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Join Nicole and Kerrie from City Girl Farming as they talk about ways to incorporate essential oils into our homestead, farm and garden.
What You’ll Learn
- The joys of incorporating chickens on the farm
- Reducing toxins in your life
- Using essential oils around the homestead
- How can essential oils be used with chickens
- How to use essential oils in the garden
- What are the top essential oils for the farm?
- Using essential oils with cats
Our guest today is Kerrie, the amazing woman behind City Girl Farming- a blog and resource for all things chickens.
She is motivated to help others live out their passion and enjoys helping others. She also likes to teach readers how to turn passions into profits.
Kerrie is also a talented watercolor artist and offers farm themed art in her Etsy shop.
Passionate about clean food and non-toxic, healthy solutions, Kerrie is also a proponent of quality essential oils and teaching others to incorporate them into their home and farm.
Resources & Links Mentioned
- City Girl Farming Instagram
- City Girl Farming Facebook
- City Girl Farming Website
- Etsy Shop
- Buy essential oils from Kerrie
- Email us! Ask@HeritageAcresMarket.com
*Denotes affiliate links
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Announcer: Welcome to the Backyard Bounty Podcast from HeritageAcresMarket.com where we talk about all things backyard poultry, beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living and more. And now, here's your host, Nicole.
Nicole: Good morning everybody. Thank you for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. Today I'm with Kerrie with City Girl Farming and she's here to talk to us about using essential oils throughout the homestead and some different tips and advice for that. So Kerrie, thank you so much for joining me today.
Kerrie: Thanks for having me.
Nicole: Of course. So I found you a long time ago when I first started getting into chickens and then eventually we started to kind of work together. You have an awesome blog with a ton of information. Can you tell the listeners a little bit more about you and your blog and your Etsy store and all the neat stuff that you have going on?
Kerrie: So, I grew up in Montana on a little farm, sort of farmish thing. And I didn't think I was really into it until I moved to the city and realized that food in the grocery store didn't quite taste the same. So, eventually, I got cancer and all kind of trailed back to I wanted to eat healthier and be in more control of my food source. And so I started gardening in the city and then I got this great idea that I should have a chicken blog but I didn't own chicken yet. So I just learned about chickens because I knew about chickens because I lived with them as a kid, but you don't really know the same stuff as an adult, right? So I started doing research and learning about chickens, but I didn't have any chickens of my own when I started my blog.
Kerrie: And then I finally decided I needed my own chickens. So, that was about 10 years ago that I got my first flock and now, I actually do live on a little farm. So, I have expanded that, my garden spaces and orchard and chickens and just, I love it. It's just become a way of life.
Kerrie: The chickens really became a sort of a gateway animal to a whole different way of life and appreciation of food. And it's just been really pretty amazing.
Nicole: That's awesome. I've always called chickens the gateway drug.
Kerrie: They are, they are.
Nicole: You start with chickens and then the next thing you know, you've got goats and bees and, oh gosh. It just expands out of control from there.
Kerrie: I was just going to say, I think because it's so up close and personal and chickens are personal, have their own personalities and you raise them from a one day old baby to nurturing them and taking care of them for months before they even lay an egg. And then all of a sudden, an egg is not just an egg anymore. It's not just something you can run down to the store and get really quick. It becomes something that's precious. It teaches us the preciousness, I think, of food that we have lost the ability to understand.
Nicole: Right, yeah. I think people think that the world is just like a big vending machine. You put in your money, out goes food in the end.
Kerrie: Right, right.
Nicole: But there's a lot that goes on in the back that, like you said, is lost in today's culture. And so I know that your big thing has been living healthier and trying to reduce toxins in your life and everything. So you have your chickens and your gardening. That's where I found you, like I said, with your website. That has been a great resource and I know that I've been able to find a lot of answers to my questions on there.
Kerrie: Yeah. When I first started my chicken blog, like 10 years ago or something, there weren't very many resources out there. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to start the blog, but now there's a ton of people out there doing it. But I was one of the first.
Kerrie: It was right at the very tip of chickens becoming, it looks like a fad or a trend, but I really feel like it's just the desire of people to return back to something more natural and healthy. And being able to take control of their own food sources a little bit better than we used to be able to or go back to how it was before.
Nicole: Right. Yeah, it seems like with the advancement in technology and the more that we're around stuff like that, there's still just that little desire in everybody to find their foundation and go back to their roots.
Kerrie: Right, right.
Nicole: So part of the whole sustainability and natural living is your incorporation of essential oils on the homestead. And I know that most people just think they smell good or maybe you can clean some stuff with it, but that's about it. But you have really found out some creative ways to use around the homestead and even with your animals, right?
Kerrie: Yes, it started with, I started using essential oils just because I wanted to be more healthy and kind of my post-cancer like I want to just clean up my life a lot. And I realized really quickly that essential oils are good for everything, they really are.
Kerrie: And so my first experiment with the chickens was when I had Charlotte, one of my chickens, was really, really ill and I was positive that I would lose her that day because there was nothing I could do for her and she just was really sick. And so I started researching some essential oils for chickens and there's not a lot of information out there, but I started doing the research that I could find to see if some of the oils that I had would work for her.
Kerrie: And I ended up putting some of them in a diffuser and I had her isolated and I ran the diffuser for a couple of hours and she had an immediate reaction to that. She was just like 100% turnaround and I didn't really trust that because it's like, "How can that happen so quickly?"
Kerrie: So I ran the diffuser again. I kept her isolated overnight and ran the diffuser again in the morning. So she got like three doses and she was completely fine. With Charlotte, it was 100% turnaround. She did great after that. She lived for years.
Kerrie: So, that was my first indication that essential oils could work really well with chickens and not just for me. And that kind of started me down a path where like a friend had a sick chicken. They had some eye disease and they took it to the vet and they were like, "There's nothing that can be done." And so we used essential oils on her. It just kind of spiraled from there. And I realized that, as amazing as essential oils are for humans, also you can use them for your animals.
Kerrie: You need to be really careful when you're using them with chickens and super highly dilute them. Be careful that you're not giving them ones that are going to kill them because they're super sensitive. So it can do amazing things, but you also need to use some precautions when using essential oils with chickens or any living creature or otherwise.
Nicole: So with your chickens, what sort of ailments have you been able to fix with essential oils?
Kerrie: A lot of respiratory things. You know when the chickens get that Darth Vadery kind of sounds? I like to use a diffuser because it's nice, I think, to not actually put the oils topically onto the chicken. Although I do use some topically. And for wounds, if they have, like not too long ago, one of my chickens had a big abscess on her comb and I put a little salve that I made with essential oils on it and the next day it was almost completely healed. It was like crazy amazing. It's stuff that I wouldn't even believe if somebody was telling me, but it's been so dramatic to watch. Also like chicken lice or cleaning the chicken coop or fly control or being used up in the nest boxes. There's just a million things you can do with essential oils with your flock.
Nicole: And you have an ebook that's going to be coming out that covers most of this information?
Kerrie: Yes. Yes. I think if you're going to use them with your chickens, one of the things I say most is do your research and also highly dilute them, highly dilute the essential oils. Like the salve that I make, I use two drops each of helichrysum, lavender and frankincense and I put that in a quarter cup of fractionated coconut oil.
Nicole: Oh, wow.
Kerrie: So it's really good. And it's almost so diluted, when I first started doing that I thought it's so diluted, you can still sort of smell it, but it's not like heavily scented and is it even going to do anything? But it still does amazing things. And you can treat Bumblefoot with it, you can just, lice and mites and all sorts of things. So it's great.
Nicole: So if you had to, say pick five oils that you would recommend keeping around for your chickens, what would be your top five ones that you would recommend?
Kerrie: Well the top two that I use quite a bit are oil blends specific to the oil company that I'm associated with. I use those two ones a lot. They're called Breathe and On Guard, but I also use lavender. Lavender is also a calming one. Lavender and helichrysum and frankincense, like I just mentioned for the wound salve. There's all sorts of oils that you can use for fly control and stuff like that. Lavender's a good one, cedar wood, different stuff like that. So it's hard to say five.
Nicole: Sure. And I know that you offer the doTERRA oils and we'll put a link to that in the description so that if anybody would like to get the oils for the chickens, then they can get them from you. And then when we have a link for your ebook, we'll put that there, too, so that people can find that information.
Nicole: And in what other ways do you use essential oils around with your garden or other animals?
Kerrie: Well, I don't have goats, but I had a friend who had a goat that got wounded and we've used essential oils with her goats. And also another friend who used the oils for goats. The goat had this kind of eczema or something on his skin, and she cleared it up with oregano oil. She'd get one of those big, you know those big, I don't know what they're called, but those sprayers that you use that people spray chemicals onto their grass?
Nicole: Like the pump weed sprayer?
Kerrie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, that. And so she would fill it up with water with a little bit of oregano oil and she'd spray it on her goat and it totally cleared up her eczema.
Kerrie: And goats are a lot similar to humans as far as using the oils. They can be used on dogs, too. A lot of the oils and how we use them for people, generally, can transfer to goats and dogs that way. So there's those sorts of things.
Kerrie: I use them in the garden. I just sprayed some in the garden this week to deter the deer from eating my beans. And you can use all sorts of oils for pest control. Peppermint is a really good one, generally, for lots of different kinds of pests. You can use tea tree oil for when your zucchini gets that moldy...
Nicole: Oh, the powdery white mildew?
Kerrie: Yes. Put a couple of drops in a water bottle with water and shake it and spray it on the leaves, it'll clear that up.
Nicole: Oh, really.
Kerrie: You can also use essential oils similar to companion planting. So if you've got tomatoes, you know the concept of companion planting where tomatoes and basil go good together because they each are beneficial to each other, give each other the nutrients or whatever that they might need. Also maybe repel bugs or different things that hurt the other thing. So the whole concept of companion planting.
Kerrie: If you don't have those companion plants, for instance, like tomatoes and basil, you can take a couple of drops of basil water and mix it into a watering can with your water and water your tomatoes with it once a week or so and that'll give you the same sorts of benefits as if you would have planted basil with it.
Kerrie: I have a bunch, on my website, a bunch of different companion oils to go with different plants if you're interested in that sort of thing. But all sorts of different stuff like that.
Nicole: How neat. I never would have thought to use my oils in the garden. I use them constantly in my house, but I just, for whatever reason, never expanded my mind enough, I guess, to think that they would have uses in the garden. That's really cool.
Kerrie: Yeah, they're really great with pests. I especially like them with pests. So yeah, there's all sorts of things. Now, one of the things I love about essential oils is that it's a teeny tiny little bottle that replaces dozens of different things. It's not just for health but tile cleaner in the bathroom or clean your vegetables with it. Keep pests away and keep your chickens alive and clean out the coop. It's just everything you can think of, there's probably an oil for it.
Nicole: Yeah, I would never try to use 409 to clean my kitchen and to spray on my vegetables and to clean my chicken coop and do all of that. But you can do all that and more with oils. They're really incredible.
Kerrie: Yeah, they are.
Nicole: And do you have any other ways that you like to use them other than just for yourself?
Kerrie: I use essential oils pretty much daily and I do a lot of cleaning with it, a lot of immunity support and stuff like that for myself and for the chickens and other animals. My sister had a horse once that had something called Sweeney shoulder where there was super bad muscle atrophy on his shoulder and he wasn't able to walk. He'd have to throw his head to make his leg lift up to move forward. And she took him to two different vets and one vet said, "You're going to have to put him down." And the other vet said, "You can work with him really extensively for a year and you might see a little bit of improvement, but it's not really great odds."
Kerrie: So we looked up some oils and she decided to trust them on her horse. She used helichrysum and peppermints and maybe one other one, I don't remember. She started rubbing it just on that area where the muscles had atrophied so badly. She said you could actually feel bone. There was just his skin and bone and nothing else. About six weeks later, she called me and she's like, "Kerrie, Magic is out loping in the field." So, he had a complete recovery.
Kerrie: There's a lot of different things you can use the oils for, for all of your animals, for most animals at least. It's great like lavender with anxiety and stuff like that, for dogs. There's oils for when they have those hotspots and they're chewing on things. There's a lot of different things you can do with essential oils.
Nicole: And I know that cats are one that are pretty delicate and you have to be really careful with using oils on them. Do you have any experience with that?
Kerrie: I have a cat. So, yes, I think that there's a couple of things with cats. They are very sensitive, so I try not to put, I don't ever put oil directly on my cat, but I do diffuse the oils. There's a few that you should really stay away from with cats that are really bad for them, like tea tree oil's one of them. The citrus oils, they're not very good with. But I think if you, even if you diffuse oils in your house, as long as there's a place that the cat can escape to, so that he can get away if they're bothering him.
Kerrie: And I think too, another thing about the essential oils is that there's so many really, really bad oils out on the market right now that are filled up with chemicals and all sorts of things, that are even worse for cats. So, I would always suggest if you're using essential oils on your animals or yourself or around your animals or yourself, that you should always be using really high quality oils so you can not have to deal with all the extra toxins that are in the oils.
Kerrie: One of the things I do with my cat, though, is I put a few drops of lavender oil because my cat has some allergies to Doug fir and I live in Doug fir country. So, I use a little bit of lavender oil in baking soda and I mix it in with that and I sprinkle it in his litter box. Lavender is an antihistamine, so it helps with that. But it also is great for the litter box because then it smells better and he gets very little of it, but it might get on his paws or whatever and he'll lick it off.
Kerrie: But it's already highly diluted because it's not just poured straight in. I've put it in with maybe five drops in a cup of baking soda and then I just sprinkle a little bit of that in there. So there's ways that you can use essential oils with cats as long as you're super careful and you're not overdoing it, things that are a little bit safer or a lot safer. I wouldn't do anything to hurt my cat.
Nicole: Sure. No, that's a really good idea. I like that tip.
Kerrie: But it is controversial. But I've talked to four vets about it and three of them are totally pro-essential oils with cats as long as you're really smart about it. And one was against it. So I think as they're doing more research on using oils that are really pure, they're realizing that it's not so much that essential oils are bad for cats. They just metabolize the oils differently. And if you're using a good oil and you're using caution and you're highly diluting them, then they can actually be beneficial.
Nicole: Yeah, I know you can get essential oils just about anywhere, Walmart and the gas station and just about anywhere.
Kerrie: Right, right.
Nicole: But those ones, they are certainly not pure. And like you said, they're full of chemicals. So maybe that's one of the reasons that they've kind of gotten a bad rap as far as being used on cats. Somebody used poor quality ones and then cats got sick, but it's not because of the whatever actual essential oil, it was all the other junk that was in the bottle that shouldn't be in there anyways.
Kerrie: Right, right. I've seen essential oils at the dollar store, even.
Nicole: Oh, my goodness.
Kerrie: I think if you think about it in terms of if you're using a pure grade essential oil and it takes two tons of peppermint leaves to make a quart of peppermint oil, you're not going to really be getting something that's like that in the dollar store because they couldn't afford to sell it to you for that.
Kerrie: So, think about that, too, when you're looking at essential oils because they're not all created equal. And most of them, I've heard that like 80 or 90% of the essential oils on the market are adulterated. You need to be really careful with the kinds of oils that you get.
Nicole: Yeah, I know that it can be kind of difficult sometimes to pay, I know some of the oils are as much as I think like the yarrow is almost $90 something dollars for like 15 milliliters, but at least it's pure. And not all of them are that expensive. Some of them are only $10 for the same size bottle. It just depends on the oil. But I mean it's pure stuff and anything cheaper is not going to be pure.
Kerrie: Yeah. There's a whole industry out there right now that there are professional perfumist who are, they hire them to create the scent of a specific oil and they've been testing them and they have 0% actual essential oil in them. They smell like an essential oil, but it's all just chemical perfumist people that are creating these concoctions and that's what they're selling in a lot of stores. But there are good oils out there and just be wise with what you're buying and do your research because most of them are not good, but there are some good companies out there.
Nicole: Yeah. So I know in addition to your blog, you have your Etsy store where you have a lot of your artwork and I just love your watercolor paintings. They're so adorable.
Kerrie: Yeah. I've been an artist, well most of my life, I guess. And since I got chickens, I've done a lot. My whole art life has just kind of focused over on my farm life, I guess. So, it's very much a reflection of my chickens and homesteading and those kinds of things mixed with my own humor.
Nicole: Yeah. When we did the gift swap part of that group that we were in, the Facebook group, and I just love my little broody Guinea painting. I have that up on my desk right now actually. It's so adorable and it has so much personality to it.
Kerrie: Yeah, it's definitely, my creative outlet is definitely focused on the chickens and my own little brand of humor. But I like to bring the things that I love, like the chickens and farming and all that kind of stuff, but also be able to put a smile on someone's face because I've kind of spun it a little bit different than normal.
Kerrie: So yes, I do, I definitely have an Etsy store and I'm adding stuff all the time. Yeah, it's fun. All that stuff flows together for me. It's like my life and my outlook on life, what I spend my days doing and my arts and the oils, they all just flow together and create just this perfect life. I love my life, actually.
Nicole: Well, that's great. So, we already talked about your amazing blog and your amazing Etsy store, but where else could people find you?
Kerrie: I'm on Facebook at City Girl Farming and also on Instagram at City Girl Farming and my Etsy store is Kerrie Hubbard Studio, throw in a little kink there.
Nicole: And we'll put links to all of those like usual so that people can find you easily as well. Well, Kerrie, thank you so much for joining me today. I really enjoyed talking to you and I'm super excited for the ebook because I need to use oils with my chickens and all my other critters.
Kerrie: I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by how amazing the oils are when you start using them with your flock.
Nicole: Definitely. Well, thank you again, Kerrie. I appreciate it and thank you for sharing your time with us and I really enjoyed talking to you.
Kerrie: Yeah, thanks for having me.
Nicole: And as always, thank you for listening to Backyard Bounty and we'll see you again next week.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to Backyard Bounty, a podcast by HeritageAcresMarket.com. Don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show, please email us at ask @heritageacresmarket.com. Also find us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube at Heritage Acres Market. All the links mentioned in this podcast will be included in the description. See you again next week.
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