Hatching, raising, 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. During a long-term disaster or SHTF scenario, it will be the ONLY way to feed yourself and your loved ones. Therefore, chicken and duck keeping is of vital importance.

Chicken and Duck Keeping

Keeping your flock of chickens and ducks healthy so they continue laying quality eggs, breeding, and eating bugs to keep prevent them from destroying the garden, is a survival essential. You won’t likely be able to get help from a vet during a power grid down or other TEOTWAWKI scenario. Learning how to prevent common poultry health issues now, before disaster strikes, could mean the difference between life and death – not just for the chickens and ducks, but for the entire family if disease spreads through the flock an destroys the key food source.

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Chicken and Duck Keeping mom holding chick to kid's face

Raising a healthy flock of chickens and ducks does not require the injection of hormones and antibiotics. Common items likely already in your pantry offer a host of preventative benefits for both the flock and the humans who raise them.

Coccidiosis is the number one killer of baby chicks and ducklings. It is a deadly parasitic disease which impacts the intestinal tract of animals and is caused by coccidian protozoa. The often fatal condition spreads from one animal to another via physical contact with infected feces or the ingestion of infected tissue. Chickens, even when only a few weeks old, routinely eat dead or dying members of the flock. Severe and often bloody diarrhea is typically the first sign of a coccidiosis infection.

Adding the spices noted below may substantially help prevent the disease from impacting not just a single chicken or duck, but the entire flock!

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Chicken and Duck Keeping chick and eggs

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Chickens and Ducks:

1. Black Pepper

The spice is filled with both nutrients and vitamins and also functions as an anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant. Black pepper aids in the flushing of toxins from the body. It also helps the fowl to 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 to prevent respiratory problems and to ease coughing.

2. Cayenne Pepper

During the winter farmers have long added the pepper to chicken and duck feed or water to boost egg production.

3. Oregano

The essential oil from the spice is a natural antibiotic. Oregano can be given to chickens and ducks in the form of an essential oil, fresh or dried – as is commonly sold in the spice section of grocery stores. 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.

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Chicken and Duck Keeping chicks feeding

4. Cinnamon

The spice reduces inflammation and boasts anti-infectious, antibacterial and antioxidant properties as well. Cinnamon can also aid in the prevention of neurological disease. A compound in the spice helps to thin the blood and boost the circulatory system to enhance blood flow to feet, wattles, and combs to ward off frostbite. It also may help with the prevention of congestion, coughing, and infection – and may help prevent respiratory problems as well.

5. Turmeric

The spice has been used as nature’s antibiotic for centuries. It is best known for its powerful antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. If a chicken or duck gets “bumblefoot” – intense and highly visible swelling of the foot or lower leg, turmeric can likely help. Chicks suffering from “wry neck” – condition where they are unable to hold their head of properly, may benefit from adding a pinch of turmeric to their water or sprinkled over feed. Add about ½ of a teaspoon to the feed or water to a hen with a cold or one showing general signs of lethargy to help boost her immunity and to fight infection.

6. Salt

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 can be used to make a homemade electrolyte to help save overwhelmed 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 made the natural electrolyte. Offer the mixture to the flock members suffering from heat exhaustion or mix it into the waterers for the entire flock to prevent heat exhaustion at a 1 cup per 1 gallon of water ratio. To help keep the flock cool, freeze one of their favorite healthy treats in an ice cube tray and serve – it will be both a cooling and entertaining snack!

7. Garlic

The spice 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 your members of your flock for their new home. Garlic also serves as a natural wormer and may even reduce the stench of manure when added to feed on a regular basis. Whole cloves can be floated in the water to administer the spice to your flock, or crushed fresh cloves can be broadcast inside the brooder or pen run as a free choice option. A pinch or two of garlic power can also be sprinkled over dry feed as a natural health supplement for the flock.

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Chicken and Duck Keeping mom with kids and chicks

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Add a teaspoon of the vinegar to the waterer twice a week during the warm weather months to help boost calcium absorption. Hens struggled with calcium absorption in the summer far more than any other members of the flock and a drop in calcium will likely cause laying issues and negatively impact egg shell hardiness.

9. Ginger

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 be added specifically to layer feed to not just boost performance but also promote the production of large eggs.

10. Respiratory Tea

Serve the sick flock members this delicious and healthy tea to help them get over a 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 ½ teaspoon each of any/all the following ingredients: chamomile, lavender, peppermint essential oil, turmeric, cinnamon, black OR cayenne pepper. All the tea to cool for at least 10 minutes, strain, and then serve in a waterer.

Up Next: Composting For Beginners | The Building Blocks To A Better Harvest

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