As backyard chicken keepers, our flock’s health is important to us. We want to raise happy healthy chooks who enjoy chatting and interacting with us. Healthy chickens need good nutrition and a strong immune system to fight disease. Ideally, the best way to do this is by feeding your feathered friends the proper feed for their stage of development and then adding in nutritionally rich supplements or fresh produce from your garden which contains essential vitamins and minerals. The best way to ward off disease in chickens is by preventing it in the first place, but if sneaky microscopic germs do penetrate your preventive barrier and cause your chooks to feel under the weather, help is just a few steps away in your kitchen pantry. Avoid the use of antibiotics on your chickens if you can. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to your chickens building up a resistance just as humans do.
So, let’s egg-splore some tips and natural alternatives for preventing and treating illness in chickens.
- Know what ingredients and percentage of nutrients are in your chickens’ feed, nutrients such as calcium and protein are both key advocates for chicken health and egg production.
- Feed your chooks organic chicken feed or make your own feed. Making your own chicken feed is not difficult, but it will require some research. Once you determine which ingredients are necessary and which you’d like to add, such as probiotics, consider purchasing the main ingredients, like grains, in bulk, and feel better about your chooks’ diet.
- Oregano is an all-natural and homegrown alternative to antibiotics! Simply add a dropper of oregano oil into your chooks’ water daily as a preventive, or offer them fresh or dried as a treat mixed with other greens and fresh veggies.
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) deserves a round of applause for its multi-purpose magic. Add approximately 15-30ml of ACV per 4 litres of drinking water and it will reduce slime in the water, ward off parasites, aid digestion and help to keep chooks cool in warm weather
- Oh the grand ol’ garlic clove…adding a clove of crushed garlic to your chickens’ food each day boosts their immunity and keeps pesky parasites at bay.
- Chickens have a very sensitive respiratory system and who wouldn’t with all that scratching and digging going on. Herbal remedies to the rescue - by serving up a bowl of chopped basil, thyme, dill and clover with a touch of cinnamon on top your chooks will be happily breathing in the fresh country air again soon
The health of your hens is not extremely difficult to maintain but it is an important part of raising and keeping chickens that will look and feel beautiful in your backyard. These few simple things can really make the difference when it comes to healthy flappy families.