Last Modified on Oct 10, 2013
Sick chickens? Ailing chicks? Or just looking to ensure optimal health among your brood of farmyard poultry? Surprisingly, chickens (especially baby chickens) have plenty of health issues that pop up during the course of their lives. This might include chicken mites, chicken lice, picking (a condition where chickens peck at one another due to stress, lack of food or water, or overcrowding), molting, and various chicken diseases. Sick chickens may be lethargic, show poor coloration or texture in the feathers, may eat or drink less, and may produce weakened or fewer eggs.
A number of natural remedies have long been used to address poultry diseases, ward off pests, and enhance overall chicken nutrition.
Natural Cures for Chicken Health: Apple cider vinegar for chickens is especially popular as a home remedy for poultry. Apple cider vinegar added to chicken feed or water supplies may improve nutrition and help to ward off insect pests. Wood ashes, dandelion greens, garlic, and onions are also popular remedies among the chicken coop.
Cod Liver Oil
[YEA] 08/08/2008: Amanda from Trenton, Ontario: "I have found that chickens and geese both respond very well to cod liver oil. I always treat sick or lame birds. administered 4 times a day recovery usually two to three days."
10/19/2009: Farm Mama from Mount Dora, Fl, Usa: "My chickens have lice. They are free range, fed organic soy free layer feed, organic cracked corn, and various kitchen scraps 95% organic. Any suggestions? Thanks to all who give advice on earth clinic. It is a life saver!"Replies
10/26/2009: Sharik from Arcata, California replies: "You might sprinkle their "dust baths" with DE (diatomaceous earth). It dessicates the tiny little livestock by cracking their carapaces and drying them out. Make sure you get food grade DE and this should do the trick. Diatoms are tiny sea creatures that have been around for many millions of years (and still are) and are totally natural, but if you have asthma or related problems, I suggest using a mask while integrating the DE with the dirt."
[YEA] 01/18/2010: Farm Mama from Mount Dora, Fl, Usa replies: "Sharik, thank you for the suggestion! I used D.E. sprinkled on the worst cases and filled their dust baths for the rest. The lice disappeared ASAP and haven't had a reoccurrence since.
Sincerely, Farm Mama"
08/30/2011: Vamp from Beaver Dam, Wi replies: "If nothing else works you can try 1/3 cat dose of Frontline on an adult chicken to rid them of lice, feather mites or other mites.
You can also try this: Sulfur has been used for many years. The treatment of individual birds with powdered sulfur is satisfactory if liberal amounts of dust are used and if application is thorough. Dipping the birds in sulfur baths is laborious, but the results are gratifying. Dips may be prepared by mixing 2 ounces of finely ground sulfur and 1 ounce of dish detergent to a gallon of lukewarm water. The feathers should be wet to the skin, and the head ducked. It is always advisable to dip fowl on warm, sunny days or in heated buildings. Treatment with either sulfur dusts or dips should be repeated as required.
I have used sulfur/soap dips myself on feather mites with good results. You should not use poultry dust or Seven garden dust weekly on poultry because the mites will become immune to it and you will have a hard time removing them if you have an outbreak."
09/29/2012: Newveggie from Mount Dora, Florida replies: "hi, I dont spose you sell your eggs. recently became veggie and trying to find new places to buy produce."
Remedies for Common Chicken Diseases
10/10/2013: Chickencoopathome from Australia: "I'd like to add additional home remedies for common chicken diseases. Cinnamon and epsomsalts for diarrhea, aloe vera for all year round health of chickens and oregano oil extract for colds."
Wholesome Food for Chickens
[YEA] 03/17/2008: Abbey from Coffs Harbour, Australia: "I make a small bowl of mash for my chickens everyday, with oatmeal, garlic, a little honey, a little iodised salt, olive oil and a desertspoon of ACV. My chickens get out for an hour or two before bed of a night for some green pick and they are doing well, no worms, no problems at all and plenty of eggs."Replies
03/28/2010: Saygaa from Rigby, Idaho replies: "My husband and I got chickens last year. I am always looking for ways to keep them healthy. How do you make the mash for your chickens? Are there certain amounts of each of the ingredients that you use?"
03/01/2012: Shane from Newcastle, Nsw, Australia replies: "Any idea what all the ingredients do? I've heard feeding garlic powder in normal food will help with mites and make the poo smell like a pizza shop :) Apple Cider Vinegar is good for their gut flora oats for fibre did you use milk in this too? milk calcium.. Honey?"
11/15/2012: Ruby from Birdsboro, Pa Usa replies: "I add apple cider vinegar to their water, but that isn't all. I add rosemary, thyme, garlic, clove, and cayenne pepper also. The pepper keeps them warm & chickens don't have taste buds so it doesn't burn their tongue. Honey bees will seek out rosemary & lavender when they do not feel well, so I use all these for my healthy naturally raised chickens. My silly little 3 months old goat doe likes to drink the chickens " brown " water... Lol brown from mixing all the herbs in. I do use powdered form for their water, but put fresh & home dried herbs in their nest boxes. I also dust their areas with food grade D. E."
01/25/2013: Wirihanasouth from Otago, New Zealand replies: "Hi Ruby from Birdsboro, how do you add the herbs to the water? Do you chop them up first, or put whole branches in? I've got a chicken who's looking a bit slow and unhealthy, and I'm going to try your remedy and see if it helps. Thanks."