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Treating organically raised poultry

Grandma's home remedies for raising chickens comes in handy for organic producers

Radio interview source: Jacquie Jacob, Extension Poultry Associate, University of Kentucky

 

Listen to the radio mp3 or read below

To raise chickens and sell the meat labeled as organic, no antibiotics, drugs, or synthetic parasiticides are allowed. Jacquie Jacob is an extension poultry associate at the University of Kentucky. She says unfortunately, there aren't many natural options.

Old-time remedies like diatomaceous earth are being used.

"You can use it externally in a dust bath to help control external parasites, or you can feed it to them to control internal parasites," says Jacob. "It's basically a rough material so that it is abrasive on anything that would want to inhabit the gut, so it's supposed to control internal parasites. It also dries out the outer coating of the external parasites so they die."

Jacob says other home remedies include plant-based essential oils, garlic, and pumpkin seeds. She believes many of these concoctions are overrated, but there are no other options. However, she notes commercial poultry operations are looking for alternatives to antibiotics, so there is research underway.

Organic regulations say if a chicken gets sick, it must be medically treated, or euthanized. If an antibiotic is used, the bird cannot be sold with an organic label. Disease prevention through biosecurity is a must on an organic farm.

"Making sure you're careful on where you buy your birds from, that they're coming from clean flocks, and making sure that people who have other poultry flocks don't come directly onto your farm to bring anything that they might bring from their farm to yours," says Jacob. "So we really promote biosecurity if you're into natural and organic poultry production."  

Farm hygiene is also important. Rotate feeding pastures to break worm cycles, and disinfect and sanitize equipment.

Here are more ideas for treating chicken maladies

 

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