Apple Cider Vinegar or ACV has been used by poultry keepers for years both as a tonic for good health and as an aid to preventing endo and ecto-parasites (internal and external parasites like worms or lice). ACV lowers the pH level in the stomach, making the gut slightly acidic which helps digestion and makes it a less friendly for worms. ACV is rich in vitamins, minerals and trace elements and is reported to help birds during times of stress like during moulting, moving home or when new birds come into the flock. Apple Cider Vinegar is an antiseptic but also works like a mild antibiotic since it contains bacteria that destroy infectious organisms. Chickens suffering from respiratory problems can benefit from ACV since it helps to cut through and loosen mucus that is produced in the upper respiratory tract.
Here is what you need to know when using ACV:
- ACV must be unrefined. Buy from an equine shop or poultry supplier, not from a supermarket.
- Dilution rate that is usually recommended by manufacturers is 2%.
- Do not use a metal water container. ACV is acidic and will corrode the metal.
- Many recommend after initial use, (if birds are healthy) to supply for 1 week of the month to ‘top birds up’. I do this for the first week of every month, it is easier to remember!