Fall is hops harvest time at CLUCK. Our hops plants in the coop garden at CLUCK had a bumper year. We don’t know if it was the weather or the chickens, but they grew big and strong and produced tons of cones. Our friend Sarah helped snip down some of the fragrant cones today.
Nope, we don’t make beer yet. We primarily grow hops to give the chickens shade. But we’ll dry the cones and mix them in with other dried culinary herbs that are beneficial to chickens. During the depths of winter (and maybe even before) we figure the herb mixtures will be a welcome treat for keeping nest boxes smelling like summer, and will deter some of the creepy-crawlies that can find their way into the winter coop.
In addition, things like dandelions, nettles, lemon balm, parsley, mint, oregano and basil add a terrific nutritional boost to chicken feed when our birds can’t be out foraging in the yard. And, of course, the lupulin (the yellow powder in the cones) from the hops is also good for chicken digestion.