Homemade Products for Your Chicken Medicine Cabinet
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With so many new chicken keepers each and every year (but especially this year), one of the things most chicken keepers forget to have on hand is a chicken medicine kit! You don’t have to run to the farm store for anything, really. If you want, you can make some basic medicinal chicken products right in your own home.
As an herbalist, one of my favorite things has been to transfer my herbal knowledge to my chicken keeping lifestyle. Three of the things I make for my chicken medicine cabinet are homemade natural antibacterial ointment, a natural would spray, and an antibacterial and antiviral tincture. These are things that will last in your herbal chicken medicine cabinet for quite a while, and your chickens will thank you for the natural remedies!
Other Things for Your Chicken Medicine Cabinet
Before we dive into my three favorite homemade products, there are some things you should really keep on hand that you can’t necessarily make at home. Buy these in advance before you need them, just in case an emergency may arise.
- vet wrap and bandages
- suture kit
- wipes (for those moments when you need a quick clean)
- essential oils (my favorites are thyme, oregano, peppermint, and eucalyptus)
Whenever you use essential oils with chickens, just make sure you are diluting them with a carrier oil before placing on your chicken’s skin. Chickens only need about one drop (per oil) of essential oil for a single use. They are great for wound care and respiratory issues.
Homemade Chicken Medicine Cabinet Products
With just a few ingredients and a little time, you can have some of the healthiest, all-natural medicinal chicken products for your chickens. If you’re a homesteader, you may even already have some of these items on hand!
Antibacterial Ointment for Chickens
The herbs in this ointment (and the ointment itself) all have antibacterial properties and are incredible at healing a chicken’s body naturally. You can even use this on yourself! Use this salve just as you would any over-the-counter antibiotic ointment or salve. It works fabulously on wounds, cuts, and other general chicken health issues. You can also use it in cases of prolapse, to help put the prolapse back in.
- 3 oz calendula-infused oil
- .5 oz beeswax
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops oregano essential oil
- 10 drops vitamin E oil
- 1 tbsp manuka honey
- In a double boiler, melt together the calendula-infused oil and beeswax. If you don’t know how to make an infused oil, simply infuse the dried herb into the oil by placing the herbs and oil in a mason jar. Place in a preheated 300-degree-F oven (which has reached temperature and then been turned off) for an hour. Then strain out the herb. Now, you have infused oil!
- Turn heat off and add essential oils, vitamin E oil, and raw honey.
- Quickly pour your salve into tins or a jar. Allow to cool completely, then cap, label, and store for up to one year. You can whip the ointment with a whisk or immersion blender if you’d like, but it’s not a hard salve so it works well either way.
This ointment will keep for up to one year in your medicine cabinet if not left in direct sunlight or heat.
Wound Spray for Chickens
I just recently started making this recipe for my chickens, and it seems to work very very well. Use this for common scrapes and even open wounds. You can also use this after cleaning out bumblefoot, etc. In a bind, you can even use this as a natural hand-sanitizer for yourself!
- aloe gel
- rubbing alcohol (or 80-proof vodka)
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 15 drops oregano essential oil
- 4-ounce glass spray bottle
- Take your glass spray bottle and add your lavender and oregano essential oils.
- Next, fill up your bottle halfway with alcohol, and the remaining half with the aloe gel.
- Shake your bottle until everything is combined. Give the bottle a good shake before using on your chickens.
This spray will keep up to one year in your medicine cabinet, out of direct light or heat.
Antibacterial and Antiviral Tincture
One of the most common ailments for chickens is bacterial and viral issues. I like to use this tincture in my waterers during bird migrations with avian flu and when other respiratory issues are more prevalent. It’s also a necessary tincture for internal bacterial issues. It’s great as a preventative and as a treatment.
* Tip: mash all of the herbs together before trying to cover with vodka. This will ensure that all of the herbs are easily covered with the liquid.
- 1 oz echinacea (root or leaves, dried)
- .5 oz wormwood, dried
- .5 oz thyme, dried
- .5 oz chicory, dried
- 2 smashed garlic cloves
- 10 oz 80-proof vodka
- Add all herbs to a glass mason jar and cover with 10 oz of vodka.
- Cap tightly and set in a dark, temperature-controlled space (like a pantry or cupboard) for four weeks. Shake tincture each day.
- After four weeks, strain tincture into a glass eye dropper bottle. Label and store in medicine cabinet or cupboard.
As a preventative or treatment for an entire flock or individual bird, administer by placing one eyedropperful into a gallon waterer, or administer two drops orally. As a treatment, administer twice a day until symptoms subside.
A medicine cabinet or kit for your chickens doesn’t have to be complicated. Use these tips — and these recipes — to help empower you as a natural chicken keeper. And so that you’re ready when anything may arise!
Originally published in the August/September 2020 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.