In my more than 10 years as a vet, disease management is one of the biggest headaches that poultry farmers deal with.
Depending on the disease, the common remedy for most is the conventional poultry medicines.
Today, I want to enlighten you on some natural ways of dealing with some mild poultry diseases. Like in human beings, in poultry natural food options also play a big role in treatment of simple diseases and maintaining good health.
We use food and spices in our day-to-day lives but have we ever known that these foods are cure to ailments in your poultry flock? Let’s sample a few:
Ginger, pepper, salt, garlic, aloe vera and sour milk are just some of the food and spices that are medicinal in nature.
Farmers practising organic farming know this better. Let me stress that these natural medicines should be used alongside conventional drugs and vaccines but try as much as possible to include bio-security measures to fight off diseases.
These medications only apply to small-holder farmers that is farmers with 1-100 birds.
Ever wondered why some communities, especially Indians, swear by them? Pepper has been known to improve metabolism but in poultry it aids in killing parasites that cause digestive problems for instance coccidiosis and also kills worms by burning them. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon in chicken feed or feed to them free choice.
This particular spice alongside onions helps in boosting the bird’s immunity and also fights respiratory problems. Garlic will also kill external parasites as it produces sulphur in the body.
The sulphur in the chicken’s blood will overpower the parasites. To make it, add three cloves to five litres of water or a pinch or two of powdered garlic in dry feeds every day.
Ginger will boost appetite in chicken, help in digestive problems and is an immune booster. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Just add a small pinch of ginger powder to the feed, feed whole or grind it.
4.) Aloe vera
Aloe vera juice acts as an appetiser and also in treating wounds. Squeeze a few drops of aloe vera juice into the wound. It’s a natural antibiotic. It assists in curing victims of cannibalism. Apply it in the wounds of cannibalised birds and the bitter taste will deter the culprits.
5.) Fermented/sour milk
Sour milk acts as a probiotic and kills harmful bacteria in the intestines, therefore boosting immunity. It also prevents diarrhea. Add it to feeds to form lumps but do not drench. It can also be fed free choice.
Salt is poisonous to chicken but can be beneficial in case of heat stress. Be very careful with salt. In case of heat stress, salt can act as a good electrolyte in case of emergencies. You need 1 cup of water, ? teaspoon of salt and 1½ teaspoonful of baking powder. This is given to every bird.
7.) Pawpaw seeds
Pawpaw seeds act as good dewormers and also prevent coccidiosis infection. To make the mix, dry the seeds for two weeks and grind them. Mix 10gms of the powder in 10 litres of water.
8.) Pumpkin/ cucumber/ courgette seeds
When grounded, these seeds can be mixed in water to control worms. When using all these, make sure you use conventional drugs too but in a controlled manner. Avoid misuse of antibiotics and always vaccinate your birds.
[Dr Okuta Ngura is a veterinary technician well versed in poultry health and production. He works with farmers in East Africa and runs a Facebook page where he tackles farmers’ concerns]