Apple Cider Vinegar and Chickens - Don't forget the Mother!
Nearly 20 years keeping and raising chickens, we have learned a lot and are still learning. We discovered apple cider vinegar a few years back when we drastically increased hatching chicks for our newest venture in chick sales. When you are hatching thousands of chicks, you tend to run into various health issues. When you keep a large number of chicks in a brooder, the cleanliness of that brooder is essential to the chick’s health. The dust created by a large number of chicks eating, drinking and pooping will challenge a chick’s immune system.
Besides the importance of keeping their environment clean, you have to help them combat anything that may tax their immune systems. We have found that a few drops of apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ in their waterer will help a newly hatched chick start their lives off right by helping them boost their immune system and to flush away any toxins that may be introduced to their systems through their environment. Putting apple cider vinegar in your chicks or chickens waterers will also keep the bacteria down on the waterer itself.
Apple cider vinegar does come with and without the ‘mother’. The mother refers to strands of protein, enzymes and good bacteria that is present in unfiltered or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar. This is the most important aspect and most beneficial part of the apple cider vinegar for chicken health. These raw enzymes and bacteria help the stomach process foods more efficiently and fight off bad bacteria that might slow down the digestion process or allow toxins to weaken a bird.
Chicks and chickens are very susceptible to getting respiratory problems from their environment, other chickens and even wild birds. Apple cider vinegar will fight many of the germs that cause these respiratory issues. The normal mixture with water is 1 Tablespoon per gallon. Don’t worry about ‘overdosing’ them since this is an all-natural product. You will know if you put too much because the chickens won’t want to drink it. Moderation with anything is always best. With the small ‘mason jar’ type waterers I will put a couple drops from the bottle after shaking it up good.
You can make your own Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother using cut up apples and a few other ingredients. Here is a link to an excellent step by step recipe from Lisa Steele of Fresh Eggs Daily. http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2012/09/diy-make-your-own-apple-cider-vinegar.html