Herbs for Hen Health: Rosemary

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 14 July 2014

Bundle of rosemary sprigs

The smell of rosemary for many evokes thoughts of hearty winter warming dishes, but this powerhouse herb is much more than a garnish for your Sunday roast. Rosemary is a Mediterranean perennial herb, with fragrant needle like leaves  and small purple flowers. Rosemary loves warm conditions, so should be grown in a very sunny spot with good soil drainage for the best chance of growing success.

Good for your Hens

Rosemary is a welcome addition to your chicken coop not only because of it’s fresh woody fragrance, but it is also responsible for assisting with pain relief and enhancing respiratory health in your girls. It’s also a great natural insecticide, so will help repel any pesky insects that hang around your coop. To harness all of this goodness try planting a rosemary plant in (or near) your chicken run, this way it will ward off pests and your girls can peck at the leaves until their hearts content. You could also place freshly cut rosemary leaves in their nesting boxes and scattered around the coop.

Good for your Garden

When it comes to planting your rosemary, consider planting it next to broccoli, as both of these plants benefit when planted together. Don’t have broccoli in your garden? Planting rosemary near capsicum, beans or cabbage will also help these plants to thrive. Sage is also said to be a great companion plant for rosemary.

Good for You

Like with your chickens, rosemary is also a great health aid for you too! It has long been believed that rosemary has memory-enhancing properties, so helps to protect against aging diseases such as Alzheimer’s. As well as it’s smell enhancing memory, it is also said to elevate your mood according to a number of studies performed on this wonder herb. Rosemary oil is also very important in helping to relieve the pain of migraines, and muscle and joint pain when applied topically to the area. Because rosemary is also packed with antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and anti-carcinogenic properties, it is a super immune booster!

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