This post was most recently updated on March 1st, 2020
Inevitably when an animal get sick on the farm, it is the weekend, or a public holiday. There are some effective home remedies that you can use on your chickens to tie you over until you can get medical assistance for them.
Please read: This information is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions in partnership with a qualified health care professional.
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Natural home remedies may give your chickens some relief and give you some time to source some more effective medication and advice.
There are also some proven natural antibiotics for chickens, that for minor infections can work a treat.
Note: I am not a vet! Please discuss any treatment with your vet first
You must be cautious when you are choosing to use home remedies for chickens (or any animal). Do not substitute for similar items and please talk to a vet as soon as possible about treating your bird.
Natural Antibiotics for Chickens
Oregano is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics ever studied and has been found to be superior to many of the currently used antibiotics. Oregano oil is more potent than the fresh or dried herb, but in any form, it’s hard to deny the antibiotic power of oregano.
Oregano oil has been classically used as a disinfectant, an aid for ear, nose, & throat/respiratory infections, candida, and any sort of bacterial or viral conditions in both humans and animals alike. Additionally, it works to suppress inflammatory mediators and cancer cell production (2).
You can add a few drops of the oil several times per day to a sick chicken feed.
Prevention is much better than cure, so you can offer the fresh herbs to them as a preventative measure on an ongoing basis.
Cinnamon is another spice that has been shown to have great antibiotic properties. You can add some of this to their feed a few times per week to help prevent infections.
Chicken Natural Home Remedies for your Sick Chicken
1) Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar
The acetic acid in vinegar is the active ingredient. It lowers the pH, which kills many pathogens. Vinegar can be used as a home remedy with chickens to help clear the mucous in the throat of a bird that has respiratory disease.
Vinegar can also be used to re-balance the acidity of the crop if the chicken has sour-crop. In some cases of enteritis it can also help.
50ml vinegar to 2 liters of water (1/4 cup vinegar to 1/2 a gallon of water). Give for 2-3 days as the only drinking water.
Warning: Do not give straight vinegar, it is too strong and it will burn their tissues.
2) Molasses Solution
Molasses works as a gentle laxative, as well as a mineral supplement.
A laxative is useful if a chicken has eaten a toxic plant or it has been scouring due to a bacterial illness.
In 2 quarts/liters of warm water, dissolve 1/4 cup of molasses. Offer this to the birds for 4-6 hours then replace it with clean drinking water.
3) Sugar Solution
If you have a sickly, lethargic chicken, they need some glucose to keep their energy up. This is helpful for newly hatched chicks if they have had a prolonged hatching or if they have travelled a long way.
1oz (28g) of table sugar, glucose powder or honey in 2 cups (400ml) of warm water, stir until dissolved. Give a small amount regularly until the chick is perky.
Honey helps to reduce swollen tissues by drawing out excess fluid. You can use it on swollen prolapsed tissue, to shrink it enough to be gently pushed back inside the vent.
Smear honey over the swollen area and leave for about 1 hour to reduce in size, try and keep the prolapsed chicken still and quiet while you wait.
Electrolytes help chickens to recover from illness and stress faster and better. If a bird is not eating, has diarrhoea, is over heated, or dehydrated then electrolytes in the water are helpful.
You can buy ready made bird electrolyte mixes or you can mix the recipe below. Use in place of drinking water for one week.
Chicken electrolyte recipe
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
3 teaspoons of table salt
Dissolve in 3 quarts/liters of warm water. Use in place of water for one week.
How do you treat a sick chicken naturally?
If you have an unwell chicken, it is best to find out what is wrong with it first. If there is no obvious cause for why it is off colour, you can give her a few days of alone time to see if she perks up.
Bring your sick chicken inside to somewhere warm, dark (not totally dark during the day!) and quiet. Give her highly nutritious feed (you should try fermenting it) and plenty of fresh water.
Add the right treatment regime as above depending on what is wrong with your sick chicken and give her 3 or 4 days rest to see how she goes. She is ready to rejoin the flock when she is acting like her normal self, and is eating and drinking well.
So there you are, 5 easy home remedies to help keep your chickens healthy.
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