Garlic and vinegar are useful, but not a cure
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.