How Do Herbs and Flowers Support Nesting?
Chicken keepers have known it for ages. Offering a variety of herbal ingredients helps keep the girls happy. But what about our little indoor feathered friends - does the same concept apply?
According to researchers, it does. Studies performed on wild birds, such as the European starling, have shown that some birds collect herbs and flowers to incorporate into their own nests. While the exact reason still has not been pinpointed, these birds have shown noticeable increases in incubation time vs. those without access to such materials.
Increased incubation time means more successful hatching and healthier hatchlings. What is the connection, though?
One theory is that calming materials, such as chamomile, relax the birds and reduce stress levels. Another thought is that herbs, such as peppermint, serve as pest repellents.
Its also theorized that the aroma of herbs and flowers brings the security of masking the birds‘ scents and helping them to hide their nests from predators.
So What Should I Offer My Birds?
There are several easy to find herbs and flowers that you can consider offering to your own nesting birds. Here are a few of the herbs researchers have witnessed birds using in the wild:
Red Clover Blossom
These can be added to the cage or nest or mixed in with your bird’s preferred nesting material. You can also offer them in a separate container and allow them to use the herbs as they see fit (don't be surprised if they eat some, my birds love to munch on chamomile). As always, I strongly recommend using organically grown herbs to prevent introducing potentially hazardous chemicals.
Whether you purchase your herbs dried or harvest them (safely) from the wild, your bird will appreciate having these natural elements at their disposal.