Can Chickens Eat Lavender: Is it Safe and Nutritious?

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Lavender is one of the more versatile herbs with many helpful benefits. So I’m never surprised when a poultry owner asks me, can chickens eat lavender?

According to experts, chickens can eat lavender with one caveat. It should only be given to them in moderation due to lavender containing a toxin called linalool (1).

But this answer only covers if it’s a possibility.

So read on, and I’ll dive deeper into whether lavender fits your chicken’s diet.

Key Takeaways

  • Lavender is a practical, healthy supplement treat for chickens. But it must be given to them in moderation because it contains a toxic called linalool.
  • If appropriately served, lavender can offer several health benefits to chickens. Some include repelling insects, reducing stress, and increasing blood circulation.
  • Lavender and other herbs should comprise at most 10% of a chicken’s diet. So only provide a small amount once or twice per week.

Is It Healthy For Chickens To Eat Lavender?

Lavender is a healthy food choice for chicken when served in moderation. After all, it’s one most popular aromatic herbs that are safe to eat for many animals (2). 

lavender flower for guinea pigs but can guinea pigs eat lavender

The only downside is this herb’s toxin will harm them if the chickens overeat it. But if you keep the consumption to a moderate level, they can profit from its various health benefits.

Here’s a look at some of them:

#1 Natural Insect Repellent 

Most people need to be aware of lavender’s natural ability to repel insects (3). It’s a hidden benefit that can make a massive difference in keeping your chickens healthy.

For instance, I had an issue with insects getting into my chickens’ bedding. But this problem disappeared after I placed lavender underneath their new bedding.

I’ve also found it helpful to plant around the chicken coop. It’s just another way to keep those pests away as they hate the smell of lavender.

#2 Helps Relieve Stress

Chickens are sometimes kept in a confined area for a prolonged time, especially during winter. As you can imagine, it can make them stressed and anxious.

These two conditions can lead to health issues. But feeding them lavender is an easy way to avoid these problems.

reduce stress and anxiety

After all, lavender has properties that “reduce stress and anxiety” in humans and chickens (4). So I often serve it to them in those harsh winter months as a stress reliever. 

Based on my experiences, it seems to work like a charm. My chickens have been in a much better mood since incorporating lavender into their diet.

#3 Increases Circulation

One of the more underrated lavender-related benefits is its ability to increase blood circulation in chickens. It’s beneficial during the winter when they are usually less active.

I’ve also found lavender to be beneficial for sitting hens. For instance, the hens will usually sit on their eggs for long periods when laying eggs.

These hens need something to keep their blood moving. Otherwise, this inactivity will cause their blood circulation to slow down.

I use lavender as a catalyst to help get their blood circulating. It’s an easy way to prevent any side effects from sitting hens’ long periods of inactivity.

Is Lavender Safe For Chickens?

Generally, lavender is a safe aromatic herb for chickens to eat. But this herb has a slight risk as it contains a toxic compound called linalool.

fresh lavender flowers but Can Chickens Eat Lavender?

But linalool is found in small concentrations in lavender, so it rarely becomes a health issue. It’s not a massive deal unless you feed chickens lavender in large quantities.

Hence, moderation is paramount with this herb. So I recommend considering it a secondary treat for chickens rather than a dietary staple.

I’ll discuss more how much lavender is ideal later in this article.

Can Chickens Eat Lavender Flowers and Sprigs?

There’s no reason why chickens can’t eat flowers and sprigs of the lavender plant. But it must be a moderate amount due to them containing the toxin.

So feeding them large quantities could cause chickens to become sick, which isn’t what anyone wants. It’ll only make your lives much more complicated for no good reason.

You’ll also want to cut the lavender leaves/sprigs into small pieces before serving. It’ll keep the amount smaller while making them easier to digest and eat.

As for the flowers,  strip them off the plants and toss them to the chickens. It makes them a perfect option for someone like myself who isn’t fond of doing much preparation.

Curious about whether your chickens can eat leeks, or whether honey and sunflower seeds are safe for them? Our articles “Can Chickens Eat Leeks“, “Is Honey Good for Chickens“, and “Can Chickens Eat Sunflower Seeds” provide valuable insights and advice on feeding these foods to your feathered friends.

How To Feed Lavender To Chickens

There are several ways to feed lavender to chickens. So I decided to discuss a few options in detail.

hand touching the lavender flowers

From these discussions, what method best meshes with your preferences should be clear. Let’s not waste any more time and dive into our first option:

#1 Feeding Fresh Lavender

The most straightforward method would be serving fresh lavender to your chickens. It’s what I do with mine when using lavender to spice up their diets.

The actual process only consists of giving your lavender a solid washing and removing pets or insects. You can then toss a handful of lavender right into the chicken coop.

Using fresh lavender also can help boost nutrition more than these other methods. After all, fresh lavender has more nutrients than dried or cooked culinary herbs.

#2 Mixing Lavender With Their Feeds

Another excellent choice is mixing the lavender in their feeds. It’ll have no problem helping boost your chickens’ nutrition level significantly.

I also enjoy this method because it provides an effortless way to give lavender to pickier chickens. Yes, some chickens are picky at what they eat and won’t eat fresh lavender.

If you decide to mix in lavender, it’s vital to clean it thoroughly first to remove any pests. After that, you can use all parts of the lavender, including the sprigs and flowers.

You’ll then want to chop or dice them up finely and mix them with their feeds. Then place the mixture into their feeder, and the chickens will start pecking at it and eating it.

#3 Grow Lavender and Let The Chickens Eat from Your Garden

My last suggested method would be growing lavender and letting your chickens eat it straight from the garden. It’s probably the most convenient option.

For instance, it doesn’t require any preparation. All you need to do is let your chickens into your garden. They’ll do the rest and start eating the herb right away.

But there are a few things to do before trying this method. First, you’ll need to build a fence to prevent the chickens from getting into the garden.

The fence has to be low enough for them to stick their head into the garden and eat the lavender. But it also must be high enough that they can’t get into the garden.

I’ve found that the height of your chicken’s chest is a solid guideline. Once set up, you can start moving into the actual growing process.

Thankfully, this process will be relatively easy as lavender can be grown year-round. You can even grow them in the backyard garden during the summer months.

In the winter, lavender can be grown indoors. But you’ll want to grow them in a container and wait until the herbs are mature.

Once mature, bring the container to the chickens; they’ll have fresh herbs to eat.

How Much And How Often To Feed Lavender To Chickens

Chickens aren’t known for turning down any amount of food, especially lavender.  However, you will want to limit the amount of the herb to avoid overeating.

In fact, lavender should only make up 10% of their entire diet. The rest should come from quality commercial feeds.

Therefore, the lesson here is to use lavender in moderation. So once or twice per week is plenty of lavender for your chickens.

I’d also recommend giving them other herbs besides lavender. Feeding them other herbs like sage, basil, and thyme will provide nutrition that the lavender doesn’t have.

Other Herbs That Chickens Can Eat

Lavender isn’t the only popular herb chickens can eat. In fact, there are plenty of herbs that could help your feathered friends.

So let’s look at some of my favorites to see if any pique your interest. You may even like one more than lavender!

# 1 Mint

Mint is an exciting supplement treat for backyard chickens. Of course, it stands out primarily for its mint smell that humans use in drinks and cooking.

But for chickens, this fragrant herb is an excellent digestive aid. You can also expect it to be packed with helpful antioxidants to promote better health.

Lastly, I’ve often used the strong scent of fresh mint leaves to repel insects and other pests. It’s a versatile herb that could help your feathered friends in many ways.

#2 Sage

Most people are familiar with safe for its usage in cleanse areas. But this herb offers many other uses, rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

So if you feed chickens sage, it’ll help them build a robust immune system. Its use has played a massive role in keeping my chickens healthy over the years.

#3 Thyme

Thyme earns a place on this list with its high vitamin C and A contents. In doing so, feeding chickens thyme can help keep them from becoming sick.

It’ll help when your chickens are sick, as well. It has been shown to remarkably affect speeding recovery and returning them to good health quickly.


#1 Is Lavender oil safe for chickens?

Yes, lavender oil is safe for chickens. Experts even recommend using it to help chickens suffering from respiratory problems.

#2 What herbs can chickens not eat?

Some popular herbs chickens can’t eat include comfrey, henbane, foxglove, aloe vera, and bee balm. Unfortunately, none of these will provide anything beneficial or improve your chicken’s life.


So can chickens eat lavender? Yes, they’d benefit significantly from snacking on small amounts of this herb once or twice per week.

If used correctly as an extra treat, lavender can reduce stress and promote better overall health. It may be a helpful resource in keeping your chickens happy for years.

lavenders in the fields


1. Beier RC, Byrd JA, Kubena LF, Hume ME, McReynolds JL, Anderson RC, et al. Evaluation of linalool, a natural antimicrobial and insecticidal essential oil from basil: effects on poultry. Poultry Science [Internet]. 2014;93:267–72. Available from:

2. Available from:

3. Asadollahi A, Khoobdel M, Zahraei-Ramazani A, Azarmi S, Mosawi SH. Effectiveness of plant-based repellents against different Anopheles species: a systematic review. Malaria Journal. 2019;18.

4. The Effects of Lavender Aromatherapy on Reducing Stress and Anxiety During MRI Procedures. – Full Text View – [Internet]. 2013. Available from:

Alina Hartley
Alina Hartley

Alina Hartley is a small-town girl with a ginormous love of bearded dragons. It all started with Winchester, a baby bearded who was abandoned at the shelter by his former owners because of a birth defect that caused one front leg to be shorter than the other. Alina originally went to the shelter looking for a guinea pig, but one look at Winchester and it was love at first sight. From that day on, Alina has dedicated her life to learning everything she can about bearded dragons. She loves helping new beardie parents start their incredible journey with these magnificent reptiles.
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