If you’ve been keeping backyard chickens for any time and talking with other owners, you will have heard about apple cider vinegar being talked about in high esteem!
But, what does apple cider vinegar do for chickens?
Should you be giving your flock apple cider vinegar?
Here are answers to these questions and more around the use of ACV and chicks:
What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is the most popular type of vinegar and is commonly used within the natural health and wellness community due to its wide range of health benefits.
It’s full of vitamins and minerals, and organic unfiltered ACV contains “mother” strands of enzymes, proteins, and friendly bacterias.
Some of its wellness applications go back many years in folk medicine, but a lot of its applications have been confirmed and backed by modern-day science (source).
It’s known to help;
- Improve your immune system
- Lower cholesterol
- Kill many types of harmful bacterias
- Lower blood sugar levels
- And lots more
That’s for us, and most of these benefits apply to chickens too!
The only important consideration is to use organic apple cider vinegar, just like the product I’ve picked from Amazon here for you:
As someone who has used ACV personally for many years, and within my flock, I’m 100% confident it lives up to all the positive benefits and wellness applications it claims.
Benefits of Giving Apple Cider Vinegar to Chickens
It Boosts Their Immune System
A healthy and strong immune system means your flock can better fight off diseases and illnesses.
This is particularly important for a flock of chickens, as one sick hen can quickly cause the others to fall ill too.
Prevention is always the best cure. There are a number of parasites and potential diseases chicks can pick up foraging around eating bugs.
If adding a little ACV to their drinking water gives them some added defense against illness, it’s an easy decision.
Related content - How to use Valbazen for chickens with worms.
It Helps "Balance" Them
I’ve read some studies into the effects of ACV on the body, and I have also spoken to a local farmer about it.
It’s a little confusing, to say the least. But, wherever you look and whoever you ask, it’s commonly agreed that it helps balance a chicken's body.
Apple cider vinegar has an alkalizing effect. If you’ve ever tried it there’s no questioning it’s acidic. A small amount helps regulate a chooks’ PH and helps them operate at peak performance.
I’ve also heard from some owners using it to treat mild respiratory problems.
Calming and Stress Relieving
One of the most common reasons for owners giving them flock ACV is to help reduce stress. This might be due to environmental conditions because they need to move them, or after a fight or experience with a predator.
In fact, the first time I ever heard about it firsthand was when a neighbor asked me if I had any as she said she was going to take a couple of her birds to a show.
She would give them a little ACV in their water that day and said it helped them stay calm during traveling.
Helps Repel and Treat Germs and Parasites
Poultry lice, mites, worms, and other parasites are amongst the most common health issues that can be a real headache for your flock, and you.
Apple cider vinegar is a natural alternative to the harsher traditional meds and treatments that a poultry vet might prescribe.
Plus, if you take into account all the other health benefits associated with giving ACV to your flock, it’s almost just an added benefit that pesky parasites will be killed and kept at bay.
How Much Apple Cider Vinegar Should I Give My Chickens?
I’ve read some varying accounts of what the optimal amount to give your chickens is, so there is some room to experiment.
Two of the most common recommendations are:
- 1ml per chicken per day - Just simply add 1ml per chicken to their drinking water if they all use the same waterer. So, if you have 10 chickens, add 10ml to their water.
- 2% dilution in drinking water - Another way you can do it that has a similar effect is to dilute your chicken’s drinking water. 2% should be more than enough, so if you’re filling up their waterer with 5 liters of water add 100ml of ACV.
How Do I Give My Chickens Apple Cider Vinegar?
The most common way to give chickens apple cider vinegar is by adding it to their drinking water as discussed above. This means they are ingesting some throughout the day as they take sips of their water.
You can also make up a spray bottle diluted with a little ACV and give them and their coop a spray. It’s a great way to warn off external parasites and lice and smells pretty good too.
Another way is to combine it with food for a more direct way if you want to be sure they are consuming it. Try soaking a little bit of bread or as similar food that absorbs moisture, or adding it to their feed.
Some people see ACV as a miracle treatment and use it daily in their flock’s drinking water and swear by it.
Other people I’ve spoken to are not that bothered.
I guess you could say I’m somewhere in the middle. I wholeheartedly believe in the benefits of giving apple cider vinegar to chickens, it’s hard not to with so much evidence and anecdotal testimonials from the backyard community.
There’s certainly no harm to giving it a try. For an inexpensive, organic, and natural way to improve your flock’s health and wellness, why not give it a try.
Oh, and an extra tip - use a plastic waterer if using ACV on a regular basis. The acidity will accelerate corroding a metal container.