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The Healthy Hen: 5 immune boosting herbal supplements for your chickens

Herbal remedies are nothing new to us, they have been used by our ancestors for generations to prevent, cure and assist in a range of aliments. This also applies to your feathered friends.

Let’s dive into some immune boosting ideas for healthy hens.

Chickens will naturally forage for wild dandelions and chickweed which have numerous benefits for their health. However, sometimes this isn’t enough and your chickens need some extra help to get the immune boost they need to prevent and fight off common aliments such as internal parasites, respiratory problems and even the flu.

Checkout the list below for the 5 most commonly used herbs to help prevent many common issues in your chickens.

Astragalus

Astragalus is most commonly known for its immune boosting properties. A study conducted in 2013 states that astragalus helps to prevent avian influenza as well shorten the duration of the flu as well. It is recognised amongst backyard chicken enthusiast as being the most beneficial herb that you can offer your chickens on a regular basis as a preventative. It has also been recognised as an anti-inflammatory that helps chickens adapt to stress, as well as being antibacterial and antiviral.

Feeding of Astragalus to your chickens:

Feed a couple times a week in either one or both of the following way:

  • Dried astragalus can be mixed with their regular feed – in a feeder or added to their scratch mix.
  • Made into a “tea” and added to their water.

Thyme

Thyme is a herb of many talents. From being an anti-parasitic to an antibacterial, it also aids in relieving infections and supports the respiratory system. Thyme is packed full of omega-3s, which support brain and heart health, as well as being rich in vitamins A, C and B6, fibre, iron, riboflavin, magnesium and calcium. All of these are extremely import in the development of the eggs. As a natural anti-parasitic, thyme will help to keep at bay any internal parasites and keep the digestive tract in check, while also supporting the immune system.

Feeding of Thyme to your chickens:

Feed daily in any of the following ways:

  • Offer it with their daily feed – fresh or dried.
  • Feed freely in the pasture/backyard.
  • Place around the chicken run/coop.

Oregano

Oregano is a natural antibiotic, which is starting to be utilised more in commercial operations,instead of chemicals and antibiotics. Along with thyme, it aids in boosting the chickens’ immune system. Oregano is not only immune boosting it also detoxifies the body, aids in respiratory health and helps the chicken’s reproductive system. By offering oregano to your chickens on a regular basis it will help to fight infections, get rid of toxins and support their respiratory system against aliments.

Feeding of Oregano to your chickens:

Feed daily in any of the following ways:

  • Offer it with their daily feed – fresh or dried.
  • Mixed, in oil form, with their fully formulated feed.
  • Feed freely in the pasture/backyard.
  • Place around the chicken run/coop.

Garlic

Garlic is one of the most commonly used herbs for immune health in both and humans and animals. Along with boosting the immune system, garlic, also regulates liver function, stimulates the digestive tract and helps fight and treat infections because it’s a natural antibacterial. It has been widely debated whether garlic added at high doses in chicken feed can cause issues because it is a natural blood thinner. However, adding a few garlic cloves to your chickens’ feed or water will not harm your chickens at all – it will simply provide them with all the benefits.

Feeding of Garlic to your chickens:

Feed no more then twice a week by either of the following methods

  • Dried garlic powder or granules added to the chickens’ fully formulated feed.
  • One or two cloves crushed up into 1L of water and mixed well. Do not allow to sit for long periods. Replace the garlic water with fresh water after a day.
    (NOTE: If your chickens are not taking to it, alter the dose of garlic given.)

Echinacea

Echinacea is also highly recognised, in most countries,as an immune booster for humans. It can be found in most immune boosting vitamin supplements at your local health store. This herb can also be used to boost the immunity of your chickens. It’s great for the respiratory system and can also help treat fungal overgrowth. The entirety of the plant can be used  (roots, leaves and flower heads) so grow your own in your organic garden, or look for it in dried form rather than as a tincture.

Feeding of Echinacea to your chickens:

Feed daily in any of the following ways:

  • Feed fresh – roots, leaves and flower buds around the chicken run/coop.
  • Feed freely in the pasture/backyard.

Dried – mix through daily fully formulated feed.

Here’s to the continued health of your chickens!

Do you know of any immune boosting tips for your chickens? Let us know in the comments below.