Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How I use herbs - Rue, tansy and wormwood

I first got rue, tansy and wormwood for the chickens.  I read about them in Backyard Poultry Naturally: A Complete Guide to Raising Chickens & Ducks Naturally by Alanna Moore.  The only problem is that we use chicken tractors, so its not really practical to plant herbs near the chickens.  I tried cutting branches and throwing them into the chicken tractors, but the chickens ignored the herbs.  Then I noticed that the chickens were eating the herbs from my garden, but I had to fence them off so they didn't eat everything!  Eventually the herbs have grown through the fence, and the chickens can pick at what they need.  The herbs are natural worming agents for the chickens.  If you have a fixed chicken coop you can grow the herbs around the coop to deter insects.

eight acres: herbs- Rue, tansy and wormwood


 Rue (Ruta graveolens)
I bought rue as a seedling.  Rue is another wormer and insecticidal herb.  It is smaller than the other plants, and has dark green leaves and yellow flowers.  Rue has many reported medicinal properties, including relief of cramp, regulating menstrual cycle and relief of headaches and even to restore eyesight, however it is also reported to be toxic and should not be used when pregnant.

eight acres: herbs- Rue, tansy and wormwood
Rue

Tansy (Tanecetum vulgare)
I was given tansy as a division.  It does grow from seed, but its very easy to divide too.  It has lovely yellow flowers and grows into a small bush.  Allana says that this herb is used for worming, and to repel mice and insects.  Like Rue, Tansy has reported medicinal benefits, particularly for intestinal worms, but is also thought to be toxic and should be avoided in pregnancy.

eight acres: herbs- Rue, tansy and wormwood
Tansy

Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium)
I bought a small wormwood plant, and I have read that it grows well from cuttings.  It has grown very vigorously and taken over this part of the garden, I really planted the tansy and rue too close.  I think wormwood would make a good hedge.  The leaves are silver, and the flowers are also yellow.  It has a very strong scent.  Again, Allana suggests wormwood for worming and to repel insects.  Medicinally, wormwood is considered useful for digestion due to its extreme bitterness.  It is also used externally as a rub for inflammation, wounds, bites and rashes (I haven't tried this yet).

eight acres: herbs- Rue, tansy and wormwood
Wormwood

I use all of these herbs for their insect repellent properties.  I cut them back when they are overgrown, dry the leaves and put them in paper bags in cupboard and wardrobes to deter moths.  They can also be used as an organic pest spray in the garden and for the chickens.

Do you use rue, tansy and wormwood?  How do you grow them and how do you use them?



By the way, my chicken eBook is now available if you want to know more about backyard chickens and using chicken tractors.  More information over at the chicken tractor ebook blog.  Or you can get it directly from my shop on Etsy (.pdf format), or Amazon Kindle or just send me an email eight.acres.liz {at} gmail.com.




What's the eBook about?
Chickens in a confined coop can end up living in an unpleasant dust-bowl, but allowing chickens to free-range can result in chickens getting into gardens and expose them to predators.

 A movable cage or “chicken tractor” is the best of both options – the chickens are safe, have access to clean grass, fresh air and bugs. Feed costs are reduced, chickens are happier, and egg production increases. 

 But how do you build a chicken tractor? What aspects should be considered in designing and using a chicken tractor effectively? In this eBook I aim to explain how to make a chicken tractor work for you in your environment to meet your goals for keeping chickens. 

I also list what I have learnt over 10 years of keeping chickens in tractors of various designs and sizes, from hatching chicks, through to butchering roosters.


Reviews of the Design and Use a Chicken Tractor




4 comments:

  1. Oh, what a usefull post! It's very good advise for me, or better to say for my chikens. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love people stepping outside the parsley and basil comfort zone. Thumbs up!

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are ancient sayings about wormwood and gall. I wonder if its extreme bitterness is anything to do with that?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I use my wormwood prunings as mulch, and occasionally toss it into the chicken coop to ward off insects. :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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