Homeopathy for Poultry and People
Two Remedies I Wouldn't Be Without
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By Jennifer Smith, ND, DHANP, CCH
Practicing homeopathic medicine for over a quarter of a century prepared me to treat almost any conceivable malady and work with people of all ages and all walks of life. What it didn’t do was prepare me for the moral dilemma that would arise for me one morning when a large white hen fell out of a cage — one that was stacked atop lots of other cages that were piled on a truck that was speeding towards a local chicken-processing plant — and landed in my front yard.
I didn’t know the first thing about chickens at the time, but I know suffering when I see it.
One thing led to another, and I wound up with a pet chicken, which ultimately led to more chickens and a reputation as someone who would take in sick, injured, shunned, and wayward chickens.
One of the more important things I learned along the way is that there is a difference between a hen and a rooster, and if you are going to keep either or both of them in your backyard, you will do well to have a homeopathic first-aid kit for both poultry and people.
Two homeopathic remedies I have used the most through the years for chickens and the people (me), who had to learn the hard way how to handle chickens, are homeopathic Arnica montana and Ledum palustre.
Homeopathic Arnica montana (most often referred to as simply arnica) is the world’s most-used homeopathic remedy. It’s the first remedy to think of for treating shock, trauma, and injuries. Some surgeons use it routinely to speed recovery.
I’ve used homeopathic arnica to treat infants who accidentally rolled off of beds, toddlers who toppled from chairs or fell down steps in my professional practice. I’ve given it to many athletes and weekend warriors who were sore and bruised or had strains and sprains. I’ve given it to banged-up spouses who refused to hire professional plumbers and electricians, and I’ve used homeopathic arnica many times on chickens who got into altercations with other animals. Of course, I used it for a hen who fell from a speeding truck.
Time and again, I’ve seen people and poultry recover quickly when given homeopathic arnica. With only a few doses of the remedy, I would watch chickens go from refusing food, isolating themselves, and hanging their heads as they leaned against a wall in their coop to scratching, pecking, and energetically socializing with other chickens. Their turn-around after only one or two doses of arnica was quite notable.
Another remedy I wouldn’t be without is homeopathic Ledum palustre (often referred to as simply ledum). Ledum is the best-known homeopathic remedy for treating puncture wounds. It can treat tiny punctures, like those made by mosquitos and spiders, as well as deep puncture wounds made by objects such as nails, knives, fencing, and the incisors of a large Labrador-retriever mix who loses patience with a territorial, bossy rooster.
I’ve successfully used homeopathic ledum to help patients with severe spider bites, mosquito bites following family picnics or camping trips, children who wound up with objects sticking out of one of their limbs, and one startled — and then very irritated — rooster. Oh, and myself, after treating the rooster.
I can say from personal experience that the pain from having a beak and talon pierce my calf muscle was gone quickly following a few doses of homeopathic ledum, but the remedy did little to ease my hurt feelings.
Homeopathic remedies are easy to find these days. Most are available online, in health food stores, and select drug stores. There are good homeopathic pharmacies in the United States that supply remedies online as well as brick and mortar stores. Boiron and Washington Homeopathic Products are two reliable and popular sources.
The homeopathic remedies are put onto sugar pills, making them easy to dispense and, given their sweetness, are desirable to most. Depending on which pharmacy supplies your product, you’ll either turn the tube upside down and twist the cap to drop a pellet into the cap or tap a few pellets from a small glass vial into the lid of the vial.
You administer the pellets directly from the lid into a mouth. Unless that mouth belongs to a chicken; they don’t appreciate that approach. It may increase your chances of needing a homeopathic remedy yourself, and spending another ten bucks or replacing the vial that was pecked out of your hand, strewing little sugar pellets across coop floor.
To administer homeopathic remedies to poultry, I suggest putting a pellet of the remedy into their drinking water, making sure to clean the water container thoroughly after the injured chicken has consumed a few doses (sips) of the water. Waiting for a chicken to take a few sips of the water may take hours. I don’t worry about my other chickens drinking from the same water container because a few sips of the remedy won’t hurt them. However, repeated doses of the medicated water could pose a problem for the healthy chickens and should be removed as soon as the injured chicken has had a few sips.
If an injured chicken won’t drink, I use a small syringe or lid from a dropper bottle to withdraw a little of the medicated water and squirt it into the chicken’s mouth. You can try this at home, but I would not recommend trying it alone. It’s my recommendation that you ask for assistance and that you ask only those people who will continue to love you no matter what happens in the coop.
Having witnessed the healing powers of these gentle, safe, and consistently effective homeopathic remedies for many years, I wouldn’t be without them.
Dr. Jennifer Smith is the author of My Chicken Thinks I’m a Quack and Other Side Effects of Practicing Natural Medicine. She is a licensed naturopathic physician who has specialized in homeopathic medicine for 30 years.
Originally published in the 2021 special issue of Backyard Poultry — A Natural and Sustainable Flock — and regularly vetted for accuracy.