Thursday, December 26, 2013

Easy Natural Chicken Cold Medicine

I'm not sure if its the wacky weather or what, but it seems like everyone I know has been having sinus trouble.

Chickens included!

Chickens are prone to a number of respiratory ailments, but, like people, the most common is a "cold". There are different causes for "colds",  and they range in severity from a sniffle to swelling the bird's eyes shut and even causing blindness and death. We lost a few really nice birds several winters ago due to a bad cold and us having a hard time keeping the ice off the water bowls. So when I saw them starting to sneeze and sniffle a couple weeks ago, I knew we needed to do something!

Sometimes antibiotics will help, but I really prefer to not use antibiotics if I can help it, just because I don't want to make the "bugs" more drug resistant and I don't like having to be concerned about messing up their digestion by killing off the good AND the bad. Plus, very few antibiotics are labeled for chickens, so you have to, A. try and figure out which one will actually help the problem your birds have, and B. figure out the dosage for a quart of water when it's packaged in a bag that makes 100 gallons. 

So, I decided to try the natural route first. I'd had a little success in getting rid of my own cold with garlic and cider vinegar, so that had to be in the mix. I didn't have any Oil of Oregano which a lot of health nut people swear by, but I assumed the oregano plant we had outside must have some curative properties. So I gathered all my stuff and embarked on an experiment!

Fresh Oregano, Garlic, Vinegar, Red Pepper Flakes
A lot of poultry old-timers swear by Red Pepper as a sort of cure-all for chickens. Its supposed to help with colds, get hens to lay, and "pep up" roosters. They do definitely enjoy it and it does seem to make them feel good. Plus if you get it at a bulk food store it's really cheap. (And good on pizza. But thats another story!)

So I put the handful of oregano that I hacked off the plant, a couple tablespoons of garlic, about 1 1/2 cups of vinegar and about a tablespoon of the pepper all in the blender and pulverized it.

Looks kinda gross
I pulled a soda bottle out of the recycling bin and rinsed it out and used a funnel to pour the concoction into it. 

It smells a little like salad dressing!

So then I filled the bottle up the rest of the way with plain water. Shook it up and put it in the fridge.

Finished "chicken tea"
Since most of our chickens are in smaller breeder pens, we use 1 quart bowls for their water. When we give the tea we pour in a little splash, just enough to tinge the water. The birds seem to enjoy it somehow!

They are still sneezing some, but we haven't been very consistent about giving it to them every day. They aren't ruffled like some were when I first noticed the problem, and they seem to be feeling pretty good! Originally a couple hens had some obviously swollen sinuses and they don't have that problem now!

I would definitely try this if your birds have a cold. It took about 5 minutes to make. Heck, it would probably work for people as well, but it doesn't taste good at all.

(Yeah, I tried it.)

What home remedies do you use for your birds? 

1 comment:

  1. Great, creative idea! ...and since the chickens are better, effective, too! YAY
    But, I don't think I would ever want to say I had a cold at your house...your remedies sound worse than your mom's! (lol) Although, if you promoted the chicken cure as a salad dressing...