Nest Box Aromatherapy

By Mountain Peeps · Jun 13, 2014 · Updated Jan 20, 2016 · ·
  1. Mountain Peeps
    Happy hens lay healthy eggs. We all love those fresh eggs and do our best to get the most out of our hens. But sometimes we forget all the hard work hens put into making just a single egg. We forget that they like privacy and peace when laying an egg. And most of all, we forget nest box aromatherapy.

    Nest box aromatherapy is simple and makes a world of a difference. Hens who lay in a nest filled with herbs are generally relaxed, healthier and even happier than those who don't. Not only will it keep the hens happy, but it will keep the entire coop smelling like an herb garden. Many herbs benefit chickens in different ways. Plus if you have a hen who has gone broody, herbs will keep her in better shape than she otherwise would be.Now that I use herbs my hens tend to lay faster and they seem much healthier. Once, my hen was trying to lay an egg and she had been in the nest for over an hour. I sprinkled herbs around and on her and, almost immediately, she stood up and laid her egg! The only problem with herbs is that they can sometimes be too aromatic and cause your hens to actually sleep in the nests. This causes problems such as blocked/clogged nests, messy eggs and bedding material and, occasionally, broodiness. So, make sure to not overdo herbs. Hens benefit from nest box herbs by inhaling, rubbing against and eating them.
    (Photo courtesy of the
    Broody hens not only benefit from inhaling herbs but also benefit from their insect repelling powers. Often times when hens go broody, they are annoyed and bothered by lice, mites, flies and other pests. Herbs such as mint, catnip and marigolds will all keep bugs like this away. Plus, herbs such as cilantro, garlic, lavender and marjoram all aid in blood circulation which is important since broody hens rarely get off their nest to stretch their legs and wings. When baby chicks are born they will additionally benefit from the herbs. Parsley is possibly the best herb for baby chicks. It is high in vitamins and calcium. It also helps with bone and feather growth and formation.
    Here is a list of the most common herbs used in nest boxes:

    Catnip-Insect repellant and aromatic
    Dill-Calming boosts respiratory health
    Fennel-Laying stimulant
    Lavender-Calming, increases blood circulation, stess reducing, aromatic
    Lemon Balm-Calming, rodent repeller
    Marigolds-Insect repellent, soothing (it does not repel earwigs though!)
    Mint-Insect repellant, highly aromatic
    Parsley-High in vitamins
    Pineapple Sage-Aromatic
    Rose Petals-Calming, aromatic
    Thyme-Boosts respiratory health, calming
    Yarrow- Stress reliever
    All of the herbs listed above can be used year round. They are best used fresh. Simply cut the amount you wish to use and sprinkle it in the nests. Note: All the herbs listed will not harm your birds if eaten. You may find it hard to grow and use herbs in the winter. If you are not interested in growing herbs in the winter, then consider purchasing a nest box blend from chicken stores either online or locally.
    Nest box aromatherapy will relax, soothe and calm laying and broody hens. Thus resulting in eggs not just coming from a hen, but from a healthy and happy hen!

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Recent User Reviews

  1. Stardustrose
    "Great article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Oct 6, 2018
    Love learning new stuff for my chicken and herbs was something I didn't know about. Thank you for sharing this!
  2. Fizzy Daghead
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 15, 2018
    Love this post!
    I’ve been sprinkling a few drops of Lavender oil over the bedding, and nest box.
    Works for me.

    The list of alternatives that you’ve given here, is great.
    I can’t wait to try some of them.
  3. $pent_Hens
    "❤️❤️❤️ this article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Jul 4, 2018
    i started off reading just one article on herb uses for chickens and now I am BYC stalking every article on the subject written by “Mountain Peeps”! Great read!


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  1. Helen_Jayne
    Thanks a lot, as an aromatherapist I didn't think of using them with the chickens yet! Great idea.
  2. Henthused
    Thank you very much. I grow and use herbs in my kitchen, but never thought about adding to my hens' nesting boxes. Great info!
  3. Diney
    Great article... Can't wait to try this and grow lots of herbs this year.
  4. blondiebee181
    I've totally used lavender in the duckhouse before, it smells awesome!
  5. hippiestink
    Haha! We talked about this a while back in Sally Sunshine's incubation thread. SO happy to see it's made its way to the front page! :)
  6. sunflour
    Nice article. Thanks for the list of herbs to try.
  7. Mountain Peeps
    @sunnypj essential oils are stronger than most herbs. I've heard of people successfully treating sick or injured chickens with certain essential oils but I've never heard of or tried using them for aromatherapy in the nests. I wouldn't risk it if I were you. In the meantime, make sure to keep the nests clean and comfy. You might want to also look into buying a bag of nest box blend.
  8. Bogtown Chick
    Loved the article. I tore out an overgrown flower/perrennial garden two falls ago and planted it in herbs last spring. I loved it and it was just as beautiful or more so....and the fact that it was useful too, added to the reward of it. The birds just love it and I do too.
  9. BuffOrps416
    I agree with Chicken Girl1 and Chcknluvr... great article and I'm going to try it soon to see the wonderful results!
  10. chcknluvr
    Can't wait to try this!
  11. Chicken Girl1
    Wonderful article like usual!
  12. sunnypj
    question for you.... if I don't have these herbs available this time of year can I use a few drops of essential oils inside the coop to help? I have one hen that is laying eggs on the roosting pole. ( 2x4) instead of in a nesting box. needless to say the egg many times falls off and breaks before I can get it. I am hoping maybe she would try a nest if it smelled better?
  13. silkiecuddles
    This is great, Sarah! Very helpful info
  14. CherriesBrood
    This is such great article and with great information! Thank you! Definitely going to try this with my hens! I'm planning on having one of my hens go broody this spring, this will be my first time actually letting them hatch some babies instead of me incubating. This is really helpful for making sure everyone hatches healthy and happy! Thanks so much again!
  15. Herbfarmer
    What a great idea! I came across this searching for herbs to help breaking a broody chicken. I was thinking maybe raspberry and red clover as a preventative.

    If you see this, what do you think about Rue for the nest boxes? Juliette de Bairracli Levy suggests feeding it as a parasite preventative and I hang it in my kitchen for fly prevention.
  16. Mountain Peeps
    Thanks Farming Frenzy and Frindizzle! Glad this helped you!
    Thank you so much Two Crows! I'm glad I have inspired you to use herbs in your own nests!
    Thanks MyPetNugget! Have fun with them!
  17. MyPetNugget
    Thanks for the article Peeps! I learned a lot and I will be putting some in my nest boxes soon! :D
  18. TwoCrows
    Excellent article on herbs! Because of you Sarah, I have started using herbs in my nest boxes and the girls love them!! Thanks so much for all this valuable information!!! :)
  19. Frindizzle
    Thanks! We have lots of these plants and this article is great!
  20. Farming Frenzy
    Wow this is amazing... Im gonna plant some bucnhes of lavender and thyme for my chickens now!
  21. Mountain Peeps
    I PM'd you duncanetta.
  22. duncanetta
    Hi will get planting more different herbs, is there any they should not have please
  23. DalysFarm
    Love it! When my twin children were born the nurse put a little fresh lavender in their NICU bed for all the reasons you listed above. So it's not just for chickens either : ) And thanks for the guess on my new chicks genders!

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