Raising chickens can be pretty easy, until a disease or illness pops up. When faced with illness, chickens tend to slip very quickly, sometimes within a few hours of noted behavior. But with a few easy steps you can create a natural system to keep your chickens’ immune system strong and healthy.
Garlic & Apple Cider Vinegar
As for people, garlic is a natural immune booster & antibiotic for chickens as well. It helps repel mites, fleas & lice; and acts as an intestinal wormer. Apple cider vinegar not only helps keep water clean by preventing growth of algae and bacteria, it also aids in digestion, calcium absorption and promotes respiratory health. Add a crushed clove and a splash of ACV to your chickens’ water a few times a week.
Dia…what? Diatomaceous Earth is a soft, crumbly, porous sedimentary deposit formed from the fossil remains of diatoms. Its rough texture literally acts like glass and cuts the skin of insects, causing them to lose moisture and die. Although you must exercise caution when breathing this dust in, it is my go to mite preventer. When I add new litter to the coop I sprinkle D.E. all over, including in the nest boxes. Make sure to do this when the chickens are out and about, the dust could irritate their respiratory system just like yours. It can be added to feed to control intestinal parasites, but check the label on your feed- it is probably already added.
Crushed Egg Shells
A great way to add calcium to your hen’s diet is to feed them the dried egg shells you have leftover. Although they are great for fertilizing roses, they also make a good dietary supplement to your hens. Allow to dry and crush them up, offer free choice in a small bowl or container. They can also be added in with oyster shells, if you use them as a calcium supplement already.
Herbs are truly a gift from heaven. Not only do they add flavor and nutrients to our food, they also have medicinal qualities for us and our chooks as well! Do you have expired, or just plain OLD herbs sitting on the shelf? Toss them in the nest boxes, scatter around the coop, and/or add to chickens’ feed and water. Listed below are a few of my personal favorites, but there are many more found here: http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2014/03/the-basics-of-natural-chicken-keeping.html
Basil: Antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory. Aids in circulatory & respiratory health. Relives stress, source of protein, Vitamin K, & iron.
Bee Balm: Antiseptic, antibacterial, calming, supports respiratory health
Calendula/Marigold: Heals wounds, repels insects
Cayenne Pepper: aids circulation, antiseptic, digestive enhancement, natural wormer, increases egg production
Chamomile: Kills mites & lice, reels fleas, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic calming detoxifier.
Cilantro: antioxidant, fungicide, builds strong bones, high in Vitamin A & K
Dandelion: health tonic, diuretic, high in calcium, aids in digestion
Dill: promotes feather growth, antioxidant, antibacterial, relaxant
Lavender: antibacterial, calming, increases blood circulation
Lemon Balm: relaxant, antibacterial, insect repellent, increases blood circulation, laying stimulant
Lemon Verbena: aromatic, fly repellent, antiviral properties
Marjoram: laying stimulant, detoxifier, decongestant, anti-inflammatory
Mint: insect & rodent repellent, antioxidant, aids in respiratory & digestive health, feather growth, increased egg production.
Nasturtium: laying stimulant, antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal, insecticide, wormer.
Oregano: antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, combats coccidian, salmonella, infections bronchitis, avian flu blackhead & e-coli. Strengthens immune system & aids in respiratory health & digestion.
Parsley: High in Vitamins A, B, C, calcium & iron. Laying stimulant, aids in digestion. Antioxidant & anti-inflammatory.
Rosemary: Relaxant, pain reliever, aids in respiratory health. insect repellent heals wounds, aids blood circulation
Sage: antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, immune system booster, thought to combat Salmonella
I hope you found some of these tips helpful, they certainly help me maintain the healthiest flock, naturally.