Herbs for Hen Health: Lavender

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

08 July 2014

Butterfly pollinating lavender flowers

Lavender is a herb that many of us love thanks to it’s aesthetic appeal, and it’s smell that is known to excite your senses, but did you know that it is one of the most powerful herbs of all time? (Definitely not one to omit in your garden!) Lavender prefers hot summers and dry winters, and so can often struggle with the sticky and humid Australian summer. The Bee, Bella and Baby series work best for those of us down under as they have been bred in Australia, and so relish our more humid conditions. Lavender is best grown in neat hedges, pots or herb circles, with the key to it’s success being well drained soil! If you can provide them with this you will have some very healthy and particularly pretty lavender on your hands!

Good for your Hens

More than just an attractive herb, lavender has long been used for its aromatic and healing properties- and not just with humans! Lavender is a great stress reliever for hens who might be a bit highly strung. It also helps to increase blood circulation, is a great natural insecticide, and of course smells heavenly! Add some fresh lavender to your coops nesting boxes to provide a bit of aromatherapy for your girls-they’ll love it! Or if you want to get extra creative, try

your hand at the lavender and mint coop cleaner below, it will help to repel rodents and insects and keep your coop smelling extra sweet!

Good for your Garden

Because lavender enjoys hot conditions, it grows well with most other herbs. It comes from the same family as rosemary and so thrives when planted near rosemary, oregano and thyme varieties. Avoid planting it near mint as it has a tendency to spread, so may interfere with budding lavender plants.

Good for You

Like with your chicks, medicinally lavender is classified as a relaxant, sensory stimulant and nerve tonic. It is often used by many modern herbal practitioners to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, exhaustion, digestion, headaches and arthritis!

You can use the flowers, essential oil, or dried herbs to harness all of it’s greatness. We personally love adding a splash of lavender essential oil to a warm bath to relax after a particularly busy day, or in a vase on our bedside table to help promote a good nights sleep.

Lavender & Mint Coop Cleaner        

You will need...

  • Handful of fresh mint
  • Handful of lavender
  • Bottle of white vinegar
  • 2 jars
  • Spray bottle

Method

  1. Divide the herbs evenly between each of the jars, being sure to really crush them with your fingers to release all the essential oils
  2. Add the white vinegar to completely cover the lavender, leaving a small space at the top of the jar
  3. Screw the lids on tight and leave in an appropriate place (kitchen or pantry) for three to four weeks
  4. Shake the jars every few days to really mix the ingredients-it should become quite fragrant meaning it is ready to use
  5. Strain the contents into a spray bottle (dilute with some water if necessary)
  6. Spray in your coop as needed to keep it clean and smelling fresh!

When working with herbs, there are a few simple rules to follow to keep your hens at the height of their health…

  • Some herbs will spoil very quickly, especially in Summer, so be sure to refresh them every three days to really harness their goodness.
  • Remember! Treats in moderation-don’t overdo it. If you are unsure how much to give to your girls, it is best to check with your local vet.
  • Like with all herbal treatments each works differently based on the individual, and the same goes for chickens too. So keep this in mind and be sure to check for any reactions or particular dislikes.  

Sources and further reading

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