Can Chickens Eat Basil? 5 Fantastic Benefits

Can chickens eat basil? Yes, basil is safe for chickens to eat and is a good source of many nutrients like vitamins A and C and iron.

However, it should only be given to them in moderation since it is very high in fiber. In addition, not all chickens will like the taste of basil, so you may want to offer it to them as a treat rather than adding it to their regular diet.

If you decide to feed your chickens basil, ensure it is fresh and free of pesticides. This article will provide more information on the safety of feeding basil to chickens and how to prepare it properly.

can chickens eat basil

Can chickens eat basil?

The answer is yes, and it presents an excellent opportunity to provide them with vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. It is an herbaceous plant rich in vitamins A and C, iron, and fiber.

While there are many benefits to feeding your chicken basil, it should only be given to them in moderation since it is high in fiber. Start by offering them a small piece of leaf and see how they respond before adding more basil into their diet.

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The benefits of eating basil for chickens

Basil can provide your chickens with various benefits, and here are some of the main ones.

Boosting Their Immune System

Basil is rich in antioxidants which can help boost a chicken’s immune system. This is especially important during the winter when they are more susceptible to getting sick.

Pest Control

Basil can also help keep pesky pests like flies and mosquitoes away from your chicken coop. Leave some fresh basil leaves around the perimeter of the coop and let nature take its course.

Improving Digestion

The oils in basil can also aid in digestion and help relieve an upset stomach. So if your chicken happens to eat something it shouldn’t have, a little basil may help settle its stomach.

Brighter egg yolks

Basil has also been found to increase the color of your chicken’s egg yolks. The carotenes in basil are what give the egg yolks their brighter yellow hue.

Things to watch out for when feeding basil to chickens

fresh basil

Basil is a popular herb that many chicken owners like to feed their flock. However, there are a few things you should know before adding basil to your chicken’s diet.

Introduce Basil Slowly

As with any new food, you should introduce basil slowly into your chicken’s diet. Start by only giving them a small amount at first and see how they react. Some chickens may be more sensitive than others and may need a longer acclimation period.

Make Sure It’s Pesticide Free

When feeding your chickens basil, ensure the leaves are pesticide-free. This is especially important if you are buying basil from the store. Pesticides can be very dangerous for chickens and should be avoided at all costs. It’s best to use organic, pesticide-free basil if possible.

Fresh is Best

It’s also best to feed your chickens fresh basil. Dried herbs may not provide the same benefits as fresh basil and are generally less nutritious for your chickens.

How often should chickens eat basil?

Generally, chickens should be given basil only as an occasional treat. Basil has many benefits for chickens, but feeding it too frequently can cause health problems.

No herb or green should account for more than 10 percent of a chicken’s diet for their health to remain optimal. It is important to alternate between herbs and greens when feeding your chickens.

Basil can be fed to chickens every 2-3 days; however, you should rotate other herbs and greens to ensure your flock gets various vitamins and minerals. Without proper variation in the chicken diet, there is a higher risk of gastric issues and nutrient deficiencies.

By varying which kinds of plants you feed your flock several times per week and keeping the percentage of basil low in favor of other herbs and greens, you can rest assured that your chickens are getting everything they need nutritionally without overloading them on one particular plant.

How to prepare basil for feeding to chickens

chickens eating

Not only is basil a healthy treat for your chickens, but it can also help them lay more eggs and keep their feathers shining. Ready to add basil to your chicken’s diet? Here’s how to prepare it.

Cut the Stems

Chickens can eat basil plants’ flowers, stems, and seeds, but you’ll want to cut the stems into smaller pieces to prevent choking. You can also tear the leaves into smaller pieces if you’d like.

Scatter for Foraging

Chickens love foraging for food, so feel free to scatter the basil around their coop or run. They’ll have a blast pecking at it and eating every last bit.

Mix with Chicken Feed

If you want to ensure your chickens get enough basil in their diet, you can always mix it with their regular chicken feed. Just chop up the leaves and stems and mix them with the feed before you scatter them in the coop.

Let the Basil Hang

Another way to feed your chickens basil is to hang it in their coop. Chickens will peck at the leaves and enjoy the shade it provides on hot summer days. Just be sure to check on the basil periodically and replace it when it looks wilted or faded.

Can baby chickens eat basil?

If you are a new chicken owner, you may wonder if it is safe for a baby chick to eat basil. Basils of all varieties can benefit your flock; however, small amounts should always be fed when chicks are young.

Since baby chicks have different dietary needs and sensitivities than adult chickens, it is best to wait until they are 3-4 weeks old before introducing herbs like basil into their diet. In addition to basil, you can safely feed your chicks other leafy green vegetables: dandelion leaves, kale, grasses, and romaine lettuce.

Feeding these greens in small amounts – no more than 1 teaspoon per chick per day – will provide essential vitamins and minerals that enable their young bodies to grow strong and healthy.

What other herbs can chickens eat?

fresh cilantro

Chickens are omnivores and will eat just about anything, including herbs. While all chickens can benefit from eating herbs, some herbs, apart from basil, are particularly good for chickens.

Rosemary

Rosemary is an excellent source of Vitamin A and antioxidants, which are important for chicken health. Furthermore, rosemary can help improve egg production and quality. Chickens that eat rosemary also tend to have less stress and more energy.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Rosemary? 5 Amazing Benefits

Dill

Dill is another herb that is high in Vitamin A and antioxidants. It also contains compounds that can help improve egg production in chickens. Dill can also help settle an upset stomach and relieve gas.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Dill? 6 Awesome Benefits

Parsley

Parsley is a good source of vitamins K and C, which are essential for chicken health. Additionally, parsley can help improve the flavor of eggs. Chickens that eat parsley also tend to have less stress and more energy.

Cilantro

Cilantro is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, which are essential for chicken health. Additionally, cilantro can help improve egg production and reduce stress levels in chickens.

Read More: Can Chickens Eat Cilantro? 6 Important Benefits

Mint

Mint is a good source of Vitamins A and C, both of which are important for chicken health. Additionally, mint can help relieve an upset stomach and reduce stress levels in chickens.

Lavender

Lavender is a good source of vitamins A and C, both of which are important for chicken health. Additionally, lavender can help improve egg production and reduce stress levels in chickens. Lavender also has a calming effect on chickens, making it a good choice if you have a flock that tends to be skittish or nervous.

How to give chickens a healthy and balanced diet

Chickens need a balanced and healthy diet to live long and prosperous lives. Unfortunately, many chicken owners make the mistake of feeding their feathered friends an unbalanced diet lacking key nutrients. As a result, their chickens may become unhealthy or even die prematurely.

So, what should you be feeding your chickens? Read on to learn more!

Greens

Chickens love greens! Not only do they taste good, but they’re also packed with essential vitamins and minerals. The best greens for chickens include cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

If you can’t find any of these at your local grocery store, don’t worry – almost any green leafy vegetable will do. Just make sure to chop them up into small pieces so that your chickens can easily eat them.

Fruits and Vegetables

In addition to greens, you should include fruits and vegetables in your chicken’s diet. The best options include apples, bananas, carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

As with greens, it’s important to chop these up into small pieces before giving them to your chicken – otherwise, they might have a difficult time eating them.

Grains

Grains are an important part of a chicken’s diet as they provide carbohydrates for energy. Good grain options for chickens include oats, barley, wheat, and corn. You can feed your chickens these grains dry or soaked in water – it’s really up to you (and your chicken’s preferences).

Protein

Protein is essential for muscle development in chickens. Common protein sources for chickens include bugs, insects, earthworms, slugs, and snails. If you don’t have easy access to these things, you can also buy commercially-prepared chicken feed that contains all the necessary protein levels.

Water

Last but not least, water is perhaps the most crucial element of a chicken’s diet. Make sure to give your chicken fresh water daily – and more if it’s particularly hot outside. Depending on the size and breed of your chicken, it will need between 1 and 4 cups of water per day.

Can chickens eat basil – final thoughts

Basil is generally safe for chickens to eat in small quantities. However, it’s important to remember that basil alone isn’t enough to provide your chickens with a balanced and healthy diet.

Make sure to include other nutritious foods, such as greens, fruits and vegetables, grains, and protein in your chicken’s diet to keep them healthy and happy. With the right balance of nutrients, your flock will have plenty of energy throughout the day and stay healthy for years to come!

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Jill Taylor Happy Farmyard

Jill Taylor

Jill is a full-time homesteader who enjoys learning about sustainable living and practicing self-reliance. She'll most likely be found tending to her many animals including chickens, ducks, goats, and alpacas. You find out more about her on LinkedIn.