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Chickens are an investment that take time, money and energy! The last thing I want is to lose a chicken to illness, and the best way to avoid that is to build their immunity. I’ve got 3 Easy Ways to Keep Your Chickens to share with you!
You Can’t Control Everything
There are so many unavoidable circumstances that can arise on your farm.
For example, a couple of weeks ago, a huge flock of grackles decided to invade one of the animals barns. Gross! They made a total mess and wouldn’t leave for days. I don’t know where those birds are from or what they’re carrying in terms of disease! However, being pro-active and giving my girls what they need to improve their own immunity so they can fight off germs and pathogens protects my investment.
I pretty much keep a closed flock these days, but there are times when you’ll want to purchase a chicken from someone. I always isolate that/those birds and treat with oregano in their water for a week or so before I allow them to mingle with my other girls.
There are three things I do to keep my “girls” healthy….
1. Apple cider vinegar in their water
Apple cider vinegar does so many amazing things for humans, and it’s good for your chickens as well! It’s full of vitamins and minerals, and it can serve as a mild antibiotic as well. It reduces the pH balance in the stomach, allowing for better digestion. ACV can detoxify the blood and can remove mucus from the body, which is so beneficial to poultry since they can be prone to respiratory infections. Keep in mind when you’re buying ACV, be sure to get the “un-pasturized” brands, with the “mother” (the gunk at the bottom). Also, remember to only add ACV to plastic waterers! The acid will destroy a metal waterer…..yeah, I learned the hard way. I’ve read so many different ratios of ACV:water, but to be honest, I just pour it out of the jar, about a cup for 5-gallons of water. I recommend that you start with much less, like 1/4 cup per 5 gallons, and see how your birds do.
2. Free choice minced garlic
The benefits of garlic are so numerous, I could write for paragraphs! While the Egyptians first discovered ways to use garlic medicinally, many poultry keepers use it today to prevent infection and respiratory infections. Garlic can improve your birds’ appetite and just might improve the quality and size of their eggs! I simply put a cup or so of minced garlic in a container and offer it near their water, and it’s always gone by the end of the day!
3. Oregano essential oil
I love essential oils and I use them frequently! Oregano is anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and once again, is recommended to prevent infection, fight salmonella, avian flu and even e-coli. The dried or fresh version of the herb works well mixed into feed. I put about 3-4 drops of oregano oil per 5 gallons of water, but try less to start if your girls have never had it before.
I alternate these preventative measures either quarterly, or when there is a situation that warrants it. There’s nothing better than a healthy flock of chickens, especially when all of these supplements are so reasonably priced! Your “girls” will love you for it!