Gar­lic and vine­gar are use­ful, but not a cure

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

GAR­LIC AND VINE­GAR (usu­ally ap­ple cider) are of­ten rec­om­mended as nat­u­ral cures for worm and mite in­fes­ta­tions, but there is no sci­en­tific proof that they work.

What sci­en­tific test­ing has found is that treat­ing a flock’s wa­ter sup­ply with ei­ther cider or white vine­gar (5ml to 5 litres of wa­ter) for a couple of days each month will as­sist gut health, which in turn aids a bird’s re­sis­tance to par­a­sitic in­vaders. It acts by al­ter­ing the ph of the gut con­tents but the rea­son you can’t use it con­tin­u­ously is be­cause it will also kill off the ‘good’ gut bac­te­ria nec­es­sary for healthy di­ges­tion.

Re­search has shown a top­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tion of gar­lic juice and wa­ter can re­duce (but did not ex­ter­mi­nate) an in­fes­ta­tion of north­ern fowl mite in lay­ing hens.

How­ever, there were some nat­u­ral reme­dies that were more suc­cess­ful. UK poul­try sci­en­tists tested 50 plant es­sen­tial oils for controlling red mites and found gar­lic, thyme, tea tree and laven­der achieved a 100 per­cent kill over 24 hours (see recipe at right).

They also found a 92% re­duc­tion in mite num­bers in coops that had a trap con­tain­ing 20% oil in wa­ter com­pared to those houses with traps con­tain­ing just wa­ter alone. method Mix and spray onto birds weekly. Can also be sprayed onto coop sur­faces. method Re­move husks off cloves and mix in a food pro­ces­sor un­til creamy. Use a rub­ber spat­ula to push pulp through a fine mesh sieve, then put the re­sult into a cof­fee fil­ter and again push pulp through to cre­ate a juice. Add 10ml to ev­ery 100ml of wa­ter and spray on birds’ skin once a week.

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