Winter nest box herbs

I'm a gardener....and a bit of a foodie. Fresh ingredients are important to me and of course a huge garden is an important part of our summers around here. In the winter I bring some pots of herbs in so I can have my favorites all winter long. I always have basil, parsley and chives growing on the window sill. This year I added lemon balm.

Pots of herbs growing in a window in winter

What I didn't realize about lemon balm is that I wasn't going to get enough from a small plant for teas, or really any other recipe. Since I wasn't using it I wasn't trimming it back. This caused the lemon balm to start dying off. 

That's when I remembered an article that came to my email last year from Grit Magazine. Nesting box herbs for in the chicken coop. You simply snip some pieces of whatever herb you want to use and toss them in the nesting box. 

Not only do the herbs help freshen up the nest boxes and the chicken coop, but they are edible and the chickens seem to love them!

Using herbs in the nest boxes

I had plenty of basil, parsley and of course the lemon balm so I gave it a try. I tossed a big handful in each nest box. The girls didn't seem to mind it, and the lemon balm is doing lots better now that it's had a trimming. 

nest box herbs

I think some of the hens are eating the basil though, it's disappearing at an alarming rate! There is a great list of non toxic herbs here in the original article: Grit Magazine, Nesting Box Herbs Make sure to check the list before adding just in case you're growing something the flock shouldn't have.

In the summer when my herb garden is producing really well I have lots of extra catnip, lemon balm, basil, lavender and chamomile to add to the nest boxes. Stay away from strong smelling herbs like wouldn't want your hens smelling oniony! 

I've also started using herbs in my chicken coop to keep the flies away and to keep the chicken coop from smelling. It's awesome how useful herbs are around the chicken coop. Especially in the summer when they're growing wild in my garden. Now I never have an excuse not to trim them!

Related reading: What the perfect nest box needs.


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I am not a veterinarian or other animal care professional nor do I claim to be. I am simply passing on information that has worked for me and my flock. This information is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please see a vet if your chicken is ill. Click for my full disclaimer


  1. I love the idea of adding home grow herbs to nest boxes. I even think harvesting and drying extra in the summer just for that purpose would be a great idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Great idea! When I was trying to get my chickens to lay in their new nesting boxes, I put some deadheaded marigolds and other herbs in the boxes to entice them to get in and dig around a bit. They did scratch around in the boxes a bit, but took them a while to start laying in there. Old habits die hard for chickens haha.

    1. Good idea....I'll try the marigolds in summer!


  3. Indoor gardening provides a way to grow useful herbs in our homes. These herbs may helpful to make our foods more tasty and healthy. Also indoor garden is an attractive and calming addition to any interior and helpful to make our home beautiful that can attract your visitors.