Does Apple Cider Vinegar help prevent Coccidiosis in Chickens
Before we even begin to tackle the question, "Does Apple Cider Vinegar help prevent Coccidiosis in Chickens" let's first outline what Coccidiosis is. Coccidiosis is an infection which can spread through a flock and cause death within days if left untreated. Microscopic Parasites called Coccidia causes coccidiosis in chickens.
Coccidia infects the digestive tract of all chickens. Chickens in a flock develop a natural resistance to a reasonable number of Coccidia in the digestive tract. However, if a hen has a compromised immune system or is unwell, they may not be able to fight high levels of coccidia infection.
All chickens naturally carry some coccidia in their intestine. The coccidia parasites in small numbers do not cause any symptoms or ill-health. However, signs of coccidiosis that needs treatment include:
Signs of Coccidiosis in Chickens include:
- Bloody or watery diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
- Pale combs and wattles
- Droopy posture and wings
- Ruffled or puffed up feathers
- Droopy, dull or glazed eyes
- Poor growth in chicks
Most vulnerable chickens are generally:
- Recently hatched chicks and younger birds that have not yet developed sufficient immunity to the parasite
- Sick or unwell meaning they are immunocompromised
- Suffering malnutrition
- Afflicted with other diseases affecting their immune system
- Suffering high parasite loads or stress
For more information on the available treatments and other prevention methods and suggestions read our comprehensive article, Coccidiosis in Chickens - Signs, Symptoms and Treatment.
An Apple a day...
We've all heard the expression. But really how could Apple Cider Vinegar offer any defence against something as aggressive as Coccidiosis in Chickens? At this time there is not a great deal of extensive scientific evidence to support ACV as a treatment for Coccidiosis, there is indeed some merit behind the claims. Coccidia lives inside the digestive tract of chickens. In there they find a perfect environment from which to thrive and lay eggs. Any change to that environment may make it simply uninhabitable.
Does Apple Cider Vinegar help prevent Coccidiosis in Chickens?
The most readily available research is a Study published in the Polish Journal of Veterinary Science. Despite their conclusion at the end of the study acknowledging that the study was not large enough to be a complete fact, without question, their findings were certainly a 5-star review for Apple Cider Vinegar and Coccidiosis. We make reference to the opening extract as below:
The objective of this study was to investigate the anticoccidial effect of apple cider vinegar added to drinking water with the anticoccidial effect of amprolium to feed broiler chicken.
The study has adopted an observational approach to evaluate the anticoccidial effect of apple cider vinegar on broiler chicken. The antioxidative changes were measured adding natural apple cider vinegar to drinking water. Four hundred and fifty broiler chickens were purchased from the local market and distributed into three groups (T+vc: positive control, T-vc: negative control Tv: apple cider vinegar) with 150 chickens in each group. The three groups were further replicated into 3 blocks each containing 50 chickens. The groups were fed a balanced diet, amprolium was added to the feed of the positive control group, and apple cider vinegar was added to the water of
Tv group. Measurements of the different variables were started from week 3, at the end of each week 3 birds were chosen randomly, blood samples were collected via the wing vein, and fecal oocysts were counted from intestinal contents of each individual bird using the McMaster technique.
Broiler in the control groups T+ve and T-ve showed clinical signs of coccidiosis (blood in feces) and the number of coccidial oocytes in feces increased with time.
In the vinegar group, no clinical signs of coccidiosis were observed. Concentrations of total antioxidants and catalase enzyme activity significantly increased (p≤0.05); while malondialdehyde concentration significantly decreased (p≤0.05).
The study found of in particular note,
- ACV has an anticoccidial effect in poultry
- Causes a decrease in the number of coccidial oocytes in the faeces
- aids in lowering the resistance to drug treatment
In recent years, there has been an emergence of drug-resistant strains of coccidia. This is becoming a significant problem. New methods currently being trialled to help stop the development of drug resistance in coccidia include changing the type of drugs and the "shuttle program" which is a planned change of the first drug in the middle of the bird's growth period. There is also a number of larger commercial operations starting to employ ACV into the drink water of their chickens as another line of defence.
Organic Backyard keepers around the world swear by Apple Cider Vinegar as an immune booster which aids in preventing Coccidiosis. We found a clip of this American lady who is convinced by slackening off her ACV it directly caused the perfect environment for Coccidiosis to take hold of her chickens.
One thing is certain, there are thousands of people around the globe which use ACV for their chickens health. It is still also very important to remember that whilst ACV may have anticoccidial properties if an outbreak occurs you must immediately treat with a medication like Amprolium or Baycox. But from the feedback of many customers we have that use ACV, and the reports from people all over the internet, ACV if administered at the right dose seems to have tremendous positive feedback.
Does ACV have any other benefits for chickens?
- Increases calicum absorption
- Have mild antibotic properties
- Full of vitamins and minerals
- Reduced the pH level in the crop (first part of chickens digestive system) helping to fight any ingested bad microbes or bacterias.
- May reduce internal worms (chickens still shall require worming)
We recommend ACV to Backyard chicken keepers for the overall health of their flock. The best way to administer Apple Cider Vinegar is with a Dine A Chook Medication drinker. We have a special package deal at the moment which includes a two-litre medication drinker with twin German brand lubing nipples as well as Kilverm Worming liquid. We have put the link at the bottom of this page for your convenience.
How to dilute ACV for Chickens
The beauty of Apple Cider Vinegar is it so affordable and has so many potential benefits.
Diluting to ratio is easy. Simply mix 2.5 - 3ml of ACV with 1lt of fresh water. Serve to chickens every two to three days.
Dine A Chook Articles
Dine A Chook Products