CHICKEN FOLK MEDICINE
Folk medicine has been the mainstay through centuries, when modern medicine was not available. Some may have been nothing more than snake oil, but others had their attributes throughout civilization and in fact are used in modern medicine applications.
Herbs, concoctions developed by medicine men, shamans, pioneer housewives, witches and warlocks are not all witchcraft potions to find true love, they are for a number of ailments and many as timely today as yesteryear. We call these natural remedies and holistic medicine, but many are used in prescription drugs as well.
Some that come to mind are certain herbs, garlic, pepper, molasses and honey. Dr. D.C. Jarvis, a renowned physician in Vermont in the 50s wrote about the use of Apple Cider Vinegar, honey, and molasses in a variety of concoctions for his patients. Because he did house calls, he often spoke with those patients about their livestock. When the patients would mention a chicken laying off, or livestock not performing at peak, he would recommend ACV with honey or molasses or with garlic and herbs. He was not a holistic medical doctor as we know it today, however, those natural remedies had been passed down for centuries, tried and true and applicable for the farm animals just as they were for human consumption and for many of the same reasons. For a quick read on Dr. Jarvis' recommendations, refer to the link below.
Back in the 1800s a frail, reclusive lady named Nancy Luce, was known for her expertise with chickens. She sold eggs from her hens and though people taunted her, many relied upon her for her advice in raising their chickens and brought chickens to her that were ill. She became known as the Crazy Chicken lady, yet she spared the lives of many chickens through her simple concoctions using cayenne pepper, Epsom salts, garlic and molasses. She is still celebrated today at Martha's Vineyard where she lived and died. She had a special bond with some of her chickens and they became her only friends, she self published poems that she wrote; with her chickens as the main characters and her relationship with them. When they passed, she had a special backyard cemetery where they were buried in their own little caskets and each had a tiny headstone. In addition, she wrote what is considered the first book ever written on the care and treatment of chickens. Today her own headstone is visited annually and chicken tokens are left at her gravesite. The local museum houses many of those special chicken mementos. To read some of Nancy Luce's work, refer to the link provided below.
Even today there are only a few Poultry veterinarians, and much of the treatment that poultry receive is provided by the poultry owner either from old folk medicine passed down or what few products are available for poultry treatments, or a combination of both. Most veterinarians that do not treat poultry, and often recommend putting them down if they become ill, rather than attempt to treat them. There is logic in their recommendations in that flocks can quickly contract any illness or disease and it can wipe out an entire flock before treatment is even effective. The vets believe that it is best to destroy an infected bird than to infect the entire flock and that all makes sense, but our own sensibilities direct us to doing what we can to spare the life of those that do fall ill, though we do risk the entire flock if we cannot find a proper diagnoses and treatment in a hurry.
Garlic, herbs, spices, honey, pepper, molasses and ACV are preventatives, rather than for treating after illness or disease strikes. As with most situations, even with preventatives in place, you cannot expect to ward off all possible illness with folk remedies. We can help to keep our flocks healthy, build up resistance and immunity to certain possible illness, and with that effort may prevent serious outbreaks or even the loss of our birds, but when illness strikes, be prepared to quickly diagnose the symptoms and to use stronger methods as necessary. Always have a poultry first aid kit properly stocked and ready at all times. http://justfowlingaround.weebly.com/chicken-blog/category/poultry-first-aid-kit As always use proper Bio-Security methods to help prevent illness and disease: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/chicken-coop-chatter-blog/backyard-bio-security
Pure ACV is used to help balance the entire body system and make foods digestible, the honey is generally used for building immunity and topical treatment for open sores. Pepper is high in calcium, as well as useful during winter as it heats the inner core of the chickens to keep them warm during the cold months and it may make the gut non-habitable to internal parasites. Garlic is known for it's immunity building properties, and molasses is high in many nutrients and has been used in Livestock feed for many years, is used in liquid medicines and has been considered a health tonic back through the centuries. One such feed, containing molasses is called, Sweet Cob, and flock blocks contain molasses. The earliest known text written about molasses in livestock feed was in 1890, published by Gulley and Carson. The earliest documentation concerning molasses and benefits to poultry was in 1906 by Graham.
As with all things, use moderation in whatever dietary supplements you choose when caring for your flocks, some herbs and ACV can build up toxicity in the system with overuse. The first line of defense against any and all illness or disease will always be, clean environment, daily fresh air and exercise; proper balanced diet, and periodic natural supplements.
Infused Oregano oil is an accepted supplement within the Organic and conventional poultry industry as an immune builder:
For a molasses treat that chickens love, try my Corn Cob Chicken treat:
To make your own Vinegar, refer to the link: http://justfowlingaround.weebly.com/recipes-for-self-reliance/category/how-to-make-vinegar
To make your own Coop to Kitchen cleaner, refer to the link: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/earth-friendly-projects/concentrated-citrus-household-cleaner
For the many uses of Vinegar, refer to the link:
For Natural Chicken Keeping tips, refer to the link: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/chicken-coop-chatter-blog/natural-chiken-keeping-tips
CAUTION: Normally there are few side effects, however, as with all herbs, ACV or other home remedies, use only in moderation whether for you, your family or your animals and poultry.
In addition, it is wise to consult your veterinarian about the use of any and all herbs or edible flowers. If you have questions about dosage, your holistic veterinarian is the expert that will have those answers for you. Never assume that any herbs or home remedies are safe for ingestion or long term use for you or your animals. Research your State Agriculture sites and consult true trained experts, do not just take the word of random websites or random comments and blogs. Your health and the health of your animals are at risk if the information you obtain is not accurate.
CREDENTIALS: Certified Oregon State Master Gardener since 1999. Horticulture degree 2001. Study of Herbs and Horticulture Therapy, heavy research and study of all plants and herbs.
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