GirlFresh and dried herbs have amazing health and well-being benefits...and also provide a bit of aromatherapy for your chickens.

Freshly laid eggs in a nesting box full of herbs 

My coop never smelled so good until I started adding an herbal blend that includes mint, basil, lemon balm, lavender and rose petals in the nesting boxes.  The first time I put the herbs into the nesting baskets, one of my hens actually fell asleep after laying her egg. Now that's one relaxed hen !

Buff Grace sitting in the nesting box 

Fresh or dried herbs in your nesting boxes not only work as insecticides, but also have anti-bacterial properties, and can act as natural wormers, anti-parasitics, insecticides, rodent control, stress relievers and laying stimulants.  They will help a laying hen feel safe and relaxed while she is sitting, and calm a broody hen, as well as repel rodents, flies and other parasites. Plus they look so pretty !

Nesting boxes filled with fresh herbs 

They will also benefit newly hatched chicks.  Research has shown that wild birds will line their nests with fresh herbs and flowers, especially those that contain essential oils. The newly hatched baby birds benefit by rubbing against these herbs in the first few days of life.  Same applies to baby chicks. The chicks will also eat some of the herbs, thereby garnering even more health benefits from them.

Baby chick in a nesting box filled with herbs 

Here is a partial list of common herbs and flowers and their beneficial properties:

Basil - antibacterial, mucus membrane health
Catnip - sedative, insecticide
Cilantro - antioxidant, fungicide, builds strong bones, high in Vitamin A for vision and Vitamin K for blood clotting
Dill - antioxidant, relaxant, respiratory health
Fennel -laying stimulant
Garlic - laying stimulant
Lavender - stress reliever, increases blood circulation, highly aromatic, insecticide
Lemon Balm - stress reliever, antibacterial, highly aromatic, rodent repellent
Marigold - laying stimulant
Marjoram - lay stimulant
Mint (all kinds) - insecticide and rodent repellent
Nasturtium - laying stimulant, antiseptic, antibiotic, insecticide, wormer
Oregano - combats coccidia, salmonella, infectious bronchitis, avian flu, blackhead and e-coli
Parsley - high in vitamins, aids in blood vessel development, laying stimulant
Peppermint - anti-parasitic, insecticide
Pineapple Sage - aids nervous system, highly aromatic
Rose Petals - highly aromatic, high in Vitamin C
Rosemary - pain relief, respiratory health, insecticide
Sage - antioxidant, anti-parasitic
Spearmint - antiseptic, insecticide, stimulates nerve, brain and blood functions
Tarragon - antioxidant
Thyme - respiratory health, antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-parasitic

Basket of freshly cut herbs 

Toss a few handfuls of mixed cut herbs into your nesting boxes and refresh them as needed.  Your chickens will benefit from them and you will enjoy how nice your coop smells.  

Mint and herbs in the garden 

I plant various different types of herbs each spring because of their many uses. In addition to using the herbs for teas and in the nesting boxes, I also enjoy cooking with fresh herbs.

Fresh basil growing in the garden 

There's nothing like going out to the garden and picking a handful of fresh basil for pesto, oregano for homemade pizza or mint to garnish a slice of cheesecake.

 Freshly cut herbs from the garden 

Herbs are easy to grow, do well in most areas of the country and can even be grown on your kitchen windowsill in the winter.

Jars full of dried herbs 

I also dry excess herbs at the end of the summer to use in the nesting boxes during the winter.

I hope this has given you some ideas for raising happy, healthy hens....Happy Growing !

Watering nasturtium flowers in the garden 

10/13/2015 1:02:46 PM

Just wondering Will these herbs make the eggs taste like the herbs the chicks eat? We have 200 layers and though we feed them fresh veggies and fruit, we have avoided herbs such as garlic to avoid altering the taste of the eggs when cooked.

1/3/2014 8:08:29 AM

What a great idea! My hens will probably snack on them, as well. They eat everything from raspberry plants to my mums. They are ornery girls.

1/3/2014 7:44:19 AM

Great idea! I will make sure I have plenty of these herbs in my garden and share them with "the ladies". :)

anna ogle
2/14/2013 11:37:14 PM

I am new at this and was wondering about the rose petals. Are they just pedals off a rose ? they will not harm the chickens if they decide to eat them? So what I am reading is that the herbs will NOT harm the chickens ? This is so cool. thank you for sharing this information. I am planning on making a guarden for my girls ( chickens )

barry brumfield
2/11/2013 8:04:30 PM

Very good! My grandmother used to place a cache of fresh mint, lavender, or wild honeysuckle in her bed pillow cases at night. Rose petals in the pillows were for "special" occasions. My grand dad usually had trouble taking his eyes from my grandmother's face as she sat across the breakfast table from him on those mornings his hair and beard smelled of rose petals. I was well into my adulthood before I understand the correlation.

sherice potter
2/4/2013 5:06:41 AM

so cool.. genius! I really want my own chickens!

lisa steele
11/6/2012 6:25:15 PM

Don't forget to cut the rest of your herbs and dry them to use over the winter.

dana zia
9/17/2012 8:28:52 PM

This is a great idea! Great idea! I'm going to do this for my chickens. Why haven't thought of this before!

trisha benson
5/23/2012 3:27:53 AM

I Love living in the country because you have the chance to see your food go from beginnning to end such as eggs to chicks to chickens so eggs again. YUM! What an awesome way of life. Such simplicity! Thanks for all the time you spend on the blogs that you post, we find them very interesting and helpful!

alicia n tony parker
5/23/2012 12:37:21 AM

I am going to grow a herb box in my run for my chickens :)

alicia n tony parker
5/23/2012 12:36:43 AM

I had a chicken that was born with sprayed legs and that worked well for mine!!!

laura martinez
4/20/2012 3:08:15 AM

Can't wait to try the herbs and flowers on my girls nests,great idea. I have 8 hens. Thanks for the info.

jessica wilhelm
4/19/2012 1:19:50 AM

I'm anxious to give this a try! Thanks so much for the information!

becky neville
4/18/2012 11:44:30 PM

My hens love having herbs in their nest! It makes perfect sense that girls like to sit around in a place that smells nice, right?

debbie ault
4/18/2012 9:37:11 PM

Excellent info-thanks! I've used fresh & dried herbs for my dogs & cats-can't wait to give them to the chicks!