What is Coconut Oil Good For? How About Your Chickens!
What Can Chickens Eat — Coconut Oil is a Surprising Yes!
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What is coconut oil good for in your chicken coop? Well, plenty! We started using coconut oil on our homestead a few years ago, and haven’t looked back since. Initially, we just used it for cooking, for which it’s excellent. But after some research and experimentation, we learned that it’s also great for other uses. All and all, coconut oil is a multi-purpose tool that not only tastes good and keeps you healthy, but has practical uses for keeping your flock healthy, too.
We’ve been amazed at how using coconut oil has increased our flock’s health and happiness. In fact, coconut oil is lauded as one effective way to increase egg production in your chickens while giving them something healthy to eat. You can even form it into treats! Chickens love coconut oil, and it’s a great additive to feeds and it might boost their immune systems. It’s also effective in treating minor wounds as a natural topical antibacterial ointment, and some studies have shown that it is an effective antiviral.
Feeding Coconut Oil to Your Chickens
First, let’s talk about feeding coconut oil to your chickens. There are plenty of ways to add coconut oil to your flock’s diet. You can simply mix it with regular or organic chicken feed, offer it separately, or make your birds a treat using a suet recipe by mixing coconut oil with mealworms, sunflower seeds, and other goodies then freezing the mixture until it is solid. You can also make suet treats out of tallow or another fat.
Your flock can peck at the suet treat, and you can feel good that they’re getting some extra nutrients, fat and fun. Suet treats are especially good for cold winter days. If you’re wondering do chickens need heat in winter then you’ll love that the extra calories in the coconut oil will help keep your chickens warm.
In fact, in winter, a suet treat might help them keep their internal temperature up while providing some entertainment and helping to deter negative behaviors. If you like to feed your chickens scrambled eggs, then mixing it with coconut oil as it cooks is another way to feed your chickens coconut oil in a way they’re sure to love!
If you’re not sure what to feed chickens to help them gain weight, I like to mix coconut oil with a homemade feed for an easy way to incorporate some additional calories into their diets. Studies have shown that hens fed a diet that includes coconut oil gained weight and laid more eggs.
Coconut Oil in Your First Aid Box
What is coconut oil good for when it comes to first aid? On our farm, we use coconut oil a lot for wound treatment. Virgin coconut oil has been studied by researchers because of its antibacterial properties. As bacteria becomes more resistant, natural items like virgin coconut oil are being studied as potential remedies. Although many of the studies are very specific (for example studying the effects of coconut oil on a particular bacterium), these studies highlight the promising antibacterial potential of coconut oil.
For chickens, using coconut oil for first aid means no withdrawal times. If you’ve ever had to toss a month’s worth of eggs after treating a chicken with Tylan 50, then you’ll be happy to know that coconut oil is great for treating wounds and abrasions on poultry.
If you have a chicken that requires dressing on a wound, and you do not wish to use a topical ointment like triple-antibiotic cream, then you can apply the coconut oil to a non-stick pad. Be sure to then wrap the wound with a clean dressing.
An additional benefit to using coconut oil on wounds is it acts as a skin protectant. Covering a wound in coconut oil might help keep pathogens out, much the same way as petroleum jelly and zinc oxide that you find in diaper rash cream will.
Coconut oil is an effective carrier for topical medications, and if you prefer to treat your flock’s ailments naturally, then you’ll be excited to learn that coconut oil is known for its natural antibacterial properties.
Coconut oil is also soothing, particularly on skin that is healing. As skin dries during the healing process and forms a scab, it can start to pull and become inflamed, which can be painful. I’ve found that by applying coconut oil to the affected area, the pain and dryness are reduced. I’ve used a mixture of coconut oil and shea butter on myself as well when a cut became inflamed during the healing process and it soothed the pain quite well.
So, what is coconut oil good for? Well, I’m sure by now you no longer wonder. Whether you use it as part of your flock’s diet or as an effective first aid treatment, your chickens are sure to benefit.