Chicken Health - Natural Remedies for Chickens!

| Modified on Dec 19, 2019
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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.

Apple Cider Vinegar

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Anita (Somewhere in the Deep South) on 06/14/2014

Apple Cider Vinegar is wonderful for Chicken health. It will make chicks feather out faster and gain more weight and be generally healthier throughout their lives. Just remember to put the water in a non-metal container. I put maybe 1 Tablespoon to a pint of water. More is ok too, up to about 50%. For grown chickens, if they start molting, put them on vinegar, or if they need worming or have any kind of intestinal disease, put them in vinegar.

Replied by Ash.krug

What can be used if chicken has a cold. Nose runny and eyes runny?? Started with one and now two are sick? What can be used with home remedies... thankyou

Replied by Diana
(Bandon, Or)

Did you ever find an answer to your posted question. My chickens have recently come up with symptoms ranging from stuck shut eyelids, nasal congestion (rattely sounding breathing through their nostrils), and now a half dozen or so are sneezing. I tried oxytetrocycline for seven days (800 mg dosage). The symptoms abated so I stopped the antibiotic. Several days later I had the chickens with the sneezing. I am now trying natural remedies along with low doses of the same antibiotic (200-250 mg per gl of water), along with thyme, vinegar, garlic, clover, and dill. Basically making them a salad.

Cod Liver Oil

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Amanda (Trenton, Ontario) on 08/08/2008

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.

Diatomaceous Earth

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Maggie (Idaho) on 03/13/2016

When I first noticed that my pet chickens had mites, I went to a farm store and asked what they recommended. They tried to sell me some product that I knew to be toxic. I was told that's what all the farmers used for their chickens. I asked about diatomaceous earth and they said it wouldn't work. I decided to try diatomaceous earth anyway and it worked. I just sprinkled it in the chicken house and never had problems again.

I also use it in my garden when my plants get attacked by bugs.

Diatomaceous Earth
Posted by Sharik (Arcata, California) on 10/26/2009

In response to:

Posted by Farm Mama (Mount Dora, Fl, Usa) on 10/19/2009

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!

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.

Replied by Farm Mama
(Mount Dora, Fl, Usa)

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

Replied by Vamp
(Beaver Dam, Wi)

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.


Posted by Stacey (Adelaide) on 12/18/2019

We have had a Christmas event and during transition from one area to another a baby chicken has been damaged accidently by large child foot. She is feed super meal worms and water although I believe the injury could be an orbital fracture as it is still quite swollen although she is opening her eye today (day two). Today we are going to try a saline solution and I was told to give her some pineapple and boron (I have no clue as to what this is) to help with the infection. We do not want to give up on our pet and the last time we took our chicken to the vet it cost way to much for what they did. We believe we can heel her at home. Can someone please advice us as to what they would do please, even if it is to take her to the vet. Please advice

Replied by GertJr

You may want to post your question on the site . They have a forum about injuries and disease and lots of folks will respond. Be sure to detail what happened to cause the injury, what you've done so far and what is going on at present. Like, baby chicken you can say 4 week old chick, more detail is better. Good luck. I had a hawk get one of my 5 week olds and then she was blind, so they can heal.

Remedies for Common Chicken Diseases

Posted by Chickencoopathome (Australia) on 10/10/2013

I'd like to add additional home remedies for common chicken diseases. Cinnamon and epsom salts for diarrhea, aloe vera for all year round health of chickens and oregano oil extract for colds.

Replied by Vickie
(Middleton Tenn)

Do you add epsom salt to water?

Wheezing Remedies

Posted by Emmanuel (Malta) on 06/23/2015

I own a shame rooster who has had a healthy history up until 3 months ago. He started to wheeze like a person suffering with asthma and does not even roost anymore, he became nearly soundless. I tried various remedies and medicine to know avail. Did anyone have any similar issues ?? I need help. Thanks

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Emmanuel,

Sorry to hear about your sick rooster! We have kept chickens for 15 years and I don't think I have ever heard of one wheezing. But I am hopeful there is something you can try. I have a few questions though to narrow down what to try.

How old is your rooster?

What have you tried? (Antibiotics etc.)

Is he with other chickens and if so, are they symptom free?

Has his living area changed?

Are you able to get him to eat or drink?

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Theresa
(Mpls., Mn)

Hey Emmanuel!

Your rooster sounds very ill. You can help him by giving him a heat source away from distractions. He needs clean air in a clean environment. Many avian respiratory issues such as aspergillosis [a fungal disease] are due to dusty, moldy and ammonia filled environments like you would find in a chicken coop that was never cleaned out. Lack of vitamin A is also a factor.

If you are unable to take your boy to a vet, in your shoes I would *provide heat* and attempt to give him antifungal medicines diluted in water - or mixed into an electrolyte solution; keep the liquid going into him so he does not dehydrate - especially if you put him in a warm hospital cage. It is possible a solution of 1/4 teaspoon of borax into 1 liter of water may provide relief, however healing will take time and the aid of a veterinarian and high grade antibiotics or antifungals [metrinidazole, ketaconazole, etc.] may be in order.

Replied by Sarah
(West Midlands)

Hi my 8 month rooster has respiratory infection and smells really bad. Can he try essiac tea?

Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Sarah,

I have given my chickens many different herbs over the years. I don't see why essiac wouldn't be appropriate for chickens.

You might want to mix some activated charcoal powder into his food. It may help with the odor. I would give him no more than 1/8 teaspoon per day of charcoal.

~Mama to Many~

Wholesome Food for Chickens

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Abbey (Coffs Harbour, Australia) on 03/17/2008

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.

Replied by Saygaa
(Rigby, Idaho)

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?

Replied by Shane
(Newcastle, Nsw, Australia)

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?

Replied by Ruby
(Birdsboro, Pa Usa)

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.

Replied by Wirihanasouth
(Otago, New Zealand)

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.