When I posted about making your own wine vinegar the other day, I mentioned that I use vinegar in my hen's water. Several people asked why I would do such a thing. It's a small thing that I've been doing since the beginning for their health.
Most of us have heard of the health benefits of apple cider vinegar (ACV). It appears to be one of those all around miracle cures. Useful in treating a wide range of symptoms. The same is true in your animals. Just as we need to add beneficials to our gut, so do they.
First, it's imperative that you use a plastic waterer. If you can get glass, even better, but I've never found one. The metal waterers will react with the vinegar and cause problems with the water. I have a 1 gallon sized water jug. To this I add about 1 tablespoon of ACV, or other active vinegar. It must be a live cultured vinegar. The dead stuff without a mother will not have the same effects.
The first nice thing that you will notice, is that the vinegar will keep down the algae in your water. If you have to give animals water, you will be quite familiar with the algae that grows in your water. It looks yucky and takes quite a bit to clean out.
The vinegar also acts as a dewormer for your birds. It can help to perk up sickly looking birds. One of the best things I've found is that it helps to boost the calcium absorption from their food. This will give you harder shells with less supplementation of either oyster shell, or whatever else you use to give your birds calcium.
I'm always looking for old time, natural ways to keep my animals healthy, so this was right up my alley. With my new found ability to make my own vinegar, it made it even better. The extra mothers can be fed to the birds as well, adding even more benefits to their diet. A healthy gut is good for everyone. Even chickens.