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!

 

Build A Grazing Box For Healthier Backyard Chickens (Detailed Instructions!)

Build A Grazing Box For Healthier Backyard Chickens (Detailed Instructions!)

If you’re looking for a surefire way to keep your flock from getting the stuck-in-the-coop blues, build a grazing box for your chickens.

 

And the best part? Building a grazing box for your chickens (using chicken wire or hardware cloth) won’t cost you a ton of money!

 

You might already know your chickens need boredom busters so they don’t start fighting and picking at each other’s feathers.

 

Building your chickens a grazing box for herbs and healthy greens will help reduce unnecessary stress in your flock, and give them a healthy, constructive hobby – and you’ll get healthier eggs too!

 

The main benefit of a grazing box is that as the herbs and greens grow through the hardware cloth, your chickens can eat them, but can’t devastate them or scratch them up by the roots.

 

For just a few minutes of work on your part, your chickens will be rewarded with a healthy, fresh treat again and again.

 

Here’s how to build a grazing box for your flock for under $15!

 

Build a grazing box for your chickens

 

What you’ll need:

  • One 2x6x10 heat-treated board, cut into four 2’6” pieces
  • ½-inch or 1-inch hardware cloth (at least 2’6” by 2’6”)
  • Staples or finishing nails
  • Eight 4” wood screws
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Stapler (if using staples)
  • Wire cutters
  • Seeds for herbs and greens, or starts if you have them
  • Good soil or composted manure


Our Costs (yours might vary):

  • Wood: $4.89
  • Hardware cloth: $5.97 for 36”x10’
  • Screws: Leftover from a previous project
  • Finishing nails: $0.99 from a dollar store

 

How To Build A Grazing Box For Your Chickens

 

This project easily scales, so if you have a lot of chickens and you want a larger box, you can easily make your design larger or smaller as needed.

 

For a flock of 5-10 chickens, the size of the box in this article works very well.

 

Cut the wood into four pieces, each 2’6” long and screw them together.

 

It’s important to use heat treated wood that hasn’t been exposed to chemicals so your chickens stay safe while snacking on their treats.

 

We purchased new wood for this project from a trusted source, costing us less than $5 at a local lumber yard.

 

Using a circular saw or a handsaw, cut the wood into four separate pieces, each 2’6” long.

 

Screw the pieces together to form the box. We used 4-inch wood screws for this project to make sure the pieces were secured together, and we could move it around without danger of it falling apart.

 

While it might be tempting to use a thinner piece of wood, the box won’t be as sturdy, so I recommend sticking with the 2x6s.

 

Add the hardware cloth

 

build a grazing box for your chickens

 

Decide whether you’ll use staples or nails to attach the hardware cloth to the box.

 

We used finishing nails because we already had them on the farm and they’re easy to bend, but staples work just as well. Just make sure the hardware cloth is secure to protect the growing herbs and greens.

 

Both finishing nails and staples withstand chickens well.

 

Cut the hardware cloth so there’s only a slight overhang. Be sure to tamp down the edges of the hardware cloth with the hammer so there’s no chance one of your chickens won’t get cut on a sharp edge.

 

Identify where you’ll place it in the coop

 

Ideally, you will choose where you’ll keep the grazing box in your coop before building, which will give you a good idea of how big to make it.

 

But if you’re like me, and tend to just make stuff before figuring out where to put it, then now is the time to measure out a 2’6” by 2’6” square in your coop so your chickens can easily access it.

 

Make sure you choose an area that drains well and doesn’t flood. It should also be near a water source, or otherwise be an easy place to water.

 

Before putting the grazing box in the coop, first amend the area where you plan to keep it to make sure you can actually grow greens or herbs there.

 

Add a good quality topsoil or composted manure to the area, then plant your seeds or starts. Top with the grazing box, making sure the hardware cloth is facing up.

 

It will take a few weeks before the greens are large enough to eat, but when they are, your hens will get a treat!

 

I recommend finding something to cover the grazing box with as the seeds sprout and grow.

 

As we all know, chickens like to poop…and they’ll poop all over your grazing box as the grass is growing. So, it’s necessary to protect it with a clear cover; a large piece of plastic is a good option.

 

I recommend keeping it away from your chicken feeder so poop doesn’t get over the feeder as well.

 

What to grow in your grazing box

 

Now that we’ve built the grazing box for your chickens, you might wonder what’s best to grow in it.

 

Here’s some options your chickens will love:

 

Alfalfa grass – high in protein

Oregano – supports a healthy environment

Sage – natural dewormer

Calendula – Flowers have lots of beta carotine, supports healthy yolks

Parsley – source of many essential vitamins

Garlic (for leaves/scapes) – supports a healthy immune system

Wheat grass – great source of protein, vitamins

Barley grass – great source of protein, vitamins

Kale/Mustard/Other greens – great source of protein, essential vitamins

 

Grab my free cheat sheet about 7 herbs you can start feeding your chickens today and in just 10 minutes, you’ll have healthier hens at TheFrugalChicken.com/ChickenHerbs

I’d like to hear from you!

Do you think you’ll build a grazing box for your chickens? Leave a comment below!

 

Herbal Deworming Mix For Backyard Chickens

Herbal Deworming Mix For Backyard Chickens

It’s Treat Tuesday! And this week’s treat is all about deworming chickens naturally with herbs!

 

Now, I’m the first to say that there haven’t been too many studies about herbal dewormers themselves, particularly for chickens, ducks, geese, and the like.

 

Back in the day, people HAD to rely on herbs and natural resources to keep their flocks healthy. It’s only in modern times that we’ve been able to rely on pharmaceuticals to get rid of internal parasites.

 

But even with all the modern resources we have, there hasn’t been an overwhelming amount of studies to reveal which pharmaceutical wormers work, and there’s even less reliable products in the market. (There really aren’t any, to be precise).


WormBGone Nesting Herbs Are IN!

YES, I Want WORMBGONE Nesting Herbs!


 

A big reason for this is the broiler industry doesn’t need to worry about worms too much – the chickens are kept indoors and don’t live long enough for parasites to develop.

 

The egg industry keeps hens off of the ground – for the most part – and while there are a ton of health issues hens can pick up because of the egg industry, worms aren’t usually one of them.

 

There’s also the problem that pharmaceutical dewormers have withdrawal periods – and who wants a mouthful of drugs? Not me!

 

So, as chicken keepers, it’s kept us a bit in the dark and we need to rely on anecdotal evidence as well as the few studies about herbal dewormers available to keep our hens healthy.

 

That being said, there’s a long history of certain herbs “doing the trick” to expel parasites from chickens, and today’s treat includes the best of the best!

 

Chili pepper

Capsaicin in chili pepper, in particular, has been shown in some studies to cause worms to detach from a chicken’s intestinal tract, causing them to be expelled through the vent.

 

It interrupts the worm’s life cycle, making your hens healthier.

 

In one study, hens fed red pepper also laid healthier, bigger eggs, AND had more golden yolks

 

If you’re worried your hens won’t eat spicy herbs, you don’t need to worry – chickens have far fewer taste buds than people.

deworming herbal mix for backyard chickens

Wormwood

Another traditional herb used to deworm livestock is wormwood – in fact, it’s been used since ancient times to rid both people and animals of internal parasites.

 

In one study done on broiler chickens infected with coccidiosis, the chickens who ate wormwood were healthier and had gained weight by the end of the study.

 

A second study also had similar results.

 

So, as you can imagine, the combination of red pepper and wormwood is a powerhouse!

 

Sage

Sage is another herb that has shown to have some properties to help rid chickens of internal parasites, so it’s also included in this herbal mix.

 

Why worms are such a problem

Parasites can cause secondary issues such as:

  • Poor nutrition,
  • Inflammation, and
  • A compromised immune system

 

So, it’s important to also provide your flock with herbs that can help them repair their bodies and that have a lot of vitamins and other nutrients.

 

This recipe also includes herbs known for their anti-inflammatory properties such as:

 

AND herbs with lots of nutrients, such as

 

My hens love this herbal mix, and I know yours will too!

 

If you’re ready to make my flock’s favorite Herbal Deworming Mix, then here’s the recipe!

deworming herbal mix for backyard chickens

Herbal Deworming Mix

Ingredients (per chicken)

1 tablespoon each:

1 teaspoon each:

¼ teaspoon each:

Directions

Combine each ingredients in a bowl and serve to your chickens separately, or include in their daily feed. This recipe should be fed as part of a balanced diet, and not in place of a good layer or grower feed.


WormBGone Nesting Herbs Are IN!

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Control Pests In Your Garden Organically With Essential Oils

Control Pests In Your Garden Organically With Essential Oils

If you use essential oils in your home, you can also use them to rid your garden of unwanted pests that will try to steal your harvest.

 

At least, that’s what we do.

 

Nothing is more frustrating than to spend lots of time and energy trying to grow cabbages than to go out to your garden….only to find leaves full of holes and sprinkled with tiny green cabbage looper eggs. Grrr…..

 

Oils are great to use in your garden because they’re organic, all-natural, and they WORK.

 

Particularly if you make a homemade insecticidal soap, you only need a drop or two – so they’re also economical.

 

Most basic essential oils cost $0.08 a drop, so you can spend a lot of money on commercial organic pest control….or you can save a few bucks and make them yourself.

 

In this article, I’m going to show you how to use essential oils to deter and get rid of bugs, freeloading insects, and vegetable munchers in your garden.

 

A Word About Purity

Before we get started, let’s talk about purity for a minute. Everyone has their own favorite brand of oils – so we won’t cover particular brands in this article.

 

However, I advise buying from the manufacturer directly, and not from a 3rd party source like Amazon. It’s very, very easy to pop the top off oils and replace them with an inferior essential oil – or something that doesn’t even resemble an oil, but smells like the real deal.

 

The last thing you want is to spend a lot of time and effort growing your garden, only to dump a bunch of toxins on them unwittingly.

 

Bottom line: Buy from a trusted source, just be sure the oil is pure, and the oil in the bottle is as advertised.

 

Ok, moving on….

 

How Do You Know Which Essential Oil To Use?

If you’re new to oils, or aren’t sure which one will most benefit your garden, determine which pests are bothering your garden.

 

Then, using the chart below, figure out which oil will best repel them.

 

If more than one pest threatens your plant, or in insect AND a fungus are causing trouble, then it’s perfectly fine to add more than one oil to water, to a rag, or to a container.

 

 

What Are The Go-to Oils?

There are a few essential oils that are go-to oils that will work against MOST garden pests. They interfere with your pesky visitor’s biological systems (each oil effects a different part of the insect’s body), causing them to leave the scene to save their lives.

 

Orange essential oil

If you want a go-to oil for killing insects, then orange is a good choice, since it works to destroy the exoskeletons of bugs.

 

Cedarwood essential oil

A second option is cedarwood, which is believed to interfere with their neurological capabilities.

 

Peppermint Essential Oil

If you don’t yet have pests in your garden or just want to deter them, then peppermint oil is a good option. It’s strong smelling, and garden pests will turn around and find an easier target for a snack.

 

Pest Repelled By
Ants Peppermint, Spearmint, Wild Orange, Cedarwood
Aphids Peppermint, Spearmint, Cedarwood, Wild Orange
Beetles Peppermint, Thyme, Wild Orange, Cedarwood
Caterpillars Rosemary, Cedarwood
Cutworms Thyme, Clary Sage, Cedarwood
Fleas Lavender, Lemongrass, Peppermint, Wild Orange, Rosemary, Cedarwood
Fungus (e.g. Powdery Mildew) Melaleuca, Wild Orange
Lice Peppermint, Spearmint, Cedarwood
Rabbits, Mice Peppermint
Slugs/Snails Cedarwood, Douglas Fir, Peppermint
Squash Bugs Peppermint, Wild Orange, Cedarwood

 

 

Insecticidal Soap

Commercial insecticidal soaps work by dissolving the hard external bodies of insects, and you can make your own at home with liquid castile soap and orange essential oil.

 

These soaps are effective against aphids, thrips, mites, immature leafhoppers, and whiteflies.  Just remember that insecticidal soap is only effective if they come in contact with the insects while the soap is still liquid; it won’t work after it dries on the plants.

 

To make your own, combine 5 tablespoons of pure castile liquid soap to 2 quarts of water. Add 5-6 drops of orange and cedarwood essential oils. Combine thoroughly and use immediately.