Apple Cider Vinegar for chickens – miracle cure or snake oil?
If you have spent any time in chicken forums you probably noticed many loyal supporters of Apple Cider Vinegar for chickens. Some suggest it is even a miracle cure of sorts in and around the chicken coop.
- act as an insect repellant
- improve fertility
- clean the chicken coop
- help clean plumage
- prevent intestinal worms and external parasites (it is not credited as being a treatment for worms)
- boost calcium absorption (this is particularly important if you are raising chickens for eggs)
- support the immune system
- produce meat that is more tender in animals that have been feed it as part of their diet
- reduce slime in waterers
- help to minimise heat stress
Supporters argue that apple cider vinegar for chickens is so helpful because it makes the body very alkaline (apparently not just to our chickens but for us as well). It is suggested that disease prefers an acidic environment rather than an alkaline one. Now I’m no chemist so I have no way to confirm whether or not this theory has any merit. I wasn’t really able to find any solid scientific evidence to confirm or deny the claim either.
Another reason Apple Cider Vinegar for chickens is so popular is because it is said to be full of vitamins, minerals and trace elements which are vital for good health. It is supposed to also contain powerful healing, cleansing, natural antibiotic and antiseptic qualities. Again, I couldn’t find any firm scientific evidence to support this (that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist).
If you do decide to start using Apple Cider Vinegar in your backyard flock supporters suggest that you follow these tips:
- Make sure you don’t use Apple Cider Vinegar in anything metal as it will cause corrosion. Plastics are best.
- When adding to your chickens water supply as a preventative measure for internal parasites, mix 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar per Gallon of water (or 3.8 litres, manufacturers usually recommend a dilution rate of about 2%.).
- The recommended period of time for mixing Apple Cider Vinegar into the water supply is a 1 week period every month. Make sure you apply to all water sources that your chickens have access to.
- Use only unrefined apple cider vinegar (buy from an equine shop or poultry supplier, not from a supermarket).
Before you do go out and purchase your first bottle of apple cider vinegar for your chickens and their coop, please remember that even though Apple Cider Vinegar has many loyal advocates there isn’t actually any scientific evidence to either support or refute the claims that have been made about its uses.
The available evidence does seem to suggest that the worst case scenario for apple cider vinegar is that it is relatively harmless. So, if you are keen to avoid using harsh chemicals around your chickens, apple cider vinegar could be worth a try.