Chicken Apothecary
Saturday
May102014

DIY Flock Block Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups starter/grower, grower/finisher, flock raiser or layer crumbles

2 cups scratch

1 cup of any Omega3 feed supplement such as Omega Egg Maker,  Omega Ultra Egg or Nutrena Feather Fixer

3 eggs, beaten well & shells, finely crushed

4 cups oatmeal

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup cracked corn

¾ cup wheat germ

¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup of herbs (**see herb choices below based on need)

½ cup raisins, cranberries finely or ½ cup diced apples

1 cup applesauce or pumpkin (my girls seem to like the pumpkin better)

2 cups molasses

3 cups water

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

Instructions

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl

2. Mix the eggs, molasses and coconut oil in a separate bowl.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Pour your mixture into greased pans (see below for suggestions)

5. Bake for thirty to forty-five minutes at 325 degrees. You may need to

bake slightly longer if you are using a deeper pan. The block is ready when

the edges have become dark and the middle is very firm.

6. Allow to cool completely. Serve it to your chickens.

The following herbs can be mixed and matched into your flock block:

Laying Stimulants: fennel, marjoram, nasturtium and parsley Respiratory Health: lemon balm, dill, oregano and thyme

General Health: cilantro, sage, spearmint and tarragon

Orange Egg Yolks: alfalfa, basil, dandelion greens and marigolds

Feather Growth: anise, fennel, garlic, mint and parsley

Any of these herbs, or a combination of them, can be mixed into your block   

 

Friday
May092014

Coop Spritzer Spray

The essential oils I’ve included in this recipe are helpful in creating a

calming atmosphere as well as repelling insects. 

Ingredients:

2 cups white vinegar

2 cups distilled water

1 tablespoon real vanilla extract

10 drops lavender essential oil

10 drops lemongrass essential oil

10 drops geranium essential oil 

Other Essential Oil Options:

Lemon, peppermint, citronella, wild orange, benchmark thyme, bergamot, and rosemary. 

 Instructions:

 1. Combine all ingredients and mix well.

 2. Pour into a spray bottle and shake well before spritzing.

 

Sunday
May042014

Herb Garden For Chickens

    

My herbs never last long unless I place them in the house.  The girls love herbs.  Not only do they love to eat them many herbs are full of healing properties and nutritional benefits.  If there is any left dry them and use as a treat for nect winter.  Get Planting!  

Plant Name With Properties and Notable Benefits:  

Alfalfa: Source of protein, amino acids, source of chlorophyll 

Basil Antibacterial  

Calendula: Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, digestive aid,

Catnip: Repels insects

Cilantro: Source of vitamin A, antioxidant

Chickweed: Soothing & healing, calcium, potassium, digestive aid

 Comfrey:Protein, amino acids, calcium

Dandelion: Various vitamins and minerals, calcium, iron

Dill: Promotes respiratory health, antioxidant

Fennel: Laying stimulant, reproductive health

Garlic: Laying stimulant, antibacterial, natural dewormer

Lavender: Calming and relaxing, antibacterial, antiseptic

Lemon Balm: Antiviral, calming,

Marjoram: Laying stimulant

Marsh Mallow Root: Supports respiratory and digestive systems

Mint: Insecticide, digestive system,

Nasturtium: Antiseptic, natural dewormer

Nettle: Calcium, protein, vitamins A, C, & K, dewormer

Oregano: Antibiotic, antiviral, antiparasitic

Parsley: Laying stimulant

Plantain: Protein, minerals, vitamin C, K, & B

Rosemary: Promotes respiratory health, repels insects

Sage: Antioxidant, repels insects

Sunflower Seeds: Oil and fat

Thyme: Antibacterial, natural dewormer

 

Friday
Feb072014

Holistic Treatment Cabinet

I keep a well-stocked supply cabinet not only for personal use but also for animals. I get a lot of my supplies local from an herbal apothecary in Boulder but there are many online resources as well.  Keep the following items on hand to be prepared for a variety of situations.

The following ingredients are staples for any holistic treatment.  

White distilled vinegar (both 5% and 10%)

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is one of those things that people claim can cure pretty much everything from cancer to a broken heart. Its purported health claims are many, and of course, skeptics like to counter that they are all old wives’ tales. But many farmers and homesteaders alike enjoy using apple cider vinegar to improve the health of their animals. There are very few clinical studies investigating the claims regarding ACV, and the studies that are available are geared more toward human ailments anyway. If you are looking for cold, hard evidence that feeding ACV will absolutely improve the health and wellbeing of your animals, you’ll probably be disappointed.

What is it?

Apple cider vinegar is a highly-acidic substance made from, apples. You can make vinegar from a host of other fruits, too, but apples are definitely the most common option. Through the process of fermentation, bacteria and yeast transform the sugars from apple juice, peelings, or flesh into alcohol. Then in the second step, this alcohol is transformed into acetic acid. Apple cider vinegar contains high levels of potassium and malic acid, and can help to balance the pH levels in the stomach. 

Other reported benefits:

  • It may aid in digestion.
  • It may aid in the respiratory health of poultry by clearing airways of phlegm.
  • Acidic properties can help to inhibit the growth of bacteria in water bowls.
  • Help to repel flies and other insects when used topically.

How to use it:

When purchasing apple cider vinegar, I suggest sticking with the raw, unfiltered versions. These are different than the crystal-clear varieties that you’ll find in most canning sections of the grocery store. The unfiltered varieties will be cloudy and require a good shaking before you can use them. However, they contain more of the good stuff than their pasteurized, filtered counterparts.

Although dosage recommendations greatly vary, a good rule of thumb is to use one to two cups of ACV per twenty gallons of water. It’s possible to mix up a more potent solution (such as one part vinegar to one part water), but a strong solution like this one should not be the only source of water, as some animals might be less-than-impressed at first.

General tips: Never add vinegar to metal. The acid can cause the metal corrode and release toxins into the water.     

For your chickens:

The most common way to offer ACV to your chickens is by putting it in their drinking water. Dosages vary, but one tablespoon of ACV per one gallon of water appears to be a common ratio. Add ACV to you flock’s water about once per week. Some prefer to add it daily, while others stick with a monthly schedule.

Witch hazel

Witch Hazel extract is produced from the leaves and bark of the North American shrub Witch-hazel, Hamamelis virginiana. It has astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties, making it an invaluable ingredient for many different medicinal preparations. 

Diatamous Earth – 

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is the fossilized remains of ancient algae (diatoms). It is a very fine, powdery substance that is a favorite remedy among many naturally-inclined farmers. DE’s effectiveness comes from more of a physical standpoint than a chemical one. I feels like a fine powder to us, it’s actually abrasive to insects, and is thought to function as a pesticide by absorbing the oils from the insect’s exoskeleton, thereby drying them out.

Here are a few of its more common uses:

  • Mixed into stored grain to keep insects at bay
  • A useful addition to a chicken dust bath
  • Spread on barn floors to cut down on flies
  • Sprinkled on plants as a natural pesticide
  • Used as an internal dewormer

 Cautions:

  • Only purchase food-grade DE. The kind sold for swimming pools is different and not suitable for use on your animals or plants. Sometimes you can find food-grade DE at your local grain mill or farm store.
  • Wear a dust mask while applying handling DE. While it doesn’t contain any toxic chemicals, it is a very fine particulate which can easily irritate your lungs.
  • If you are applying it in your garden, remember it will kill beneficial insects as well as the troublesome ones, so proceed with caution.

Garlic – Raw or Powdered

Garlic is known as a vermifuge, natural antibiotic and powerful antiviral. Some people even claim that feeding garlic can help an animal repel flies. It can be used both topically and internally, and is an excellent addition to homemade deworming formulas.

Kelp

With the dozens of different supplements, minerals, and vitamins available at the feed store today, it’s comforting to know there is a natural alternative that will fit the needs of your chickens.

Kelp is seaweed, or algae. It can be purchased in dried, granular form. Kelp contains over fifty different trace minerals, including iodine and selenium.

Baking Soda

When it comes to the most versatile ingredients to have around your

homestead, baking soda comes in second only to vinegar. Like many others, I depend on baking soda to be my non-toxic scouring powder and home deodorizer. But did you know baking soda is useful in the coop as well?

Baking Soda as Coop Freshener

Baking soda is brilliant for absorbing odors, not only in your refrigerator, but also in your barn. If you are mucking out a particularly smelly stall, baking soda can be sprinkled on the floor before the fresh bedding is laid back down.

However, keep in mind that a properly managed coop shouldn’t have an overly offensive smell, so if this is an issue you deal with regularly, I encourage to read my article on deep litter method.

Hydrogen peroxide

Epsom salts

Essential oils: Please note that this is only a partial list; many other healing oils can also be incorporated.  Please research and carefully use essential oils.

Lemon:  Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, ant rheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, digestive, diuretic, laxative, sedative, vermifuge. 

Helichrysum: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, cicatrizant, diuretic, expectorant, hepatic, nervine, stimulant. 

Lavender: I like spike lavender but any will do.  Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, cholagogue, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, insecticide, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, vulnerary. 

Melaleuca (Tea Tree):  Analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral, decongestant, deodorant, diaphoretic, expectorant, fungicidal, immune stimulant, insecticide, vulnerary 

Frankincense:  Analgesic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, tonic, vulnerary 

Eucalyptus:  Analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antineuralgic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, decongestant, deodorant, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, vermifuge, vulnerary.

Peppermint: Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, cordial, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, insecticide, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, vasoconstrictor, vermifuge. 

Benchmark Thyme: Antimicriobial, while still being gentler than all thyme strains than pure c.t. linalool. The chemistry profile appears as a combination of thyme and tea tree, and it has been extensively researched to combat MRSA, the "superbug" bacteria that have become resistant to synthetic antibiotics. We strongly recommend its use for any antimicrobial purpose. 

Myrrh: Anticatarrhal, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, astringent, carminative, cicatrisant, emmenagogue, expectorant, fungicidal, sedative, stomachic, tonic, uterine, vulnerary. 

Carrier oils:  The term “carrier oil” encompasses hundreds of different oils and butters. In the most basic sense, the word “carrier” serves to distinguish oils that are not “essential” oils. Common carrier oils include olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, canola oil, sweet almond oil, walnut oil, and more.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil works wonders for dry and damaged skin, cuts, bruises, and speeds the healing while it fights infection. Coconut oil forms a protective barrier to hold in moisture while penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin or chicken legs to helping to keep connective tissues strong and supple. 

Basic herbs

Please note that this is only a partial list, many other healing herbs can also be incorporated.  Please research and carefully use herbs.

Arnica flowers: Can help treat physical trauma, bruises, bunions, strains, sprains, some kinds of arthritis, and muscle pain. Use immediately after strenuous exertion or injury to prevent, relieve, and reduce swelling, bruises and pain.

Burdock root: For treating psoriasis, eczema, and skin infections.

Calendula flowers:  Wonderfully healing with all-around healing properties useful for a wide variety of skin irritations and conditions including wounds, insect bites, rashes, scrapes, abrasions, cuts, inflammations, and much more.  Suitable for sensitive skin and babies.

Chamomile flowers: Hemorrhoids, minor abrasions, cuts, scrapes, and wounds.

Chickweed: Soothing, helps with skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema, minor burns, rashes, and other skin irritations.

Comfrey leaf and/or root: Relieves pain, swelling, promotes the growth of muscle, cartilage, and bone. Assists with healing a wide variety of conditions including sprains, eczema, dermatitis, viral skin infections, broken bones, arthritis, wounds, and bruises.

Echinacea herb and/or root: Antibacterial, beneficial for sores, wounds, insect bites and stings.

Goldenseal leaf and/or root: Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, useful for treating wounds and skin conditions.

Lavender flowers: Soothing, calming, relieves hemorrhoids, pain, has healing properties beneficial for wounds and numerous skin conditions.

Myrrh Gum powder: Antiseptic properties, used for cuts, scrapes, scratches, and abrasions.

Nettle leaf:  Anti-inflammatory, an effective treatment for many skin conditions.

Oregon Grape root: Skin disinfectant, antibacterial, anti-microbial, helps heal wounds.

Plantain leaf: Antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antitoxic properties. Helps speed the recovery process, prevents infection, relieves and soothes insect bites and stings, pain, poison ivy, itching, rashes, sores, bruises, blisters, and damaged skin.

St. John’s Wort: Craft the deep red-colored oil from fresh flowers.  Anti-inflammatory and astringent properties.  Beneficial for wounds, cuts, bruises, swelling, varicose veins, insect bites and stings, nerve damage, scrapes, rashes, burns, and pain.

Thyme: A strong antiseptic used for cuts, scrapes, and sore muscles.

Yarrow Flowers: Apply to bruises, sprains, wounds, cuts, rashes, eczema, scrapes, and areas with swelling and bleeding. 

Beeswax: Useful for making your salves. 

Liquid castile soap

Biodegradable liquid dish soap

This list will probaly keep growing.  This is just the most common that I use.