Once touted only as a grandmother's cure all, from a head-lice cure, fixing a sore throat, sooth sunburn, fighting toe nail fungus, dissolving kidney stones, to cleaning the chemicals off of veggies from the shop; Apple Cider Vinegar is a safe preventative to use on poultry provided that it is diluted.
How does Apple Cider Vinegar (AVC) help the chickens' health?
Vinegar being an acid causes an alkaline effect in the poultry which reduces the likelihood of illness, helps to fight general unwellness and aid the immune system. ACV lowers the pH level in the stomach which aids digestion and makes the stomach far less friendly to pathogens.
Apple Cider Vinegar is full of vitamins, minerals and trace elements. The cloudy, raw, unfiltered type of ACV is by far the strongest and most effective, but whatever container it is added to will need to be thoroughly washed out daily as the unfiltered ACV does leave a residue, unlike the clearer (supermarket) varieties. The clear ACV can be used if you do not have the raw-unfiltered type. Do not add more ACV to the water to compensate.
Chickens have technically two stomachs, the first one being the crop that can be felt by your fingers at the front of their breast. It is in the crop that the pH level can be most significantly altered with ACV. As chickens forage throughout the day, the crop is the first point of call for any ingested microbe and bad bacteria.
Apple Cider Vinegar can help reduce worms but not completely eradicate them. Never give up on worming your poultry ever 3 months hoping that ACV will be the complete fix. But you may find that the outbreak of worms in your hens may be significantly reduced.
ACV can also help release calcium from food sources, to help increase calcium up take which can benefit egg shells.
How much should be given?
Apple Cider Vinegar is added to fresh drinking water, and must be changed daily.
Administered occasionally rather than for a prolonged period of time (constantly) is advised.
- General daily preventative tonic: 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar to 4 Litres of Water
- Health boost: 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar to 4 Litres of Water
Drinking Container Rule
- Only use plastic drinking containers when administering Apple Cider Vinegar.
- Never put ACV into a galvanized metal drinker as the vinegar will react with the metal.
- Ice cream containers can be used for short periods of time, but once you notice that the imprint on the bottom of the container can no longer be properly cleaned, dispose of that container in favour of a fresh one.
When should ACV not be given?
- If your vet has prescribed any medication.
- During worming medication.
- If you are giving maggots to a chicken with an impacted crop. We need to keep the maggots alive until they are dissolved by the gastric juices in the second stomach.
Can ACV be used in any other way with chickens?
Can be used as a wash rinse in some luke-warm water when washing chickens due to a very dirty vent (behind).
Remember, that if you think that your hens are sick, please contact your local vet.
Advise your vet if you have been giving Apple Cider Vinegar and cease the application of ACV if your vet advises other medications.
Take extreme caution if you believe that your poultry are suffering kidney failure as ACV may cause more harm than good.
For more information about giving Apple Cider Vinegar to poultry, check out these websites for more details:
Stock Health Products Australia
Fresh Eggs Daily: Holistic Trinity