Monday, October 28, 2013

Flowers in the coop

My Nasturtiums 

I love nasturtiums very much.  They are SO easy to grow, they're edible, kids love 'em, and they make great companion plants.  A lovely addition to a garden of any size, to add some color and interest.  Mine started blooming early in the season, and were one of the last crops to remain prolific in my garden.  I took this photo just a few days before the frost killed them last week.

Being aware of their pest deterring powers, and edible flower powers (which can entrance even the most unruly children when they realize they can actually pick and eat a flower), I was curious about what they could do for my chickens, and if chickens would even eat them.  

I was so excited to read that Nasturtiums are a healthy supplement for chickens, which can act as a natural laying stimulant (we HAVE been getting more eggs from the new girls), antiseptic, antibiotic, insecticide, and wormer.  SCORE!  

Placing fresh herbs in the coop, and nesting boxes can potentially result in a cleaner, more fragrant, and healthier coop.  It makes sense to me- if the chickens are rubbing up against those essential oils in the herbs, they will not only release their scent, but their healing and antiseptic properties as well.  Not only that, but the chickens will eat what they wish, and reap the benefits of herbs that are laying stimulants, natural wormers, and good for their health in a plethora of ways.  Being a believer in the healing power of herbs, I'm sold that they are good for chickens, too!  

Knowing that the frost would kill the flowers soon, the girls and I gathered as many blooms as we could, and tossed them into the coop.  It was a romantic concept, and the girls were delighted to do it.

 It sort of felt like a symbolic ritual, as I fantasized about all the herbs I would be growing in future seasons, and integrating into my chicken keeping.  Plus, the flowers just looked pretty.  And I'm pretty sure the chickens ate most of them, which may explain the recent egg increase.  I'm a believer!  

So what kind of herbs and flowers do YOU incorporate into your coop, or chicken feed?  I'm looking forward to delving deeper into the possibilities of becoming a chicken herbalist (I'm pretty sure I just made that term up).

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