Can Chickens Eat Basil? (EXPLAINED)

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Can Chickens Eat Basil

If you wonder if it is safe to feed basil to your chickens, you are in the right spot. Keep reading for everything you need to know.

Can Chickens Eat Basil?

Yes! You can feed basil to chickens.

Rest easy if you want to feed basil to your chickens but are unsure if basil is suitable for chickens. Basil is an excellent food for chickens.

Basil is a fantastic source of calcium, vitamins A, and vitamin K. It is also a potent antibacterial.

Good Source of Calcium – Chickens need calcium in their diet to help with the formation of eggshells and to help hens to produce eggs.

Note: Basil is a good source of calcium, but it is not a replacement for calcium-enriched food, where chickens will uptake most of the calcium they need to produce healthy eggs. Use basil as a treat rather than as a calcium replacement.

free range chickens

Good Source of vitamin A – vitamin A is an essential vitamin for hens because, like calcium, it helps hens produce eggs. Vitamin A also plays a positive role in the mental health of chickens. Studies show that vitamin A deficiencies can cause hens to become depressed and lethargic. On the other hand, happy chickens produce delicious eggs.

Excellent Source of vitamin K – vitamin K is a healthy vitamin for chickens. It helps them form vital, healthy blood and immune systems and is especially important for hens brooding. Vitamin K helps with embryotic health too.

Basil Contains Antioxidants – The antioxidants in basil help to keep chickens healthy and their bodies strong. Antioxidants help reduce cellular oxidation or damage to the cells during energy production. Basil is a great herb to help reduce cell damage and keep your chickens strong.

These are just a few of the many benefits that basil offers as a treat for chickens.

Can Chickens Eat the Leaves and Stems of Basil?

fresh basil leaves

Chickens can eat basil, and that includes the stems. Most likely, chickens will eat the leaves and some stems; The older basil becomes, the more woody the stems become. But, on the other hand, chickens will enjoy the softer and succulent new growth on basil, including the fresh stems.

Basil is a medicinal herb for chickens too.

hen laying eggs

Basil is considered a medicinal herb, and while most of us recognize it as the main ingredient in pesto, basil is also an excellent herb for respiratory health. Chickens benefit from basil. One more benefit hens get from basil plants is improved mucus membrane health, which helps fight off respiratory infections more easily.

Basil as a topical Aromatic

basil sprig

A little off the subject of feeding basil to chickens is the option of adding basil to the nesting boxes of your chickens. We’ve explored the health benefits of basil, and now is an excellent time to look at basil as a topical aromatic.

When you add basil sprigs to the nest box, you add a very strong aromatic that drives off insect and arachnid pests, such as mites, flies, and even wasps.

How to Feed Basil to Chickens

You can feed basil to chickens in several ways.

  • Toss in cuttings – You can toss in the extra bits of basil that you prune from the plants into the chicken pen. Chickens are foragers, so they will help themselves to any extra produce you toss into them.
  • Cut and Add to Food – basil is a treat for chickens, and you can add fresh basil to their dry food. It is best to chop basil leaves and stems into small 1/3 inch pieces and add a cup to their food each day. Keep in mind that basil can spoil, so add fresh leaves each day and clean the dish often.

Whether you choose to toss basil in whole or cut it up and add it to the chicken food, the chickens will thank you. Basil is packed full of nutrients that boost chicken health.


Basil, fresh – FoodData Central – USDA