ACV 1 

If you keep chickens, chances are you’ve heard that adding apple cider vinegar (ACV) with “the mother” to their drinking water is good for them. The benefits of apple cider vinegar in humans have been touted for centuries, some have been substantiated and others, scientifically disproven. Its use in chickens is a more recent concept and as such, is less studied. Using ACV in the drinking water of chicken improves gut health, reduces slime in the waterers and combats heat stress. If the only thing ACV did was keep my waterers cleaner in between scrubbings, that would be good enough for me, but it accomplishes so much more than that; perhaps not as much as some claim (it is not a natural wormer, for instance) but it does impart many benefits.

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Not one to rely on hollow, qualifying phrases such as "it is said that ACV..."' or "it is believed that ACV..." I set out to learn more of the science behind the claimed benefits to chickens of ACV. I read a few studies that left me with more questions than answers, so I  brought them to a poultry expert for demystification. I asked The Chicken Vet for his expert opinion about the use of ACV in poultry water based on his education, research and experience; the following was his response:

“The value of vinegar has long been exploited by professional poultry farmers. Acidifying water alters the gut’s bacteria, slowing the growth of nasty bacteria, and giving a boost to good bacteria. Acid also helps control coccidiosis and Clostridium bacteria, which can cause a fatal disease called necrotic enteritis. Vinegar (acetic acid) is a cheap, accessible source of acid that anyone can find. It is, however, not a great acidifier...other organic acids such a butyric or proprionic acids actually work better...(the reason revolves around the pKa of the acid....high-school chemistry, anyone?) I have never found any study that showed any value to apple cider vinegar specifically, and several studies (the Journal of Applied Poultry Science in 2011, and Asian Australasian Journal of Animal Science), showed that broiler (meat) chickens grew slower when fed 0.5% apple cider vinegar or formic acid vs. pure water.

Acidified water also affects laying hens by making the calcium in her feed a little less digestible (again, based on chemistry....calcium is a positive ion, and dissociates better in a more alkaline environment.....seriously, who ever knew that this stuff might matter?). Professional farmers regularly add baking soda to their feed when heat stress is expected....this maintains egg shell quality when hens feed consumption drops due to the heat.

4/23/2016 3:52:15 AM

Hi, I recently put some ACV in my chickens water and since then the egg production has gone way down. I was getting 8-9 eggs a day and now its only 3-4. Could the vinegar have anything to do with this? But thanks for the recipes I can't wait for it to warm up some more to try these.

10/16/2014 12:41:34 AM

I was wondering if you could help me find the site where it explains how to make raw acv in a week from filtered and pasteurized acv, i've been searching for it and i keep coming upon your site. I saw it last week i came upon it by accident while searching on how to make acv, I'm currently starting some from scratch but that takes forever, and I wanted to start using daily as soon as possible and can't afford to purchase the raw till then, it seems to me it was on a homesteading blog where they used it all the time I believe to soak their feed if you could help me in anyway i would truly appreciate it TYIA Lori aka crazygrammy37

5/24/2013 5:08:36 PM

I you made it with hard cider, couldn't you just use Bragg's since it has the mother?

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