Making sure that the flock is healthy is vital in chicken and duck keeping. Besides, hatching and harvesting the food you put on the table is the best way to know what your family is really being served on their dinner plates. Raising chickens and ducks and keeping them healthy is essential for them to continue laying quality eggs and eating bugs to prevent these pests from destroying the garden. Chickens and ducks are vulnerable to common poultry health issues like Coccidiosis, a deadly parasitic disease that is known as the number one killer of chicks and ducklings. While your birds don’t really need costly hormone injections and antibiotics, I suggest you give these spices a try to aid you in chicken and duck keeping.
Chicken and Duck Keeping | Natural Flock Remedies
1. Black Pepper
Black pepper contains a lot of vitamins and nutrients. It also functions as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant. In addition, it helps flush toxins and absorb nutrients from its food sources. Chickens are prone to respiratory problems. Adding a few pinches of black pepper to their feed or in their water can help prevent respiratory problems and ease coughing.
2. Cayenne Pepper
For many years, farmers normally add pepper to chicken and duck feed or water to boost egg production. Worm diseases are known to hamper the flock’s ability to reproduce in which cayenne pepper is a very effective remedy. Cayenne pepper burns parasites that make their way into the digestive system. Simply add half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to your chicken feed as a natural way to deworm them.
The essential oil of Oregano is a natural antibiotic. Oregano can be given to ducks and chickens in the form of an essential oil, fresh or dried. It can help prevent coccidiosis, blackhead, E.coli, avian flu, and bronchitis. You can add dried oregano to feed or water or simply sprinkle them in the brooder or coop as a free choice snack. Add extra oregano to the diet of laying hens to give them an added immune system booster.
Cinnamon reduces inflammation and boasts of anti-infectious, antibacterial and antioxidant properties as well. It also aids in the prevention of neurological disease. A compound in the spice helps enhance blood flow to the feet, wattles, and combs to ward off frostbite. It also may help with the prevention of congestion, coughing, infection, and respiratory problems.
Turmeric is best known for its powerful antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. If your chickens or ducks get “Bumblefoot” – intense and highly visible swelling of the foot or lower leg, turmeric can likely help. Chicks that are unable to hold their head up properly can benefit from adding a pinch of turmeric to their feed. Turmeric also helps boost a hen’s immunity to fight infection by adding 1/2 teaspoon to their feed.
Chickens and ducks, just like the rest of us, need to steer clear of too much salt. But, the delicious spice should still be kept in your natural remedies tub for emergencies. During the hot summer months, salt might be essential to treating a flock suffering from heat exhaustion. It makes a great homemade electrolyte for chickens and ducks.
Mix together 1 cup of water, 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt, 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar, and 1/8 of a teaspoon of baking soda to make the natural electrolyte. Offer the mixture to the flock members suffering from heat exhaustion or mix it into their water. To help cool the flock, freeze one of their favorite healthy treats in an ice cube tray and serve.
Garlic not only helps boost the respiratory and immune systems, it also helps to repel ticks, mites, lice and other common parasites who like to claim the members of your flock for their new home. It also serves as a natural wormer and may even reduce the stench of manure by adding to the feed on a regular basis. You can also float whole cloves in the waterer to administer the spice to your flock. Sprinkle a pinch or two of garlic powder over dry feed as a natural health supplement for the flock.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Add a teaspoon of the vinegar to the water twice a week during the warm weather months to help boost calcium absorption. It is known that hens struggle with calcium absorption in the summer far more than any other members of the flock. As a result, drop in calcium will likely cause laying issues and negatively impact eggshell hardiness.
If a member of the flock has lost its appetite, ginger just might do the trick and spark a desire to eat again. The spice is also often used to help ease an upset stomach, reduce congestion, and as an immune system booster. Ginger also boasts strong anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Add a small pinch of dried ginger to feed or cast inside the chicken or duck habitat as a free choice supplement. A pinch of dried ginger can also promote the production of large eggs.
10. Respiratory Tea
Serve the sick flock members this delicious and healthy tea get over congestion or respiratory system problem. They absolutely love it, so no coaxing will be necessary to get them to dive right into the “medicine.”
Boil seven cups of water and 3 teaspoons of Astragalus root or oregano for about four minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and add about a half teaspoon each of any/all the following ingredients: chamomile, lavender, peppermint essential oil, turmeric, cinnamon, black OR cayenne pepper. Allow the tea to cool for at least 10 minutes, strain, and then serve in a waterer.
Watch this short video about holistic remedies for chickens by Tractor Supply Company:
It’s great to know these spices are good alternatives to keep birds healthy other than the many ways they make our food tastier. You could even take advantage of your regular supply of spices without having to spend more money. Well, unless you have a really big poultry in your backyard, there’s no reason to set aside a considerable budget. After all, the natural approach to chicken and duck keeping is always the best and safest way around.
What can you say about these natural remedies for chicken and duck keeping? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Editor’s Note – This post was originally published in October 19, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.