Choose The Right Nesting Herbs For Your Flock With This Simple Guide

Choose The Right Nesting Herbs For Your Flock With This Simple Guide

Do you want to add nesting herbs to your flock’s daily routine? Not sure which ones are best for your hens? Not sure what your flock really needs? In this article, you’ll discover the simplest way to figure out which nesting herb blend is best for your hens!

We’ll also cover how different herbs can provide different kinds of support, and why it’s so important to choose the right nesting herb blend.

What’s The Point Of Nesting Herbs?

You’re looking at all these herbs for chickens on Amazon, and they’re all starting to look the same. You’re not even sure what you need! Herbs can provide a lot of all-natural support and help you establish a healthy flock. They can also create a home for your hens that’s inviting and promotes egg laying, without using any synthetic or chemical scents. 

There’s a few different ways to use herbs:

  • As a feed additive
  • In your flock’s water
  • Mix with bedding
  • Add to nesting boxes

For example, you can mix herbs with your flock’s feed to improve digestion, improve the flavor of their feed, support immune systems, and/or add environmental interest. If you mix herbs into your flock’s nesting box or bedding, you can provide respiratory support, make the coop less attractive to flying insects, repel mites, and/or improve air quality. You can even use herbs topically by mixing into dust baths or by sprinkling them directly on your flock.

Why Most Flock Owners Use Nesting Herbs

If you’re new to chickens, or just looking to up your game, you might wonder why other flock owners use herbs in their coops, nesting boxes, and feed. There’s got to be some advantage if everyone’s doing it, right? After asking my readers, everyone I talk to has one or more of these 5 common reasons:

  • #1 A great smelling & inviting coop
  • #2 Healthier & better smelling nesting boxes
  • #3 Support egg production
  • #4 Pest control
  • #5 Respiratory support

Interestingly enough, these are also some of the biggest concerns that plague owners. Who doesn’t want a clean, great smelling home for their pets? Who doesn’t want great eggs with strong, unbroken shells? Who doesn’t want their hens to lay in nesting boxes? 

There’s a lot of different ways to arrive at this goal. My personal goal is to raise a healthy flock using as many natural solutions as possible. In my experience, herbs are some of the least expensive and most effective ways out there to raise a naturally healthy coop (especially compared to replacing flock members or visits to the vet). 

In our own coop, we started adding herbs to nesting boxes a few years ago. The hens seem happier and enjoy the herbs as treats. I like that the hens lay their eggs right in the nesting boxes (as opposed to the ground, where they can easily get broken and eaten). During days when they can’t go outside, the herbs keep them entertained for part of the day.

For example, this year, we’ve had a LOT of rain. Since chickens hate wet weather, they stay inside. This can quickly turn happy hens into bored hens who pick on each other and/or eat their eggs out of boredom. So, we regularly add herbs to relax the hens and provide environmental interest. It keeps them entertained and engaged, rather than indulging in unhealthy and negative behaviors.

With herbs, you can sweeten the smell of nesting boxes, repel flying insects during the summer, provide a healthy breathing environment, and more. (Just remember that herbs aren’t a magical panacea – you must keep your coop clean, and refresh your bedding weekly, and perform other good animal husbandry practices). 

We’ll dive into each of these reasons below. We’ll also cover which herbs or herb blends work for each specific reason.

First, Beware Of Nesting Herb Blends That Won’t Work

What’s not commonly understood is that herbs have specific traditional uses. Humans have sorted it out over centuries, and now there’s even studies to show how useful herbs are. Because people now know so much about herbs, we also are aware that an herbal combination can work against you.

For the best results with nesting herbs, it’s crucial to buy your flock’s nesting herbs from a safe source and to verify the herbs in the bottle are the real deal. 

Skip the grocery store because their herbs can sit around warehouses for YEARS. You can’t really know where they came from OR if they’re 100% pure. The herbs could easily be treated with chemicals (supposedly) safe for humans, but not meant for chickens to eat. 

Many times, companies will combine lesser quality herbs, or even a different species of plants. One example is cinnamon. Most cinnamon sold isn’t actually cinnamon. It’s cassia bark or a completely different herb called Chinese Cinnamon. Similar, but definitely NOT cinnamon. Cassia bark and Chinese Cinnamon don’t have the same benefits for repelling pests. 

So, make sure your herbs are USA sourced, all natural, and never synthetic or treated with any chemicals. We use these nesting herbs in our coop because we want to use all USA sourced botanicals. We want to make sure experts are consulted before a company develops a product.

Now, let’s talk about how to choose the right nesting herbs for your flock. The information below will make it very simple for you to decide on the perfect nesting herbs for your hens, and avoid blends that work against you.

What Kind Of Environment Do You Want To Create For Your Hens?

Some nesting box herbs you see on Amazon or Facebook aren’t created for a specific purpose. Usually, the herbs in these products are chosen because they’re popular and sound good. These products aren’t created by  backyard chicken experts working with herbalists or veterinarians. They’re created by anonymous companies who want to capitalize on the backyard chicken craze. 

These blends don’t have much use. You can tell because the manufacturers make many claims for a single product, such as “controls worms AND helps relax AND improves your flock’s immune system, AND controls mites” etc. 

These claims sound good. If you read between the lines, however, you’ll discover the true meaning: “We don’t know what we’re talking about, so we’ll just say what you want to hear.”

On the other hand, some nesting herb blends are created for a specific use. You can buy a blend for:

  • Pest control (such as mites)
  • Intestinal worm control
  • Supporting egg laying
  • Creating a relaxing environment
  • Adding environmental interest and joy to your coop, or
  • Immune support 

To make your decision easy, ask yourself: What do you want your new nesting herb blend to do? 

  • Do you want to support egg laying? 
  • What about controlling mites and lice? 
  • Offer respiratory support?

Figuring this out will help you decide on the perfect blend for your flock. It’ll also help you determine whether those herbs will work for you OR against you. You’ll end up with more bang for your buck, and a much less frustrating experience.

To make this point more clear, let’s look at some common situations we all need to troubleshoot in our own coops.

You Want To Support Egg Production

Supporting egg production is really, really important. It’s a very easy way to make sure your hens are as healthy as possible. If your:

  • Pullets just started laying
  • Hens return to laying after winter or a molt
  • Flock stopped laying for some unknown reason
  • Flock is super healthy already, and you just want a little extra support
  • Want to treat them to a fancy, sweet smelling nesting box 

then it’s especially important to provide something extra to help your chickens. When they just start laying, pullets (and even grown layers) don’t always make enough calcium to produce a strong eggshell. Why is this?

Creating eggs takes a lot of nutrients and energy out of your hens. She must draw the calcium from somewhere to craft her eggshells. It also takes a lot of nutrients! Luckily, providing support is easy. You can:

  • Provide oyster shells for extra calcium
  • Increase the protein in your flock’s diet
  • Add herbs to their nesting boxes for extra nutrients & to create a nice-smelling nesting area

Let’s look at the options above.

Oyster Shells

When your chicken eats oyster shells, it provides extra minerals to help her create healthy eggs. Readers frequently email me to ask why their hen laid a wrinkled, lopsided, or soft shell egg. It’s probably because the hen wasn’t getting enough essential minerals! Oyster shells are mainly made of calcium, and when your hen eats them, she can use the calcium to produce strong shells. 

Soft-shelled eggs like this can happen because your hen doesn’t eat enough calcium.

You can offer oyster shells free choice, in an herbal blend (like our blend Best Eggs Ever!), or mix with your flock’s daily feed.

Herbs To Support Egg Production

If you’re reading this article, however, you probably know about all oyster shells. And you’re probably also interested in using herbs in your coop. Luckily, you can also support your layer with herbs! Dried flowers such as:

  • calendula
  • rose
  • lavender, and
  • chamomile

can create an attractive nesting box. This is especially important if your hens aren’t using their boxes, and laying their eggs in the coop, or worse, in the dirt. (We talk more about why hens stop using nesting boxes in this article). 

It’s best to mix herbs together before adding them to the nesting box. Although a single herb will have some benefit, such as a great smell, when blended together, they’ll provide even more support.

For example:

  • Beta carotenes in calendula support nice, golden yolks. 
  • Calendula, lavender, and rose petals are soothing
  • Garlic, basil, and rosemary support healthy oviduct functions. 

While you can use any of these herbs individually, you’ll get better results if they’re blended together to provide a symphony of support (we’ve blended them together in our product, Best Eggs Ever! to make it easy.). The herbs mentioned above smell great, and have been used for centuries for these specific purposes.

You Want Your Hens To Relax And Use Their Nesting Boxes

Healthy eggs start with happy hens. If a layer is scared, stressed, or unhappy, she’ll likely stop laying eggs. For example, if a predator got into your coop, your flock might be scared. They might stop laying altogether, or simply refuse to use their boxes. They don’t feel safe!

Similarly, if your boxes are smelly, you might notice your hens prefer to lay on the ground, or worse, in a random place on your lawn. (Hello Easter egg hunt!)

 They don’t feel safe in their boxes.

How We Help Hens Who Refuse To Use Nesting Boxes

Whenever one of our chickens stops laying or refuses to use her nesting box, we first thoroughly clean the nesting area, then add herbs to their boxes. The sweet smells and bright colors get their attention, and attract our hens to their nesting boxes. 

Whenever this happens, you might consider adding herbs to attract your hens to their nesting boxes. Herbs that help your hen relax are a perfect choice.  You’ll want an herbal blend that smells great, and is irresistible to our feathered friends. 

Not every herb will do! You’ll want herbs traditionally used to create a relaxing environment. Fragrant flowers like:

  • Calendula
  • Chamomile (traditionally used to relax) 
  • Lavender (also traditionally used to relax)
  • Rose petals (great scent) 

are all great options.

Flowers or Petals?

You can use the whole flower or just the petals. Either is fine! For lavender and chamomile, I use the whole flower since they’re so small. I also use the entire calendula flower because the petals are very light, and blow away easily. The chickens can still pluck the petals off the flower.

Rose petals are a bit heavier and bulkier, so using the petals is easiest (in my option). While the whole flower is very pretty, it’s harder for chickens to pick at. The petals also look like spots of red among the other herbs, which is visually attractive to chickens. In my experience, hens are more likely to interact with rose petals versus the whole flower.

Other herbs traditionally used for relaxing include basil, rosemary (also great for purifying surfaces and the air), and clove. 

It goes without saying that it can be difficult to grow all these herbs and flowers year round. Some aren’t friendly for every gardening zone, while others take a long time to establish so you’ll have enough. You might need acres of available land to make enough of each herb. This is where nesting herb blends come in.

We use Best Eggs Ever! whenever our hens need some extra support or seem stressed. It’s easy to just add it to the bedding in our nesting boxes. It has all the herbs mentioned above.

You Need Pest Control

Will herbs stop mites from biting your chickens?

Let’s say mites are a problem in your coop. This is bad! Mites can make your chickens uncomfortable and unhealthy.

How do you know if your chickens have mites?

  • Sometimes you see them crawling on your chickens
  • There’s usually feather loss (around the vent, especially)
  • You see mite poop on your chickens. It looks like grey dirt caked onto the base of feathers (where feathers grow out of their skin)
  • Your chicken’s skin look red, dry, and irritated
  • The scales on legs are flaking off or look very bumpy (not smooth)

If you see one or more of these symptoms, you might have mites! You should take your pet to the veterinarian:

  • If you’re not sure IF they have mires OR
  • If you’re not sure what to do about it.

If you want to handle it yourself, you have some options to try:

  • A pharmaceutical solution (it’s best to speak to your vet for specific recommendations)
  • Vaseline on the legs (will be harder to implement on the rest of the body, but is good for scaly leg mites)
  • Apply diatomaceous earth or put it into their dust bathing area (good for legs and rest of body)
  • Use herbs (mix with feed, put in nesting areas, use topically, and/or sprinkle  in dust bathing areas)

Personally, I use a mixture of diatomaceous earth and herbs. Both are easy to get, and easy to apply. I use them topically, in the nesting boxes, and in the dust bath area (our blend, MitesBGone makes it really easy).

Let’s talk more about the herbs you can use.

Which herbs are good for pest control?

You want to make your hen house a healthy, fun place for your flock to hang out. You want to give nesting herbs a try. Well, you’ll need a blend that includes herbs specifically chosen to help you transform your coop.

Not all herbs are created equal, and different herbs have different uses. In this situation, calendula isn’t going to cut it. Neither will roses. Borage won’t either. 

This is why it’s SO important to not spend your hard earned dollars on a blend that’s for a variety of complaints. For example, some blends on Amazon claim they “control worms AND help relax AND improve your flock’s immune system, AND control mites” etc. I personally stay away from these nesting herbs. Like I said, herbs aren’t a panacea. It’s best to choose a blend for your specific need.

Mitesbgone nesting herbs
Adding MitesBGone to nesting boxes or dust bathing areas makes it easy to raise a healthy flock

Getting back to pest control. If you want clean, healthy nesting boxes for your layers, then you should use a nesting box blend with herbs traditionally used for to control pests on the body, and to repel them in the environment. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has endorsed several herbs as safe for pest control:

  • Garlic (great for flies & mites)
  • Rosemary (great for mites)
  • Cinnamon (great for mites, ants, & flying insects)
  • Spearmint (great for mites)
  • Citronella (great for mites & flying insects)

This shouldn’t be any new information. These herbs have been traditionally used for centuries to promote a clean body and environment! The EPA is just catching up to old time, traditional knowledge. We’ve used these herbs in our coop for a long time, and they’re fantastic. 

In fact, it’s how we developed one of our products, MitesBGone! Mites don’t like these herbs! 

But before you rush to add herbs to your boxes, it’s important to remember that when the herbs in a blend are randomly chosen because they’re popular, you might not get the same results. In addition, if you look at the list above, no one herb works for every bothersome insect. 

But blended together, you can provide a clean environment for your hens. If you want to check out MitesBGone, click here for more information.

You Want Respiratory Support

We’ve all been there. The weather is questionable, your flock wants to stay inside, and YOU want to keep your flock in the best shape possible. We all know how important air quality is – ESPECIALLY during days when the weather isn’t super supportive. 

You need a blend that includes botanicals traditionally used to support a healthy breathing. 

Again, not all herbs are made equal. Some herbs can actually reduce healthy respiratory functions, or contain very small particles that can lead to lots of sneezing. 

Experts have written volumes about the best herbs to support breathing AND which herbs prevent healthy breathing. So, you choose a nesting blend that includes ONLY these herbs.

For example, I wanted to create a nesting herb blend that would support our own flock, especially during very rainy weather, winter weather, and very HOT weather (when ammonia can creep up in the coop).

I wanted to ensure my layers had only the best herbs. I consulted the experts! We wanted to make sure 100% that there’s nothing in our coop that can lead to poor respiratory support. 

We dove deep into exploring and discovering the herbs that have been used for centuries. 

We ended up choosing specific herbs for my flock that would help cleanse the air and support healthy breathing. Eventually, this mixture became our coop blend, BreatheRight, because they’re the herbs the experts recommend. 

For example, we discovered that we can support our flock with:

  • Spearmint
  • Mullein
  • Turmeric
  • Eucalyptus

These herbs have been used for centuries, across many different cultures, to support a well-ventilated and clean environment. If you inhale any mix with these herbs, you’ll know why! All these herbs work together – not against each other OR our goal of a healthy living space.

We incorporate BreatheRight Coop Herbs into our flock’s nesting box during times when we want our chickens to have extra support. You can also mix them directly into your coop bedding. Just sprinkle ½ cup in each corner, and mix to combine. 

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it! Hopefully, this article makes it easier for you to figure out which nesting herbs are best for your flock. Think about what you want nesting herbs to do for your flock, and make sure those herbs (and only those herbs) are included in the blend. It’s easy to find “any old nesting box herbs,” but it’s very important to discover a product for the specific problem you want to solve. If you;d like to learn more about any of the herb blends we mentioned in this article, just click here.

Bee Healthy Backyard Chicken Treat!

Bee Healthy Backyard Chicken Treat!

I’m so excited about this week’s treat for backyard chickens because it contains one of my favorite superfoods: BEE POLLEN!

 

Yep, you can feed bee pollen to chickens, and as I discuss below, it’s very healthy for your hens.

 

One of my favorite ways to share this treat with my hens is by offering it in the spring, when my flock starts to consistently lay again.

 

The ground is muddy (yuck), which means the amount of parasites and bad bacteria that flourish in wet environments SKYROCKETS.

 

As your chickens hunt and peck (and poop), they’re going to naturally pick up parasites. (They need to invent chicken shoes.)

 

It’s gross, and even grosser when you look at it under a microscope.

 

Who wants a mouthful of eggs teeming with salmonella and who knows what? Not me!

 

That’s why I included bee pollen in this week’s treat for backyard chickens. You’ll be surprised how healthy it is!

Bee Pollen for Backyard Chickens

We’re just starting to recognize the health benefits of bee pollen for humans, but believe it or not, it’s been pretty well studied for chickens.

 

In case you didn’t know, bee pollen is one of those “superfoods” that contains not just a ton of vitamins and minerals, but also more protein than meat!

 

Multiple studies have been done to examine the health impacts of feeding bee pollen to chickens.

And the results are pretty interesting (if you want to fast version: it’s really healthy.)

 

As a feed additive, bee pollen shows signs of being a powerful way to prevent parasites and bad bacteria while increasing the overall health of the chicken.

 

In one study, chickens fed 35 grams of bee pollen per 1 kilo of feed showed more beneficial bacteria in their guts – which means a healthier bird overall.

 

This same study also showed that bee pollen reduced the amount of bad bacteria – meaning that bee pollen showed antibacterial properties.

 

In particular, bee pollen was shown to reduce the amount of K. oxytoca, a bacterium that can cause sepsis and colitis in people.

Multiple studies have shown that chickens with higher amounts of beneficial bacteria not only GREW better (because they weren’t battling bad bacteria like campylobacter as much) but LAID healthier eggs (because the eggs were less likely to be transmitters of bad bacteria like salmonella).

 

In another study, bee pollen was shown to increase the length of villi in the digestive tracts of chickens.

 

In case you didn’t know, the villi in digestive tracts allow people and animals to absorb nutrients as we digest.

 

So, longer villi have more surface area, which can mean it’s easier for your chicken to absorb nutrients – which means she’ll be healthier.

 

It’s a small difference, but a crucial one.

 

It helps that chickens LOVE to peck at the tiny bits of bee pollen!

 

Peppermint, Rose, and Parsley, Oh My!

I’ve also included peppermint in this treat for a similar reason: Peppermint has strong antibacterial qualities while also helping to settle tummies.

 

Rose, as well, is known for it’s soothing and skin-healing properties (that’s why you see it in so many lotions for people).

 

My chickens particularly love rose because it’s red — for some reason, red is a popular color with hens!

 

Parsley is one of my favorite “hidden gems” — it’s a humble herb we’ve relegated to garnish status, but it’s full of vitamins!

 

So, as your hens enjoy eating the bee pollen, they’ll also get lots of extra nutrients from the parsley.

 

Don’t Forget The Mealworms!

And, of course, mealworms! You might find that your hens go for the mealworms first, but rest assured, they’ll finish off the rest of the ingredients as well!

 

If you’re ready to make this treat, then grab the recipe below!

Bee Healthy Backyard Chicken Treat

Ingredients (per chicken):

½ tsp Bee pollen (buy in the store here)

1 tablespoon Peppermint (buy in the store here)

1 tablespoon Parsley (buy in the store here)

¼ cup Mealworms (buy in the store here)

1 tablespoon Rose buds (buy in the store here)

¼ cup Non-GMO Wheat Berries (buy in the store here)

 

Directions:

Combine ingredients in a bowl and offer immediately. Serve as part of a complete diet alongside grit.

 

Try This Adorable DIY Herb Pot for Healthier Backyard Chickens!

Try This Adorable DIY Herb Pot for Healthier Backyard Chickens!

So chickens LOVE herbs. Seriously. They LOVE them!

 

And not only do chickens  love them, but they’re also really good for them too! They’re also perfect to feed for great eggs. So that’s a huge win-win!

 

I try and incorporate herbs into my chickens’ diet in as many ways as I can. I use herbs in my chickens’ nesting boxes (check out my nesting box herbs in the store here) and they’re a great accompaniment to a great organic layer feed.


So why are herbs so important for your chickens health? Well, herbs can provide nutrition and health benefits that chickens that supplement what they get from their normal feed.

 

While you can provide their regular grain in a chicken feeder, life is more fun with a DIY herb pot.


One of my favorite herbs to use for chickens is oregano.

Oregano has amazing properties (some studies on chickens have shown that after feeding oregano, chickens were healthier, laid better, and weighed more – an important factor in determining health.)


I use dried and fresh oregano and provide them for the chickens in their nesting boxes because it also helps promote cleanliness. 

 

Chickens love to pick at the herbs, and providing them can also give them environmental enrichment – an important step in reducing boredom and negative behaviors!

 

frugal feeds chicken water feeder hacks


I also love using peppermint in my chicken coop because it smells AMAZING, and it stimulates laying.

I also use peppermint in my recipe for natural fly repellent and it does a great job of keeping flies away from me and from my chickens!

 

Peppermint can keep insects such as mites and flies away, and is great for soothing tiny tummies. (You can buy dried peppermint in the store here.)

Peppermint also might help reduce any respiratory issues because of the strong scent.

 

Sage is another healthy herb for hens!

 

Sage is wonderful for hens, and studies show it might help reduce internal parasites. 

Like oregano, chickens love to peck at sage, and find the scent soothing – and it’ll make your coop smell amazing too!


Because herbs are so amazing for chickens and ducks, I decided to create a DIY herb pot for your chickens that you can put in their run!

It’s a great way to add some environmental activities for your chickens, and it looks super cute! Watch the video below to learn how I created this herb pot.



So this project is SO EASY! I love that it’s an fun project, but it also can really help your chickens get the nutrition they need! Plus having environmental activities for your chickens to do can help to prevent negative behaviors.

 


So here’s how I made this DIY Herb Pot for my chickens


All you need is:

  • 3 herb plants (I used peppermint, sage, and oregano because of their nutritional benefits for chickens)
  • One small pot
  • Extra potting soil


And that’s it! All you need to do is place your herbs inside of your pot or teacup and then fill in the empty spaces with the extra potting soil!

 

I used a super cute coffee cup pot for this project – it’s a great, useful accent piece, and – confession time – I love that it has the handle! It makes it so easy to move it around the coop and away from nibbling goats.

 

One thing to be sure of – no matter the pot you choose, be sure it has a hole in the bottom for drainage!

 

Also make sure you give each plant it’s fair share of space – and be sure to keep it watered regularly, and add compost tea as needed.

 

Backyard chicken herb pot

You can also use rabbit manure or worm compost to keep the herbs healthy.

 

This is an amazing easy project to help your chickens (and ducks! The ducks LOVE this herb pot!) be healthy and to provide them with some environmental interest.


Do you have any easy projects you’ve done to help your chickens? I’d love to hear about them! Let me know in the comments below what you have done for your chickens to help them be healthier!

 

6 All-Natural Ways To Keep Flies, Gnats, And Mosquitoes Off Your Chickens

6 All-Natural Ways To Keep Flies, Gnats, And Mosquitoes Off Your Chickens

Nothing is worse than being bothered by flying pests. It can make life miserable for you….and your chickens! That’s why this article is about my top 6 ways to keep flies, gnats, and mosquitoes off your chickens so you AND they can enjoy time outside!

 

It’s just starting to be summer on the farm, which means it’s time for the flying insects to make their grand entrance into the world.

 

I’ve shown you how to keep flies out of your coop, but as your flock plays in their run or tractor, or free ranges, you might notice them shaking their heads quite a bit and looking somewhat miserable, particularly on humid days.

 

You might even hear some annoyed clucks and squawks.

 

It’s possible your flock is being annoyed by gnats, flies, mosquitoes, no see ums, and the like – and it can have an impact on their health.

Ways To Keep Flies, Gnats, And Mosquitoes Off Your Chickens

Why flying insects can cause health problems in your backyard chickens

Think about it – if you’re trying to forever keep insects from bugging you, you’re not eating, drinking, and enjoying life.

 

The extra energy spent constantly moving to keep bugs off also can cause your chickens to lose weight and experience heat stress since they’re physically uncomfortable.

 

Flies and mosquitoes also harbor diseases and bacteria, which can effect the health of your flock. And yes, they WILL bite your chickens.

 

So, in this article, I’ll show you 6 different ways you can keep flying insects off your hens!

 

Ways To Keep Flies, Gnats, And Mosquitoes Off Your Chickens

Citronella plants

Citronella is safe for chickens, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how great it is at keeping bugs away – particularly mosquitoes.

 

Each year about this time, I put a few potted citronella plants in the coop. They look great, keep the air smelling fresh, and help keep mosquitoes from bothering the hens.

 

You can also use fresh citronella in nesting boxes (see below for more herbal nesting box options), which might prevent them from getting heat stress and laying abnormal eggs.

 

Just be sure to clean your nesting boxes 3-4 times a week if you’re using fresh herbs.

 

Lemongrass in nesting boxes

Lemongrass and citronella are related, and both contain the chemical constituent that does such a great job keeping us bug free during the summer.

 

I have not found the citronella plant as a dried herb, so I use lemongrass in my flock’s nesting boxes to give them extra protection while they lay eggs.

 

I’ve noticed that when the hens sit still to lay their eggs, they’re way more prone to being irritated by gnats, mosquitoes, and flies – which can make it pretty difficult to get those butt nuggets out easily.

 

Imagine trying to give birth while having a mosquito buzzing around your head. No fun.

 

We carry dried lemongrass in the store here and it’s also a main ingredient in PestsBGone, which I developed specifically to keep pests away in coops.

 

Both of these are the same herbs I use in my own backyard chicken flock’s nesting boxes so they’re happy and lay great eggs.


Worried about pests in your coop??

MitesBGone Nesting Herbs can keep mites, lice & other creepy crawlies away.

YES! I want to keep mites & other parasites out of my nesting boxes!!


Dried Lemon Balm in nesting boxes & feed and fresh potted plants

Lemon balm also contains citronella, and can be mixed in feed and nesting boxes.

 

We grow it every year in our garden, and for us, it’s a perennial. So, we have a constant supply of fresh lemon balm to hang in the coop or mix into the nesting boxes.

 

You can also tear fresh lemon balm to release the essential oils and rub them on your flock’s combs, wattles, legs, and other areas that seem bothered by insects.

 

You can buy started lemon balm at your local big box store and replant into pots. If you want to use dried lemon balm (it smells GREAT and the essential oils are concentrated), you can find it in my store right here.

 

You can also mix dried lemon balm into your flock’s feed – they love the fresh taste and picking at the herbs.

 

dried lemon balm Ways To Keep Flies, Gnats, And Mosquitoes Off Your Chickens

 

Citronella essential oil mixed with carrier oil

Not everyone wants to use essential oils on their chickens – and that’s fine.

 

If you DO use oils on your flock, citronella essential oil is GREAT to quickly apply to your flock if they’re REALLY bothered by gnats, flies, mosquitoes, etc and are completely miserable.

 

This time of year, I usually have a few hens who seem especially bothered, and they seem much relieved after applying citronella oil.

 

You can mix 1 drop of citronella essential oil with 1 tablespoon of carrier oil such as coconut oil, cocoa butter, mango butter, etc and apply the mixture to combs, wattles, etc to keep the bugs at bay.

 

If essential oils aren’t your thing, you can combine citronella, dried lemongrass, or dried lemon balm with olive oil, allow to steep for 2-4 weeks so the olive oil absorbs the essential oils from the plants, and then apply as needed.

 

I avoid essential oils altogether with chicks, and opt for simply keeping fresh or dried herbs around them to prevent pests.

 

Peppermint coop spray & fly spray for chickens

I cover how to make peppermint coop spray here and natural fly repellent here, and they’re both a great option to keep flies, etc away. Please note that these sprays aren’t meant to be sprayed ON your chickens – just around the coop.

 

I have a recipe below that you can use ON your chickens.

 

Flying insects hate peppermint, although I would also add something like citronella or lemon balm to get a double (or triple) punch. I’m not convinced peppermint is as effective as plants containing citronella when it comes to flying insects (for mites, etc, peppermint is GREAT).

 

If you plan to spray your flock to keep bugs away, consider steeping peppermint with lemongrass in hot water. Allow to cool, then gently mist by spraying the mixture up towards the sky, allowing the mist to fall down.

 

Don’t drench your chickens – you’re not looking to give them a bath. Just mist them a bit, making sure to avoid eyes, ears, nostrils, etc.

 

If they’re particularly bothered in those areas, you can squirt your fingers and gently apply by rubbing your fingers AROUND those areas – not in or on them.


With eyes, if I need to apply around the eyes, I only apply UNDER the eyes to avoid any drips that might harm their eyeballs.

 

I do the same with other species, especially those that physically sweat such as horses – you don’t want anything entering their eyes and potentially causing problems.

 

This is assuming the day is warm enough for it – if the temperature is cool in your area, try a different way I’ve mentioned in this article to keep flies, gnats, and mosquitoes away.

 

We’ve found this to work to provide some relief during particularly muggy & buggy days.

 

As above, I avoid spraying chicks at all and opt to keep fresh or dried herbs around them to keep them bug free.

Marigolds

Marigolds (not calendula, which are great flowers to feed your backyard chicken flock for golden yolks, but regular marigolds you find at your local farm store in early spring) are the go-to for gardeners to keep pests out of the garden, and it’ll work for your coop also.

 

We love putting marigolds in window boxes, hanging them around the coop, placing the petals in nesting boxes, etc to provide relief and help keep our hens comfortable.

 

They’re safe for backyard chickens, and it’s best to put any fresh flowers or herbs we discussed in this article at the same level as your flock.

 

But if you find your hens stripping off the petals, put the marigolds out of reach so they can still do their job or give your flock something tastier to rip apart.

 

The pretty color of marigolds brightens the interior of the coop and nesting boxes. Just be sure to clean your nesting boxes regularly, and keep watch for any potential external parasites such as chicken mites.

 

I hope these ideas give you some ways to keep flies, gnats, and mosquitoes off your chickens so they – and you – can enjoy the warm weather!

Bug Bite Relief Stick You Can Make Practically For Free

Bug Bite Relief Stick You Can Make Practically For Free

Nothing is worse than bug bites, except watching your kids be really, really unhappy! In this article, I’m going to show you how to make an all-natural, bug bite relief stick.

 

When things get a bit creepy crawly on your skin, you CAN grab a bottle of over-the-counter stuff….but you’re taking your chances. We’re trying to lead all-natural lives right?

 

There are all-natural options, and you can use essential oils to bring some bug bite relief to yourself and your little ones with a bug bite relief stick.

 

Got itchy kids? Make my favorite homemade bug bite relief Stick in your own kitchen with essential oils! Easy to follow recipe!

 

What essential oils will we use?

 

In our house, we rely on lavender essential oil for lots of things – including bug bite relief. It’s soothing, promotes healthy skin, and smells good.

 

(The scent especially can provide relief to small children who might be unhappy because of their itchy bug bite.)

 

In this stick, we also will use melaleuca, which promotes healthy skin and has cleansing properties should any dirt or other nasties get into the bite (especially if your child has been scratching at it.)

 

Ingredients To Make Your Own All-Natural Homemade Bug Bite Relief Stick

 

1/2 oz pure beeswax pastilles, about 1 tablespoon (I use this brand)

4 oz carrier oil, about 3 tablespoons (such as olive, coconut, or almond oil)

20 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops melaleuca essential oil

Empty lip balm containers (I like these or these)

 

Directions To Make Your Own All-Natural Homemade Bug Bite Relief Stick

 

To make your bug bite relief stick, you want to melt the carrier oil and the beeswax together, then add the essential oils before everything cools and hardens.

 

The carrier oil works to make the mixture easily spreadable, while the beeswax gives it some structure. The essential oils do the job of helping your little ones with their bug bite.

 

To make the bug bite relief stick, combine the carrier oil and beeswax in a heatproof container, such as a mason jar.

 

Fill a small pot ½ way with water and place your mason jar with the carrier oil and beeswax in it, creating a double boiler. Heat the water slowly, until the beeswax is completely melted.

 

Stir gently to combine, and remove from the heat. Immediately add the essential oils, and stir gently to combine.

 

While the bug bite relief stick mixture is still completely melted, pour into the lip balm containers, and allow to cool until the mixture is completely solid.

 

Once cool, store and apply as needed. If the bug bite relief stick is too soft, you can melt it again and add more beeswax, or simply adjust this bug bite relief stick recipe when you make it again.

 

If desired, you can also add a few drops of peppermint to the mixture; it’s cooling and some kids love it on their bug bites.

 

Roses and calendula, as well, promote healthy skin. One option is to infuse the carrier oil with rose or calendula petals for 2 weeks before making your homemade bug bite relief stick.