Marigolds and Chicken Scratch

Put some dried marigold petals in your chicken scratch and their egg yolks will be a brilliant gold.

| December 2002/January 2003

If you grow marigolds and also have a chicken flock, harvest and dry the marigold flower heads and mix the petals with the hens' scratch. The yellow of their egg yolks will be an even more intense golden color thanks to the natural orange pigments in the marigolds. Some chickens even consider the petals a treat.

This tip is taken from a National Geographic special issue on color, which mentioned that some European countries regularly add marigold petals to their chickens' feed.

Walton, Oregon

While this tip will give you brighter-colored egg yolks, the marigolds won't make up for the natural diet of weeds and insects that give eggs from free-range chickens more color and more nutrients. Free-range eggs have more vitamin E, beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids than eggs from birds confined to houses. 


7/1/2013 8:23:53 AM

Marigolds plants are natural insect deterrents, as well as an antibacterial and antiseptic. Therefore, they are not only beneficial for color but they also help with mites. When the chicken ingests the marigold  the properties of the marigold is emitted from the skin and viola! a mite deterrent. The flower head can also be boiled down to a tea and used as a wash in the coop for cleaning to deter mites and other insects. If used as a salve it can close up all nooks as crannies of the wood in the coop decreasing the hiding places of mites, and rubbed on perches for their feet. Many mashs and natural bug sprays include marigolds in their ingredients.

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