Lavender is one of the most powerful and beneficial herbs. There are loads of positive health benefits for us using lavender, but do those benefits also apply to chickens? Can chickens eat lavender?
Let’s find out...
What Is Lavender?
Lavender is a flowering plant (herb) belonging to the mint family. It’s one of the most common and easily recognizable herbs due to its bright purple color and strong, distinctive smell.
It’s native to mountainous areas, like the Mediterranean and Africa. But it’s easy to grow, so it’s found all over the world now.
If you think about it, I bet you see or smell lavender all the time. Looking around my home I see I have soaps, cleaning products, essential oils, and some dried lavender - and I don’t go out of my way to pick up lavender products!
What Are the Health Benefits of Lavender?
Depending on who you ask and how deep you go into alternative medicines with essential oils, lavender has a lot of health benefits.
The health benefits that have some scientific evidence and studies to back them up are; treating hair loss, fungal infections, anxiety, and wounds, to mention just a few (source).
Some additional benefits that a lot of people swear by, but haven’t been sufficiently backed up, include; easing menstrual pain, treating eczema, stress, depression, lowering blood pressure, and aiding sleep.
Personally, I like to try alternative medicines and treatments over traditional medicines when possible.
I use lavender to help me relax or even get to sleep sometimes, and it works. As well as in moisturizers to soothe bug bites and minor burns - that’s because my mom always told me it would help, and it does.
Do These Health Benefits Apply to Chickens Too?
Digging through as many lavender-related questions and talking with fellow backyard chicken owners - I found most owners say that lavender is good for their chickens,
Most importantly, I couldn’t find one person that had a bad word to say about using lavender with chickens.
Some of the reasons chicken owners give their chooks lavender include:
Keeping insects away - Lavender is an insect repellent. If you plant some around their coop it will act as an extra line of defense against bugs. Plus, it’ll keep the area smelling a lot better too.
To relieve stress - As I mentioned above, we use lavender to lessen anxiety, stress, and even depression. Some chicken owners use lavender to reduce stress within the coop, especially for sitting and laying hens.
Related content - How long do chickens sit on eggs?
Increasing circulation - Known to help increase blood circulation, it can also be beneficial to sitting hens as they’re not being very active.
Can Chickens Eat Lavender? (Flowers, Stalks, etc)
Yes, chickens can eat lavender. In fact, giving them lavender to eat is one of the best ways for them to realize some of the health benefits.
If you have lavender plants growing, it’s very unlikely your chickens will eat them. Chickens tend to avoid strong-smelling plants, and lavender is one of the strongest smelling herbs there is.
To feed lavender to chickens the best way is to dry it out, then break it up into smaller pieces and mix with their feed.
You can also throw some in their coop while you’re at it. This will help deter bugs, freshen up the place, and they might eat some while pecking around in there.
They will also benefit from the aroma from either fresh lavender growing, or you adding some to their coop.
Using aromatherapy for chickens sounds like you’re really pandering to them, doesn’t it? And maybe you are, but we all spoil our flocks!
Being greeted by the smell of fresh lavender when entering a coop is about as good as it gets if you ask me.
Should I Be Feeding Herbs to My Chickens?
Absolutely, herbs are inexpensive, easy to grow, and each herb provides its own unique health and wellness benefits.
We’ve been using herbs for thousands of years to help with all kinds of ailments and wild chickens have been grazing on the land for just as long. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that herbs and chickens are a great mix.
From providing antitoxins and vitamins to repelling insects and helping control parasites and worms - herbs provide a natural way to improve the health of your flock.
If you want to start exploring more herbs after seeing the effects of using lavender with your flock, I recommend getting started with these five:
Parsley - I wrote about the benefits for chickens eating parsley here. Parsley is high in vitamins, can be used as a laying stimulant, and aids blood vessel development.
Mint - I have to be honest, I love the smell of mint (who doesn’t) so I grow it in my yard. Mint is great as a digestive aid and an antioxidant, the scent will also repel some insects.
Sage - Sage is rich in antioxidants and vitamins, a good choice to help keep their immune system high. I’ve fed mine sage a few times and I can confirm it doesn’t last very long!
Calendula - A favorite of gardeners because it’s easy to grow and great at repelling pests. Calendula is used in alternative medicines for its healing properties. It has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties.
Thyme - Thyme has a lot of the same properties as calendula. It has a stronger scent though, so you could opt for thyme in their nesting boxes to keep pests away.
If I came across as being enthusiastic about lavender, it’s because I am.
Herbs, in general, are great for chickens, and lavender is one of the best. It’s also good for you and your garden. Maybe it’s time to test those green fingers and set up a little spot to start growing some?