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9 Best Herbs for Chicken Immune System Health

These nine common herbs can help to support backyard chickens' immune systems and keep them healthy naturally.

Herbs of all kinds provide some pretty amazing health benefits for both people and poultry! 

But if you are specifically looking to add some herbs to your backyard chickens' diet to support their immune system and keep them as healthy as possible, you can't go wrong with these nine common herbs.

By incorporating some beneficial herbs that specifically target the immune system, you're providing your flock the tools they need to stay healthy. 

A strong immune system is the best defense against all kinds of illness that might otherwise befall your chickens. 

The immune system  (of people and poultry) is very complex - and extremely hard-working. 

It serves as a barrier to harmful invading substances and organisms, rids the body of toxins, and works in harmony with the circulatory, digestive, respiratory and even skeletal systems to keep a body healthy and working properly. 

As such, adding herbs to your flock's diet isn't a one-time thing, and not meant to treat a particular sickness, but instead herbs should become a natural addition to your chicken keeping routine and should be fed on a regular, on-going basis to work towards long-term optimal health.

9 Best Herbs for Chicken Immune System Health

My chickens have had their own herb garden right next to the coop for several years now. I plant all kinds of herbs each spring, along with the few that are perennials and come back each year, and let my flock forage to their hearts content in the garden when they get free range time.

You can also freeze or dry the fresh herbs to continue feeding them through the winter months.

I firmly believe that animals know what they need, when and how much and all you need to do is provide them the tools to keep themselves healthy. 

If you can't free range your chickens or don't want to plant them their own garden, you can just pick the fresh herbs and offer them to your chickens (and ducks). 

My chickens, and especially my ducks (all of these herbs are great for them too!)  love anything green. They'll nibble fresh herbs right out of my hand, but if your flock isn't quite as enamored with the idea, there are a few ways to incorporate these immune system healing herbs to them. 

You can offer all parts of the plant: flower heads, seeds, blossoms, leaves and stems to your flock.

Feeding Herbs for Chicken Immune System Health

Feeding Fresh Herbs

  • Offer herbs free-choice in a bowl, tossed on the ground or straight from the garden
  • If you have ducks, just toss the herbs into a tub of water and they'll be thrilled
  • Mix herbs into scrambled eggs or oatmeal
  • Tie herbs in a bundle and hang in the coop or run
  • Toss fresh herbs into their water tub (ducks especially love this method!)
  • Freeze fresh herbs into ice cubes or an ice block in the summer and put it in the water

Feeding Dried Herbs

  • Dry the herbs and mix them into feed or scratch grains in a 1-2% ratio to the feed
  • Dry the herbs and mix them into scrambled eggs or oatmeal

Feeding Baby Chicks Herbs for Chicken Immune System Health

These herbs are all perfectly safe (and super beneficial!) for baby chicks and ducklings as well as for adult birds. 

By sprinkling some fresh or dried herbs on top of your baby's feed, they will get used to the taste and reap all the immunity benefits right from the start! Or brew some "herbal tea" for your littles (your older hens will love this too!) 

I also love to hang bundles of fresh herbs right in the brooder and let the chickens amuse themselves by nibbling on them.

9 Best Herbs for Chicken Immune System Health

So now that you have some ideas about how to feed these herbs for immune system health, here's my list of the nine best herbs for chicken immune system health. 

They are all common herbs that you can likely grow yourself pretty easily no matter where you live.

Basil | Basil not only supports immune system health, it also supports circulatory, digestive and respiratory health. 

It works as an antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory and is a great source of iron, protein and Vitamin K.

Bay Leaves | Bay leaves support the immune system health and they are also an antioxidant.

Blue Cornflower | Blue cornflower works as an anti-inflammatory in addition to supporting immune system health.

Echinacea | Echinacea helps to support immune system as well as respiratory health and also works as an antibacterial.

Garlic | Garlic not only supports immune system health, it also supports circulatory and respiratory health.  

Garlic also can work as a laying stimulant, and is believed to help combat internal parasites as well as relieve diarrhea.

Marjoram | A relative of oregano, marjoram supports not only immune, but also circulatory and respiratory health, and also works as a detoxifier, decongestant and anti-inflammatory. 

Like garlic, it's also thought to work as a laying stimulant.

Oregano | Oregano supports immune as well as digestive and respiratory health. It has been studied as a natural antibiotic with antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Research also suggests that oregano can help to combat avian flu, coccidiosis, e-coli, infectious bronchitis and salmonella.

Sage | Sage works to support immune system health and guard against Salmonella, as well as being an antioxidant, anti-parasitic and antibacterial. 

Thyme | Thyme supports not only immune, but also digestive and respiratory health. It also has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-parasitic properties. 

By adding these nine herbs to your flock's diet on a regular basis, you're helping to support and strengthen their immune systems so they can combat all kinds of things that come their way. 

Your chickens will love the addition to their diet and you will love knowing that you're improving their health ... naturally.

For a more complete list of various culinary herbs and their benefits, click here.

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