Herbs for Hen Health: Parsley

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 23 June 2014

bundle of parsley sprigs and leaves Parsley is a must have herb for any green thumb enthusiast. Like most herbs, it likes to grow in a mostly sunny spot, but is quite versatile and does take some shade throughout the day well (in quite hot climates, shade is probably preferable). There are two main varieties of parsley-flat leaf and curly leaf, with the flat leaf having a slightly stronger flavour, but both are welcome additions to your garden and cooking.

Good for your Hens

Parsley is the perfect addition to your chickens diet as it is rich in vitamins, promotes circulatory system development, and is a strong laying stimulant. While they may not take to it at first, there are a few different ways you can incorporate parsley into your girls diet. Adding it fresh and chopped up to their layer feed is the best and easiest option (they will hardly even tell!) or you can try leaving a pot in the run for them to peck at the leaves, or scattered around the coop-it’s all down to your chickens preference!

Good for your Garden

Parsley is considered a great companion plant for many herbs and vegetables-carrots, chive, corn, chilli, tomatoes, onions and peas all thrive when planted nearby parsley. It is believed that asparagus in particular benefits when neighbouring parsley. If you’re an avid rose gardener, planting parsley at the base of your roses is said to increase their fragrance-a must try!

Good for You

Parsley is often seen first and foremost as a garnish in cooking, but it is not a herb to be overlooked, with it boasting many nutritional and health benefits. Rich in many vital vitamins including Vitamin C, B 12, K and A, parsley is a super immune system booster, keeps bones healthy, and helps heal the nervous system. It’s also an anti-inflammatory so assists in easing joint pain and muscle soreness- and to think we often tossed this from atop our dish! Find our favourite parsley pesto recipe below-super versatile and easy to make! Oh, and absolutely delicious!

Parsley Pesto


  • 1 cup of parsley leaves tightly packed, or a big bunch with the stems removed

  • 1 cup of slightly toasted walnuts-shells removed

  • ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese

  • 1 clove of crushed garlic

  • juice and zest of half a lemon

  • ¾ cup of extra virgin olive oil

  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Place all the ingredients (except the olive oil) in a food processor or blender, pulse a few times

  2. Once all the ingredients have been pulsed a few times, carefully add the olive oil in a thin stream

  3. Scoop the mixture out and hey presto pesto

  4. Our choice of consumption? Toss through some warm, freshly cooked pasta, or enjoy spread on warm, crusty bread-heavenly.

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 few 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, allergies or particular dislikes.  

Sources and further reading