A constant supply of organic manure, an organic waste disposal system, eggs, and for some people, meat — this is what it means to keep healthy chickens. However, there are some things that owners of chickens need to do in order to maintain flock health. The key to healthy and happy chickens is adequate and balanced nutrition.
Can chickens eat basil? Chickens can indeed eat basil and may receive many essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from this nutrient-rich food source. As with any feed, however, attention should be paid to quantity as it is important to include a variety of food sources, not just one, to meet all dietary requirements.
Basil, in general, is quite healthy for chickens and other poultry. Let’s break down the different components of this plant and the questions around it.
Feeding Basil to Chickens – What To Know
As a dietary addition, basil can have many positive and preventative health effects. It is important, however, to consider that chickens need large amounts of protein, which basil alone does not provide. An excess of basil may also impact proper digestion, causing a number of unwanted health effects.
Are Basil Leaves Safe for Chickens?
Yes! Basil leaves from all varieties are safe for chickens to eat and can be a good supplement to their diets.
Is Basil Good for Chickens?
Some studies suggest that basil has a wide range of positive effects when fed to chickens. Included in these are the increase of nutrients in egg yolks. These nutrients are responsible for many health benefits to people, including anti-inflammatory effects and protection from cardiovascular disease. Further studies reveal these acids could hold positive effects as an antidepressant, antiaging, anticancer, and antioxidant substances.
Benefits of Basil for Chickens
The benefits of chickens eating basil are much the same as they are for humans. Basil promotes healthy digestion and gut flora, and it strengthens the immune system. Basil has also been shown to increase egg production and quality in chickens that are given this alongside a balanced diet.
Nutrients in Basil
Basil contains excellent levels of Vitamin A, which is essential for chickens to maintain growth, egg production, and general physiological well-being. Just a handful of leaves and stems will provide a chicken with all the daily Vitamin A it needs. Basil also contains amino acids and minerals, which are essential to the functioning of organs.
How Much Basil To Feed Chickens?
This is a tricky question because there are so many variables. For instance, this depends on the size and breed of your chickens and on the size, variety, and even environmental nutrition content of your basil. It may even depend on how many chickens you have and their pecking order, which makes equal distribution of food unlikely.
As a rule of thumb, approximately six large leaves, with or without stems, will be plenty of basil for one chicken per day.
How To Feed Your Chickens Basil
The best option for any food source when feeding chickens is to make sure that the chosen food is fresh. Dried or processed foods will keep your chickens healthy, but it can’t compare to feeding your flock fresh produce or letting them free-range.
Basil can simply be placed on the ground and left for chickens to browse. They will make light work of such a tasty treat.
Can Chickens Eat Basil Stems?
Basil stems are great for chickens. They provide good fiber, which is required by chickens in small amounts.
Can Chickens Eat Basil Seeds?
Absolutely! Basil seeds are packed with protein, the same essential substance a seed needs to grow into a new plant, and they will make a good boost to your chicken’s diet.
What Herbs Can Chickens Not Eat?
Almost all herbs that humans consume can be safely consumed by chickens. The herbs that are potentially deadly for chickens (and humans!) include pennyroyal, foxglove, henbane, and anything in the nightshade family, including the leaves and stalks of tomatoes and potatoes.
Herbs To Increase Egg Production in Chickens
Herbs are a great natural alternative to encourage egg production and quality. Apart from basil, below are some examples of herbs that are rich in the nutrients that layers need.
One of the easiest-to-grow edible flowers, nasturtium is as attractive as it is useful. Because it has a myriad of disease-preventing qualities, is high in Vitamin C and A, and is a natural antibiotic, this is our best recommendation as an alternative to basil.
Mint has a good amount of Vitamin A, is often found growing in abundance, and requires regular pruning, so it lends itself as a good food crop for poultry.
A valuable food source for various farm animals including chickens, comfrey contains high levels of protein and calcium, both of which are necessary for growth and egg production.
This herb has an abundance of vitamins and minerals and is a top choice for increasing egg production and maintaining animal health.
Can Goats Eat Basil?
Yes, goats can safely eat basil in small quantities and reap the health benefits. Too much basil may cause indigestion, which causes discomfort to animals in the long run and may cause disease if left untreated.
Is Basil Safe for Cats?
Basil is definitely safe for cats to be around and to eat, although they will not usually eat it voluntarily, and there is no need to supplement their diet with this herb.
Basil is an all-around beneficial herb as an addition to your flock’s diet. It provides many of the nutrients that chickens need to be productive egg layers and to avoid disease and infection.
Most importantly, all animals need a varied diet to remain at their peak, so consider using a whole range of fresh fruits, vegetables, grasses, and herbs in your feeding plan.