Several months ago, the New York Times that commercial chicken processor, Bell & Evans, has been studying oregano as a natural antibiotic for their chickens. They have found that oregano oil and cinnamon specifically seem to work best at keeping pathogens at bay.
The study and use of herbal medicine for humans and animals is a well-documented and time-tested practice that predates Western medicine by centuries. Oregano is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics ever studied and has been found to be superior to many of the currently used antibiotics. The oil is more potent than the fresh or dried herb, but in any form, its hard to deny the power of oregano.
Not many scientific studies have been done on herbal remedies for poultry specifically. But that doesn't mean they don't work. Little by little it seems that more and more folks are seeking natural preventatives instead of turning to commercial wormers, antibiotics and other medications in an effort to raise their chickens as naturally as they can. We eat their eggs, so even more than other animals we raise, we seem to want our chickens to be chemical-, hormone- and antibiotic-free.
It has been observed that wild birds line their nests with herbs, flowers and weeds. We also know that chickens seem to instinctively know what is good for them and what is not, what they need and in what amounts (think free-choice oyster shell or grit).
Why not grow some herbs for your chickens. (Oregano, thyme, lavender and mint are especially beneficial as well as fragrant.) Toss the fresh leaves into your coop and nesting box and let your chickens decide. They'll eat some of the herbs, lay their eggs on some and ignore some, letting those dry and scent the coop. It's a win-win for you and for your chickens.
So what do you think? Can you keep your chickens healthy without the use of chemicals and antibiotics?
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