Can Chickens Eat Fennel? Yes! And Many Other Herbs Besides

When it comes to feeding chickens, there’s a lot of debate about what kind of foods are safe for poultry.

whole fennel before being chopped for chicken feed
Fennel before it has been chopped up for chicken feed.

From apples and grapes to gluten-free options like quinoa, if you do an online search for the question “can chickens eat __,” chances are you’ll find a forum full of knowledgeable people debating the topic.

But one food that many chicken owners may not have considered is fennel. Is this fragrant vegetable actually okay to give your feathered friends?

Let’s take a look at whether or not chickens can safely enjoy some fennel.


Is Fennel Good for Chickens?

Who would have thought chickens would love the taste of fennel? Surprisingly, even though chickens have very few taste buds, they seem to absolutely adore the flavor of this unique herb and many chickens have been observed pecking away at it in the coop.

Fennel has many health benefits for chickens, from improved reproductive health to reduced stress levels. It has a distinct anise-like taste, which surprisingly, chickens have no problem with! Just like humans, chickens also get health benefits from fennel.

You’d think fennel would be reserved for the more educated palates… who knew chickens could be such foodies?

Did you know that ancient Romans loved fennel too? They used it for flavouring, for health, and to keep insects at bay.

How Should You Feed Fennel to Your Chickens?

If you have some fresh fennel bulbs and stalks, it is easy to share the goodness with your chickens…

Chop them up into small pieces so they can enjoy every bite of this healthy herb. Even if they can’t taste it much, they are not fussy and fennel may also help repel any pesky insects in the backyard – an added bonus for chicken owners.

Fennel is a wholesome herb that will contribute to chicken health and so help with egg production too.

Fennel seeds are edible as well, and offer beneficial health properties when included in their diet—so don’t forget about that option as well!

What Other Herbs Do Chickens Like?

Chickens sure do have some interesting taste in herbs.

Some chickens love hearty and spicy herbs like oregano, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and sage – the “poultry seasoning” of their dreams, so to speak… lol!

Others go for more savory favorites

  • parsley –
  • tarragon
  • dill
  • cilantro

And then there are chickens that treat themselves to the sweeter side of herbs:

  • chamomile
  • lavender
  • hibiscus flowers

Truth be told, no matter what type of herb it is, chickens seem to appreciate them all!

Of course, some of these plants would be a treat even to humans. Some of them are kind of expensive too! I can’t imagine most chicken keepers going to the grocery store specifically to buy lavender for the flock. However, it is good to know that there is no problem in feeding your chooks various herbs if the occasion arises. And keep in mind that most of these herbs have a positive health effect, as well.

Closing Thoughts

Fennel is a great herb for chickens and can be fed to them in many different ways. If you are worried, check with your local chicken expert before feeding fennel to your flock, as some believe that too much fennel can make chickens sick.

As with any new food, start slowly and increase the amount of fennel you give your chickens gradually. If you’re looking for other herbs that chickens like, try the ones mentioned above.