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How To Add Herbs to the Coop

add herbs chicken coop
Fresh herbs and flowers dry along side mini-potatoes and garlic on vintage flower bulb drying trays.

Like most chicken keepers, I love spending time in the garden. Each year I plant and grow plenty of herbs for the family and the chickens.  In the summer, the girls enjoy nibbling on the fresh herbs. However, as the season begins to come to a close, we harvest what remains in the garden before the first frost. We then dry the herbs prior to future use. We use a few different techniques to dry the herbs and flowers based on their moisture content. Once dried, we use the herbs in cooking and also in the chicken coop!  Adding a sprinkle of dried chicken-safe herbs to the coop helps keep insects, mice, and parasites away. Plus I think it soothes the girls during their egg laying. To learn how to add herbs to the chicken coop read on.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Dolly the Magic Chicken

The past few days, I have taken Dolly from “Camp Broody” over to the larger coop and run with the rest of her family.  I reunite them first thing in the morning and with their late afternoon snack.  After ten minutes, I wait until Dolly enters the coop, I quickly close the door, open the coop and return her to the brooder.  I then return to the main coop and reopen the door. Usually when I go to retrieve Dolly, she is alone in the coop. The thing that makes me laugh is how the other chickens react.  Once I reopen the coop door, there is no Dolly.  At first, they didn’t notice, now they do.  When I return, I find them waiting outside of the closed coop door.  When I open it, they shoulder each other out of the way to be line leader.  They go in, take a quick look around and then realize Dolly is gone.  Hmmm……she disappeared.

Everytime Dolly goes over for her visit, there is some mild pecking that occurs, especially with the larger girls, Tilly, Oyster Cracker and Sunshine.  Interestingly enough, the Silkies are now content with their pecking order arrangements.  Tilly and Oyster Cracker sometimes can be so mean, especially if they are in the mood to lay an egg.  They both yell and kick out the Silkies from the coop.  Once they have settled into their preferred nesting boxes, the Silkies are then allowed back inside.  Typically, the little ones linger outside the coop door, stealing glimpses and wait until the coast is clear to enter. 

Today was not like any other day.  It is a crispy sunny chilly 18 degree F morning.  I went on with my usual am rountine, then grabbed Dolly for her visit. Today, Oyster Cracker had to lay an egg.  So, Dolly spent a little more time in the run.  After Oyster Cracker had settled into her nesting box, Dolly and Meesha went inside the coop.  I quickly closed the door, grabbed Dolly, returned her to the brooder and reopened the coop door. Once again, the others entered the coop and found she disappeared.

Today, there were two witnesses to the magic act.  I wonder if Oyster Cracker and Meesha will reveal how Dolly performs her disappearing act to the others?  I’d like to think they won’t and have decided to become the magician’s assistants.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Day Five: Still Alive

Today I noticed an overall improvement in Dolly.  Thank God!  When I opened the coop up this morning, she was in her usual nesting box.  Her crop was firm but smaller and almost flat.  I removed her from the box, wrapped her in a towel and gave her medicine. I also gave her some water via the syringe.  She was feistier about having me give her the medicine.  I viewed that as a good sign.

I returned her to the run and then closed the coop door so that I could clean the coop.  While I cleaned, she socialized scratched, ate and drank.  All while I cleaned the coop, I heard knocks on the door.  “Who is it?”,  I asked.  That would be proceeded with another knock; so darling. 

After cleaning, I opened the door, and the bigger girls immediately went in to rearrange, decorate and explore the new bedding.  Dolly remained in the run.  She didn’t seem to care that the door was open and she was free to run back to her box.  After about a total of 15 minutes outside of the box, she eventually did return to nest on her invisible eggs.  Slowly but surely, we are all getting the hang of dealing with a broody hen, even the hen herself.