Basil is a culinary herb widely used in Italian and Mediterranean cuisines.
If you have basil in your garden and your chicken forages in it, there’s a high chance your poultry birds might peck on it. But can chickens eat basil?
The answer is yes, chickens can.
But can chickens eat all parts of basil plants, and how much basil is safe for them?
In this article, we’ll discuss the:
- Parts of basil that are edible for chickens
- How much and how often to feed basil to chickens, and
- How your flock can benefit from this aromatic herb
So, if you have chooks roaming around your basil garden, this article will benefit you.
Can Chickens Eat Basil Plants?
Before answering the question, we need to know first what basil is.
Finding out about it will help us to decide if we can let our chickens eat this kind of food or not.
Basil is a popular herb with a strong, sweet smell and a distinct flavor and is often used in Italian and Mediterranean dishes.
What’s good about basil is that it grows anywhere with warm temperatures. It’s easy to plant as long as you regularly trim and prune them.
And when the flowers bloom, snip off its flower buds. It will encourage them to grow well.
It is also known for its health benefits, as it contains nutrients that can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation.
As you go on, you will learn more about how amazing this herb is.
But can chickens eat this kind of herb? Is it safe for them? And, will they like it or not?
Yes, chickens can eat basil plants. Basil is a safe and nutritious herb for chickens to consume.
It can provide them with vitamins and minerals and also help with digestion.
But do chickens like basil?
Not all chickens like pecking on basil, but some eventually enjoy the taste.
However, it is important to note that chickens should not consume large quantities of basil as it can cause digestive issues.
Giving them small amounts as a treat or mixing it with their feed is safe.
But Why do Chickens Eat Basil?
Well, it’s chickens are naturally inquisitive, and they will try to peck at anything they can get their beaks to.
That’s why even if they’re not particularly attracted to basil’s color or scent, they’d still want to try to know how it tastes.
But how about chicks? Is basil safe for them?
Can Chicks Eat Basil?
Definitely, yes, even chicks can eat basil as long as you don’t overfeed them.
In fact, they love pecking on it, especially if they are present in your backyard, where they often forage.
It can be a good supplement to support their growth and keep a healthy body.
But are all parts of basil safe for your chooks?
In the next section, we’ll discuss if basil leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds are safe for chicken consumption and why.
Can Chickens Eat Basil Leaves and Stems?
The leaves and stems of basil plants are all edible. They taste the same and are delicious and safe to eat, even for your chickens.
That’s why it’s worth it to plant basil in your backyard because you’re not the only one who can benefit from it, even your feathery friends.
All parts of basil plants contain the same vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall well-being.
Can Chickens Eat Basil Seeds?
Not all seeds are edible because some contain toxins that can cause serious health problems.
But how about basil seeds? Can chickens eat basil seeds?
Yes, chickens can eat basil seeds, but offering them only in moderation is important as part of a balanced diet.
Basil seeds are a good source of protein and fiber and can also provide some nutritional benefits for your feathered friends.
However, overfeeding can lead to digestive issues and other health problems, so monitoring their intake and providing a variety of foods is important.
Can Chickens Eat Basil Flowers?
While chickens can eat basil seeds, it’s unclear whether basil flowers are safe to consume.
However, basil flowers don’t contain toxic substances that will harm your chickens.
But it’s still best to avoid caution when feeding them basil flowers to avoid adverse health effects.
Can Chickens Eat Basil Roots?
As with other parts of the basil plant, its roots are also edible. It doesn’t have any toxic content.
However, it might be less appetizing than other parts like leaves, flowers, and stems.
But how should you serve your basil to your chooks?
Is it okay to feed them fresh basil, or do you need to cook it before serving them?
We’ll get into that below.
Can Chickens Eat Fresh Basil?
There are many ways to serve basil to your feathery friends.
The easiest and fastest way is to serve it fresh. You only need to cut it into pieces.
What’s the advantage of serving fresh foods, like basil, to your chickens?
Fresh basil is packed with many nutrients. Once it’s served, chickens can fully get all the necessary nutrients.
Can Chickens Cooked Basil?
Since basil is a good source of many nutrients, it doesn’t matter how you serve it to your chickens—whether you directly give it or cook it first before serving.
But is cooked basil safe for your feathered friends? Absolutely, yes. It’s completely safe if you don’t use seasonings like pepper, salt, or flavoring.
However, basil might lose some of its nutritional compounds when cooked.
So it’s better to serve it fresh to keep all the nutrients in it.
But what vitamins and minerals can basil offer to your chooks, and is basil really beneficial for chickens?
We’ll dig into that below.
Is Basil Good for Chickens?
Yes, basil is generally considered safe and beneficial for chickens. It can be added to their diet or placed in their coop to help repel insects.
Basil also provides several health benefits for chickens.
Nutritional Benefits of Basil to Chickens
Basil is a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamins A and C, iron, protein, and potassium.
This herb is also a good source of dietary fiber and contains flavonoids that have antioxidant properties.
To sum it up for you, here are the nutritional benefits your chickens can get from 100 grams of basil.
|Nutrient||Amount per 100g of Basil|
How can chickens benefit from the nutrients of basil? We’ll dig deeper into that below.
How Chickens Can Benefit From Basil
Here’s how your chooks can benefit from basil.
- It’s Anti-inflammatory
Basil contains essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties, such as eugenol, linalool, and citronellol that help reduce inflammation, especially when they have injuries.
- Rich in Antioxidants
Basil contains antioxidants like lutein, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and beta-cryptoxanthin. It protects cells from harmful free radicals and prevents oxidative stress.
The antioxidants also have immune-boosting properties that strengthen the immune system of your feathery friends and help fight infections.
- Promotes Healthy Digestion
The dietary fiber content of basil stimulates the digestive system and soothes the gut, helping to alleviate digestive problems like bloating and constipation.
So, if your chickens accidentally eat undigestible food, basil can greatly help.
- Improves Egg Yolks Quality
Feeding basil to your feathered friends can greatly help improve the color of the yolks of your chicken’s eggs due to its carotene content. Besides, this element is also an antioxidant.
- Lowers Cholesterol
The compounds in basil help lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease.
- It Fights Cancer
Some studies have shown that basil has anti-cancer properties that help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Aside from being a beneficial herb, basil can also help control pests in your chicken coop, like mosquitos and flies.
You only need to place the fresh leaves anywhere inside the enclosure.
Overall, basil is a healthy and nutrient-rich herb with several health benefits and should be included in a balanced diet.
How To Feed Basil To Chickens
In this section, we’ll discuss how to feed chickens basil.
Feeding dry and processed foods can still be beneficial for your poultry birds. However, it’s best to serve it raw and fresh.
Before feeding, the basils should be cut into small pieces to prevent choking. Then, mix it into your chicken’s feed little by little, especially when it’s your first time.
If they like picking it, you can scatter it to their coop to let them forage or hang it anywhere.
And if you have a basil plant in your backyard, let them pick on it. However, you still need to monitor them so they won’t overfeed.
How Much Basil Can You Feed to Chicken?
Basically, it depends on their size and breed. But an average of six leaves is enough for adults to get all the necessary nutrients.
And, of course, young ones should consume less than their adult counterparts.
This way, you can prevent digestive issues and keep your little critter’s tummy happy.
When Can Chickens Eat Basil?
Feeding basil to your chickens every day is not bad, but since there’s a risk of overfeeding, it’s best to limit their consumption.
Besides, if you always give them basil, you’ll struggle to feed them with nutritionally balanced feed if they prefer the basil leaves or any parts of it.
So, it should only be fed to chickens once in a while as a treat.
A Few Reminders Before Feeding Basil to Chickens
Introducing basil to your chickens might not be easy at first.
So here are a few reminders that you should remember for successful feeding.
Introduce It Slowly
Basil should be included gradually into your chicken’s diet, just like any other new food.
Give them very little at first, and observe their response. Some hens are more sensitive than others and require a longer acclimatization period.
Use Fresh, Organic Basil
We recommend feeding your chickens with fresh and organic basil rather than dried ones.
Why? Dried herbs are generally less nutrient-dense for your chickens and may offer different advantages than fresh basil.
Ensure It’s Chemical-Free
Make sure the basil leaves you feed your chickens are pesticide-free. This is particularly crucial if you are purchasing basil from a store.
Pesticides should never be used on chickens because they can be extremely harmful to them.
Aside from basil, is there any herb that is safe and beneficial for your chickens?
Yes, in fact, it’s quite a long list.
But in the next section, we’ll sum it up for you!
Other Herbs and Spices That Are Good For Chickens
Here are the herbs and spices that are generally safe for chooks when served in moderation.
This herb is a perennial plant from the Lamiaceae family. It is native to the Mediterranean region.
Sage helps fight bacteria like salmonella, a common infectious bacteria in poultry.
If your chickens are weak and have lost their appetite, feeding tarragon is an effective way to stimulate it.
It’s a perennial herb that also provides medicinal benefits to humans.
This herb is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can also help to keep your chickens healthy.
Simply add oregano to their feed or sprinkle it in their coop, and it’s good to go!
Not only does cinnamon smell great, but it can also help regulate your chicken’s blood sugar levels.
This herb can be helpful, especially for birds prone to metabolic disorders.
This spice has anti-inflammatory properties and can help boost the immune system. It can be added to your chicken’s feed or mixed with water.
It will become a paste that can be applied topically to wounds.
Thyme is another herb that has antibacterial properties and can help prevent respiratory infections in chickens.
It can be added to their feed or used as a natural disinfectant in their coop.
Another herb that is rich in antioxidants and vitamin A is dill. Additionally, it contains substances that can enhance chickens’ ability to produce eggs.
Dill can also reduce flatulence and calm an upset stomach.
Parsley is abundant in vitamins K and C, which are important for chicken’s health. It can also enhance the flavor of eggs.
Parsley is also known to reduce stress and increase energy in chickens.
Another herb that is a good source of vitamins A and C is the mint.
These vitamins help relieve stomach problems, reduce stress, and fight free radicals.
This herb also contains vitamins A, C, and K, which are essential for improving egg production and relieving stress.
Vitamin A and antioxidants can be found in rosemary. Additionally, rosemary can help enhance egg quality and output.
Rosemary is also believed to reduce anxiety and stress and increase energy in chickens.
This plant is a flower and herb containing vitamins A and C. Like mint and cilantro, lavender relieves stress and improves egg production.
But what’s good about this herb is its calming effect, especially if your chicken is skittish.
Incorporating these herbs and spices into your chicken diet can help keep your birds healthy and happy.
But serve them in moderation because overfeeding can lead to digestive issues.
Can Chickens Eat Basil: The Final Recap
In summary, chickens can eat basil leaves, stems, and seeds.
Although their flowers are a little questionable, no data says they’re toxic, so you don’t have to worry if your bird took a little peck on it.
Basil roots can be bitter and unappetizing, though, so chickens might not be interested in it.
You can serve basil to chickens either raw or cooked but make sure there’s no seasonings in it to prevent digestive issues.
Have you ever served basil to your chickens? How was it? Did they like it, or did they experience adverse health effects?
Share with us your experience in the comment section below.