img_1663.jpgThe Autumnal Equinox is on Friday, September 22nd this year, but we’ve not been waiting for that date to begin our fall planting. Not that we’ve been going gang busters or anything, but we’re gearing up for our winter garden. One of the great things about Sierra Vista is that the temperatures remain quite temperate late into the year. We had some success with our little winter plantings last year, so we’ll try to expand on that this year.

We’ve been wanting to add more herbaceous plants in our “landscaping” so that we have them on hand to use with the chickens. Herbs are so good for them on a regular basis; they help to bolster their immunity, repel insects, some of them help to combat salmonella, or they improve blood circulation. Lisa Steele, from Fresh Eggs Daily, is a great proponent of herbal use, not just as a dietary supplement, but also for keeping the coop mice and bug free, and in first aid use. You may often see me repost some of her Facebook articles so I can easily find them later. Her top five herbs to have on hand for chickens are: Lavender, Mint, Sage, Oregano, and Parsley, plus there are a great many other herbs that have wonderful properties as well. We’ll slowly add these to our arsenal.

parsley-leaves-480x318Right now we have all of the top five, except for the Parsley. I keep forgetting to pick that up when I’m at Home Depot, or wherever. I really want to start some, and keep it growing because it is high in vitamins A, B, C, calcium and iron, it aids in bone development, aids in blood vessel development and improves circulation, also believed to be a laying stimulant, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and it aids in digestive health.
We have some wonderful mint that my mom started for us, and recently she added a chocolate mint plant to our arsenal! Yes, it all grows like a week, but only where there is regular water, so around here it’s relatively easy to contain.  Mint, all types, can be used as an insect and rodent repellent, it has antioxidant properties, aids in respiratory health, used as a digestive aid, lowers stress levels, aids in feather growth. Feeding mint to chickens results in larger eggs, thicker eggshells and increased egg production.
Mom also started us a great lavender bush that I hope to plant out into the Hugelkultur area very soon. Lavender is antibacterial, it is also a stress reliever, it increases blood circulation, can be used as a highly aromatic insect repellent, and is also thought to be a laying stimulant.

OreganoWhen I moved out here, I brought a lot of oregano, because I used it as a cover crop in many of my potted trees. We planted it out in the little herb garden and it has naturalized really well. This is another herb we’ve been giving the chickens each morning. Oregano is also an antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, combats coccidia, salmonella, infectious bronchitis, avian flu, blackhead and e-coli, strengthens immune system, aids in respiratory health and digestion. For a few years now, commercial chicken farms that are trying to stay away from using antibiotics are looking to oregano as a natural supplement for keeping healthy flocks.

SageWe have a couple types of sage, purple and Russian. The Russian is more of an ornamental variety, but the purple sage we use all the time in recipes and as an additive, sometimes, for the chickens. Sage is a great antioxidant, it is also an anti-parasitic, an antibacterial, a general health promoter, an immune system booster, it is thought to combat Salmonella, and is also used as a laying stimulant.

rosemary-nutrition-factsRecently, we added four more Rosemary bushes – two prostrate and two upright – out into the Hugelkultur area because we had been feeding it to the chickens all summer and my one plant I brought with me is saying it needs to recover! Rosemary, added to the diet, can be a pain reliever, it aids in respiratory health, can be used as a n insect repellent,  it helps to heal wounds, and aids blood circulation. We add it to their grain every morning!

OK, so maybe this is more than you every wanted to know about chickens and the herbs that help them – but, in case you can’t get enough of this stuff – check out this  post of Fresh Eggs Daily, Common Herbs and Their Health Benefits for You and Your Chickens. If you start taking some of these herbs, as supplements, and your personal laying productivity increases – we really want to know about that so we can share it right here, with our readers!!! Until then, as always~
Thanks for reading!

Today’s Weather: Well, it was warm today; around 82°, but it really felt warmer than that. I think it’s the lingering humidity. We can rarely say “but its a dry heat” here. Looks like more of the same in the forecast.

Egg Report: Going back to the weekend… Saturday, 3 duck eggs 22 chicken eggs. Sunday, 3 duck eggs 18 chicken eggs. Today, only 2 duck for some reason and 22 chicken eggs again.