If you raise chickens, you may be wondering how you can keep them healthy and prevent parasites using natural and organic methods. The good news is, it’s entirely possible just by feeding them some healthy garden veggies!
Keep in mind that even healthy chickens will likely have a few internal parasites just due to all the things they come into contact with scratching around in the dirt. However, a healthy chicken with a strong immune system should be unaffected by these. Keeping your chickens’ health in tip-top shape is the best way to prevent problems and keep them relatively worm-free.
Here are a few veggies that you can grow in your garden and feed to your chickens to prevent worms and other parasites:
Plants in the Cucurbitaceae family (which includes squash, gourds, and melons) have long been used in the rearing of all different types of livestock to prevent internal parasites and worms. Studies have been done that show that there is a coating on the seeds that works to paralyze the worms, thereby allowing the host body to expel them. Several other plants also work in conjunction with the Cucurbitaceaes to rid the body of worms, including dandelion, garlic, and nasturtium.
Cantaloupes are easy to grow. They benefit from some compost added to the soil, and will even grow well right in a compost pile if you throw some seeds out with your kitchen scraps!.. Cantaloupes are water-laden, so they make for a great hydrating treat in the summer. Cut a melon in half and give your chickens a real treat. They will eat the seeds, pulp, flesh, and even the rind. Cantaloupes, honeydew, and watermelons are all favorites around my coop.
Cucumber is another easy vegetable to grow… Cucumbers are one of my flocks’ favorite treats. I usually slice the cucumber for them, but you can halve them lengthwise or even hang a cucumber in your run for your chickens to peck at as it swings. They will have no trouble eating the soft rind to get to the flesh and seeds. They seem to particularly enjoy the seeds, but the entire vegetable is edible. Cucumber is very high in water content, so it makes an especially beneficial summer treat.
Nasturtium is a colorful addition to any garden. With its insect-repellent properties, it helps keep bugs out of the garden, but it also has some wonderful benefits for chickens… Nasturtium grows abundantly once it gets started, so you will have plenty of vibrant blossoms to feed to your chickens throughout the summer. My flock loves to eat nasturtium flowers and leaves fresh from the garden…