Emergencies/Illness Feeding

Natural Remedy For Chickens: Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), a perennial herb and relative of ginger, gives the yellow colour to curries in Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern cooking. Some folks aren’t keen on the pungent aroma of curry, but I love it: Indian food is my favourite and I often use turmeric in my kitchen.

In addition to being a versatile spice, turmeric has a long history of use in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat inflammatory conditions and as a digestive aid and liver cleanse. Western science has confirmed what some folks have known for centuries: that the compound curcumin has a number of health benefits against inflammatory conditions, microbial pathogens, bacteria, fungi and intestinal worms.

I haven’t used turmeric internally to deal with my flocks’ health issues, but I can recommend a couple of applications for external use.

One of my Bitchin’ Chickens followers, Crystal, contacted me about one of her rescue hens that had a severe case of scaly leg mites. The scales on her legs actually came off in a couple of big chunks, exposing the underlying tissue. She used a turmeric poultice directly on her hen’s  leg and wrapped them. The hen made a full recovery.

A few months later, I offered to help with four of neighbour Pietro’s hens that had bumblefoot on both feet. I’ve renounced using a scalpel to cut the lesion out, in favour of Epsom salt soaks and the use of drawing salves and triple antibiotic polysproin. I remembered Crystal’s success with turmeric and suggested we try it. After soaking their feet in hottish water and Epsom salt I applied some turmeric paste (which I picked up for free from our local food recovery program) directly on the foot pad, then bound with vet wrap and thin strips of duct tape. I am pleased to report it’s an effective, pain free way of treating bacterial infections.

On The Benefits For Chickens

  • Recent reports have suggested that the efficacy of turmeric in poultry feed could replace the use of antibiotics.
  • Feeding powdered turmeric to chicken has helped to improve the morbidity and mortality of broiler chickens without side effects to the consumer.
  • Supplementing feed with turmeric meal effectively stimulated the digestive system, enhanced the growth rate and weight of broiler chickens.
  • Increases egg production and increased yolk weight  
  • Dewormer: turmeric significantly reduced the length and width of adult roundworms in infected chickens’ digestive systems.
  • Turmeric (600 mg/kg of body weight) showed healing effects and restored the integrity of intestinal mucosa in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Supplementation (5 mg/kg diet) provided chickens some protection against the negative effects of mycotoxins on the liver and kidneys.
  • Ascites Support:  5g/kg of turmeric reduced mortality.
  • Regulates cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Stimulates bile secretion and bile flow which maintain liver health.
  • Boosts the immune system, which provides natural antibiotic capability against invading pathogens.
  • Prevents the progression of inflammation.
  • Repairs cellular damage.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared turmeric as a safe dietary element to be used in human diet as well as in animal feed.
  • No adverse effects of turmeric meal on poultry diet when used in moderation. Be aware, that turmeric in larger quantities can act as a blood thinner, so do not give to your birds in cases of bleeding.

Credits: Everyday Health; Poultry DVM; Symbiosis (Int’l Journal of Poultry & Fisheries Sciences). Featured Photo: WebMD

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