"Polly, put the kettle on, we'll all have tea."
~ Charles Dickens~
One spring project you might want to put on your list is an herb garden for your chickens. I have a small section for herbs in my vegetable garden, you don't need a lot of room for them.
The chickens love to eat fresh parsley, basil, cilantro, mint, oregano and other herbs. Herbs contain lots of nutrients and since chickens can actually choose to direct nutrients towards themselves or to their eggs, the more nutrients they eat, the more excess they have to direct right into their eggs.
In fact, oregano is supposed to combat coccidia, salmonella, infectious bronchitis, avian flue, blackhead and e-coli...I am definitely planting tons of oregano in our herb garden next year.
Any culinary herb is perfectly safe for chickens. For a list of herbs and their specific health benefits click HERE.
Another thing I like to do is to brew herbal tea for my chickens. (Just make sure it's served warm, never hot) They really seem to enjoy the warm tea on cold winter days and it gives them a welcome, and nutritious, change from plain water.
Their favorites seem to be mint, rose hip or lemon balm tea, but I have also made basil tea, lavender tea, parsley tea, and oregano tea for them, as well as a blend of a few herbs.
The tea is also great to serve to baby chicks. It helps build healthy immune systems and has a wide array of health benefits for growing bodies.
My chickens also love to gobble up all the petals as the roses fade and the petals fall to the ground. Then I crush up the Vitamin C-rich rose hips for them when I deadhead the flowers. Both the petals and hips make healthy tea and the rose bushes make a pretty, and nutritious, addition to our run.
To Brew Chicken Tea: Just fill your teakettle with water, toss in some fresh cut herbs, bring to a boil and then let steep for ten minutes or so. Stir in a dash of honey for some great antibacterial healthiness and let cool until just warm. Or brew a potful in your coffee maker.
(In the summer I add ice cubes and serve the tea iced.) You can strain it or just leave the herbs in. The ducks especially love fishing them out and gobbling them up. Note: I don't like to leave the herbs in the tea for small chicks or ducklings because they could choke on them.
These herb teas are considered 'greens' and can be fed unlimited to your flock. So brew some herb tea for your girls - and brew a cup for yourself while you're at it and enjoy tea time together.
"There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea."
~ Henry James ~