If you have a little herb garden as I do. You’re probably wondering which herbs you can feed to your chickens and if there are any health benefits for them.
In this article, I’m looking at the health benefits of feeding parsley to chooks. As well as giving you some tips on how to grow your own, and when/how to feed it to them.
Can chickens eat parsley? Chickens can eat parsley, yes. In fact, it’s recommended as parsley contains a good range of vitamins and minerals. Along with some other beneficial nutritional content for chickens.
Is Parsley Healthy for Chickens?
Yes, parsley is healthy for chickens. Just as it is for us, so if you should get some in your diet after reading this article if nothing else.
It’s rich in a wide range of vitamins, such as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K. As well as containing iron, selenium, zinc, magnesium, and calcium.
All the good stuff that helps complete a chicken’s diet and keep them in tip-top condition.
Parsley is also believed to stimulate egg-laying. This is because it aids the development of blood vessels, although I can’t find any scientific evidence to back this up. It doesn’t do any harm to give your chooks some if they’re underlying, however.
Growing Parsley for Your Chooks
Now you know how good parsley is for you and your chickens, why not grow some?
Growing your own herbs and veggies is fun (at least I think so) and will save you a lot of money over time. Plus, you know it’s going to be fresh and free from any additives and so on.
The good news is that parsley is really easy to grow. Here is an outline for everything you need to know about growing your own parsley:
Indoors or outdoors? - You can grow parsley either indoors or outdoors. It depends on what the weather conditions are like where you are, how safe the plants will be, and so on.
When to plant? - The best time to plant parsley seeds is around 3 months before the last frost if you’re starting them indoors. Or, a month before the last frost if outdoors.
The Basics of Growing Parsley
Rich soil - Parsley flourishes in rich compost. Invest in some good quality soil if you want the best results (always recommended).
Plenty of sun - If growing indoors find a nice spot on the windowsill. Outdoors, pick a spot that will get plenty of natural sunlight.
Watering - If there’s just one downside to growing plants, it’s watering them daily, isn’t it? While watering parsley and keeping the soil moist is important, it’s a strong plant that won’t die if you miss a day.
Harvesting - Parsley is a biennial plant. This means it returns after two gardening seasons. The first year you’ll get leaves you can use, the second year it goes into seed, and the next year you’ll get leaves again.
You can harvest the roots in the second year. These are just as delicious and nutritious as the leaves, so chop them up and give them to your chooks too.
If you want to get a more detailed explanation of the different types of parsley and how to grow it, you should check this post.
How to Feed Parsley to Chickens
There are a few options when it comes to how you choose to feed parsley to your chickens. The bottom line is, whatever works best is what you should do.
Any of the following methods should work just fine:
Throw them some chopped up leaves - You can just chop up some parsley leaves and scatter it where you chooks roam and I’m sure they’ll munch it all up.
Add some to their feed - If for any reason they aren’t eating it off the floor, you can mix some into their feed and I’m sure they’ll not even notice it.
Allow them access to the plants - You could grow parsley somewhere your chooks have access to nibble on. I’d use a net to restrict just how much access they have to the plants, however, or they might not survive those hungry beaks.
Wondering about good veggie scraps for your chickens? Read - can chickens eat radishes?
Why It's Good to Feed Chickens Herbs
Adding herbs into your chicken’s diet is only going to help them be healthier and happier. It will strengthen their immunity, increase their productivity, and loads more, so it’s a no-brainer if you ask me.
Herbs are actually a natural part of a chicken’s diet. Plus, given the choice, chicken’s will naturally choose the herbs they need to stay healthy as part of their natural survival instincts.
By giving them herbs, you’re helping them get additional minerals and vitamins that they likely aren’t getting from their commercial food mixes.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some awesome chicken feeds, and I’m sure you’re giving yours the best you can. But you can’t beat the real thing. The nutrition from fresh herb leaves going directly into your chooks cannot be beaten,
Other Herbs That Are Good for Chickens
Now I’ve piqued your interest in growing and feeding your chicken’s herbs. Here are some other herbs that offer some awesome wellness properties:
Basil - Can improve mucous membrane health and repel insects.
Calendula - I’ve read people swear that calendula makes their chicken’s egg yolks more yellow and tastes better. I can’t say I’ve put it to the test personally, but it does help keep insects and bugs away.
Lavender - I love the smell of lavender, so not much convincing needed for me to add some to my herb garden. Lavender also increases blood circulation, reduces stress and aids sleep.
Marjoram - Another laying stimulant, rich in anti-inflammatory properties, a decongestant, and improves blood circulation.
Mint - Thought to be a laying stimulant, and known to repel insects and pests mint is a good herb to grow near your coops.
Oregano - Known for its antibacterial properties, oregano is a good one for overall health.
Sage - A study showed that adding a sage extract into chicken’s diets actually helped combat salmonella (source). So, along with being antioxidant and good for general health, it’s a powerful herb to look at.
In Summary - Can Chickens Eat Parsley?
Yes, chickens can eat parsley.
More importantly, parsley is great for them as it helps them get a more well-rounded diet of minerals and vitamins. So, my advice is to go out of your way to ensure your chooks get some in their diet.
Looking at the bigger picture there are loads of different herbs that benefit chicks. The good news is that chickens love herbs, fresh or dried, so it’s not difficult to get them to eat them.
Whether you’re trying to home remedy a specific ailment, or you’re interested in providing a richer diet for improved all-around health - if you’re not already including herbs as part of their diet, now is the time to start.