Can Chickens Eat Oregano? Is it Safe?

Chickens love to nibble on all sorts of plants, and some of their very favorite foods in this category happen to be the same kitchen herbs that you and I use to season our food.

chickens of various breeds on the homestead

Any chicken keepers that also do a little gardening have probably experienced the horror that comes after your chickens manage to break into the garden and eat what they want; the herbs are usually the first thing to go!

The silver lining is that herbs tend to be very good for chickens. How about oregano? Can chickens eat oregano and is it safe?

Yes, oregano is good for chickens, and every part of the plant is safe for consumption.

Although oregano has a limited nutritional profile of vitamins and minerals, it contains compounds with strong antibacterial qualities that can boost immune system health in chickens.

Chickens seem to enjoy eating oregano, and you’ll enjoy the health benefits for your birds when you add it to their diet as a periodic supplement.

If you’ve been struggling with diseases making your chickens miserable, oregano might be just the ticket to keep your chickens from getting sick.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about feeding it to your flock below…

What Benefits Does Oregano Have for Chickens?

Oregano is reasonably nutritious when you look at the lineup of vitamins and minerals that it contains, and it can play an important role in maximizing various bodily functions and chickens.

From circulatory health and overall metabolism to the promotion of egg laying in the production of strong, sturdy eggshells and even the improvement of nervous system tissues and eyesight, oregano is definitely a worthy and healthy food for chickens.

But, that isn’t all. Oregano’s best attributes are special compounds that have proven time and again to kill off or neutralize harmful viruses and bacteria.

Accordingly, it has gained a deserved reputation as a disease-fighting supplement.

Best of all, chickens don’t have to eat very much oregano to benefit from these compounds, and only a periodic addition to their diet is enough for them to reap the benefits and enjoy significantly improved health.

Oregano Nutritional Info

Oregano has a fair but limited nutritional profile, though most of what it has are things that chickens definitely need in their diet.

Also, keep in mind that the nutritional profile of oregano depletes to near-nothingness when the herb is cooked or dried, so if you want your chickens to get the benefits try to feed them fresh oregano whenever possible.

The very best attribute of oregano is the iron content, backed up by a small amount of magnesium and calcium and a little bit of potassium.

The vitamin selection is somewhat limited, but it does have a decent shot of vitamins B6, E, and A along with a little bit of vitamin C, no vitamin C is kind of wasted on chickens because they make their own anyway.

Is Oregano Safe for Chickens Fresh?

Yes, fresh oregano is totally safe for chickens, and fresh oregano has the very best nutritional profile.

Along with more nutrients, it will also contain more of the disease-fighting compounds that make oregano so valuable to chickens in the first place.

Is Dried Oregano Safe for Chickens?

Yes, dried oregano is safe for chickens, too. But dried oregano has a seriously limited nutritional profile and not nearly many of the beneficial compounds mentioned previously.

But even so, dried oregano still offers chickens some benefits.

Can You Cook Oregano to Give it To Chickens?

Yes, you can. But cooking oregano is totally unnecessary and a bad idea, generally: It almost totally depletes the herb of its nutrients and polyphenol compounds, and it isn’t going to make it any easier for chickens to eat.

The additional moisture content, assuming you boil or steam it, is also a negative. Just give your chickens fresh or dried oregano and forget cooking.

Don’t Give Oregano Oil to Chickens

Oregano’s disease-fighting and germ-killing properties are well understood, and naturally active compounds that provide this capability have been extracted in concentrated oil form to be sold for the purpose.

But you shouldn’t give your chickens oregano oil: it isn’t safe for them to consume, and the effects of taking such intense supplements have not been researched or tested on animals.

There’s a distinct possibility that the intensity of the oil could cause more harm than good, likely in the form of serious digestive issues.

It’s best to err on the side of caution and just stick with oregano in its natural form.

Is Oregano Still Safe for Chicks?

Yes, oregano is safe for chicks and it can do for them what it does for adult chickens. But, you’d be smart to wait until the chicks are at least 4 weeks old before introducing oregano to them.

Any younger than that and their developing stomachs might not cope well with the pungency of oregano.

Once they’re old enough, feed it to them in strict moderation, tiny portions maybe once a week, and keep an eye on them to make sure they are responding well.

If you notice any negative symptoms, such as loose stools, stop feeding them oregano and wait until they reach adulthood.

How Frequently Can Oregano be Fed to Chickens?

Oregano has some pretty awesome health benefits for chickens, but it is still not something that they should eat all the time.

Too much of anything can be bad, especially when it comes to herbs and spices, so feed oregano no more than once or twice weekly (max) to your chickens for maximum benefits without upsetting their digestive systems.

Something else to consider is that oregano is not even close to being a nutritionally complete food for chickens, so even when they are eating it alongside their usual diet of feed they will need lots of other whole foods to make up the difference.

Think of oregano more like an occasional healthy snack or dedicated health supplement in their diet and you’ve got the right idea.

What’s the Best Way to Serve Oregano to Your Flock?

The very best way to give your chickens oregano is fresh and whole. If you can harvest fresh oregano and serve it to your chickens, even better!

Oregano is fairly tender when fresh or live, and your chickens should not have any trouble consuming it in this form.

If you’re giving them dried oregano, you can scatter it on the ground if you know they will seek it out and eat it, or else try mixing it in with their feed or other foods.

If taking this latter approach, consider a light toss with water or just a dash of olive oil to help the flaky leaves stick to the other food.

This ensures they will actually eat the oregano, and not let it fall to the bottom of the bin or on the ground.

Try to Only Feed Oregano to Chickens if it is Pesticide-Free

If you are buying live oregano plants from the produce section of the grocery or from a nursery, think twice before you feed them to your chickens: these plants have likely been treated with pesticides and fungicides, which aren’t safe for your chickens to consume.

Even when washed, these chemical residues will remain in the tissues of the plant and then accumulate in the bodies of your chickens, possibly causing serious harm over time.

If you can find organic and pesticide-free oregano plants, buy those. Otherwise, just grow it yourself!

Oregano is easy to grow indoors or out, and by doing that you’ll know exactly what your plant has, and more importantly, has not been exposed to.

Oregano Is Safe, But Only Safe By Itself: No People Food!

Just a reminder: don’t feed your chickens any people food that has oregano in it. Things like pasta sauces and pizzas, no matter how yummy they may be and how much better they taste with oregano, are not good for chickens to eat.

Salt, sugar, oil, and the like can all be toxic to chickens and should not be fed to them. Oregano is safe in itself, but the other ingredients or additives that accompany it in our foods can cause serious health problems in chickens.

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