Dried Herbs and Birds
No doubt about it, we are in a deep freeze with ice, snow and sleet. With the temperatures hovering at freezing, the snow and ice will stick around for awhile.
I’m filling my bird feeders several times each day. Even the little birds are pushing and shoving to grab a few seeds at the feeders. I have 3 hanging feeders and 1 large platform feeder. I fill the hanging feeders with a mix of birdseed and millet. The squirrels don’t seem to bother the hanging feeders when I fill them with this mixture. They much prefer the cherry – scented dark oil sunflower seeds that I scatter in the yard and on the platform feeder.
Even though we have weeks of winter left, the birds need food not only to survive; but also to mature and become capable of breeding and producing offspring. Herbs are beneficial as feed supplements when mixed in with wild bird feed. Birds often suffer from respiratory problems and bacterial infections due to stress and cold. Here is a list of some dried herbs that I’ll scatter on the feeder for them to eat. What they don’t eat, they’ll take to nesting areas or houses.These herbs will help with all around avian health.
Oregano: Avian flu and e-coli
Parsley: Rich in vitamins, aids in development of harder shells among cardinals and song birds
Peppermint: Controls nits and lice
Rosemary: Respiratory health and controls lice
Sage: Antioxidant and anti- parasitic
Spearmint: Alertness and antiseptic
Thyme: Respiratory health, anti-bacterial, antioxidant, anti-parasitic
Yarrow: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, reduces over-crowding stress
Bee balm: Respiratory health, antibacterial
Cilantro: Fungicide, strong bones, helps with night vision
Lavender: Stress reliever, increases blood circulation, repels nits and lice
Marjoram: Decongestant, improves over- all health and vision
Fennel: Aids in development of egg production, stimulant
So as you can see from the list, herbs are very helpful to our feathered friends. When it’s time to clean out the herb jars and containers, don’t throw them away, scatter them in the yard, or add them to the pre-mix of birdseed as you fill the feeders.
I always provide fresh water, and a reliable source of food. A few pine cones dipped in peanut butter and placed on tree limbs will give the birds some high-fat energy food. Regular cleaning of the feeders will benefit the long-term health of the birds. When spring arrives, the birds will reward you by patrolling the garden and yard and eating the insects that have begun to hatch-out.
Birdbath tip: Toss a few pre-1982 copper pennies in your birdbath to prevent algae. The copper prevents organisms from multiplying. Scrub the birdbath first with a thick paste of baking soda and hot water. Rinse several times before filling with fresh water and the pennies.
Marigolds: Not only ward off insects in your garden, the flowers are also anti-oxidants and promote the growth of new skin tissue. So important for healthy beaks and legs. Chickens who eat marigolds lay eggs with bright, yellow yolks.
Rose petals: Roses and rose hips help cleanse the blood of toxins and act as antiseptics and anti-bacterial agents for chickens and ducks as well.
Pansies: Have a mild, wintergreen taste. Loaded with anti-oxidants. Safe for the back yard flock. Offer a few petals to baby chicks.
Zinnias: Source of fiber in the form of dried seed heads. Sprinkle or crumble the flowers over mash or the nesting boxes.
Black oil sunflower seeds: Add a tablespoon to the mash or scatter it in the coop. Sunflower seeds are very nutritious, providing protein for healthy feathers and essential oils for stronger shells and larger yolks. Adding 3 tablespoons of uncooked, steel cut oatmeal will provide nutrients and fiber for baby chicks.
I kept chickens for several years and if you have any questions, leave your comments below.
~ Blessed Be, sweet ones
Can you give these herbs and flowers in dried form when you can’t find them fresh?
I air dry quarts of herbs and flowers each year. Just be sure they are completely dry before storing. During winter months I sprinkle the herbs and flowers on my platform feeders. Birds need extra food during winter and the herbs are loaded with nutrients and fiber. Thank you for the question.