Vinegar is a substance that is popping up everywhere. It seems like not a day goes by that we do not learn of a new use for vinegar, often a use that is so painfully easy that it is baffling that we were not doing just that all along. With its extraordinary cleaning properties, vinegar is a must-have for chicken keepers. Since it is mild and non-toxic, it does an excellent job of sprucing things up without doing harm to your animals. In fact, vinegar is more than just non-harmful; it is actually said to be good for your chickens as well! While research backing up the use of vinegar is not plentiful, testimonials from people who swear by its use are. Some of the touted uses for vinegar are:
1. Vinegar is good for the respiratory of your chickens. If you mix it in their water, vinegar can help fend off illness by boosting the immune system and because it has antibiotic-like qualities. Since vinegar is acetic, bacteria cannot thrive in an environment under the care of vinegar, which goes a long way towards prevention of illness. Vinegar can also aid in the thinning of mucus, so if you have a chicken that is already ill, start adding vinegar to that animal's water to the tune of a couple tablespoons each time you refill. If you are using metal waterers, you will have to switch to something else before you can use vinegar as the vinegar will cause a breakdown of metal containers, which can result in chemicals making their way into your chickens' water.
2. Speaking of waterers, you may be experiencing some buildup on yours that vinegar can fix. If you notice rings forming around waterers, you probably have a lot of iron and/or calcium in your water. This is not a problem in itself, but the residue left behind is as it can be a breeding ground for bacteria. To avoid or solve this problem, clean waterers with vinegar. Soak for a few minutes in vinegar dilute and the residue will soon wipe away.
3. Another item vinegar can clean up are your eggs. If you have freshly laid eggs that have grime on them, a quick submerging in vinegar will take care of that problem. About ten seconds of submersion should be enough to get the job done and give your eggs a fresh appearance.
4. Something else that could use an occasional vinegar soak are your chickens' feet. To aid in the prevention of illnesses such as Bumble Foot and other fungus, give your chickens' feet a vinegar spa treatment. Stand your chicken in some warm, shallow water mixed with vinegar to kill bacteria on their feet. A few minutes is all it takes, and you can even do some light scrubbing if you wish. Filling your tub with more water is also possible to clean the underside of your chicken if necessary.
5. Mixing vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spraying down your chickens is a good way to alleviate pest problems. Doing this once every week or so will help keep your chicken free of biting pests.
6. Also helpful is spraying coops and nesting boxes. With a mixture of water and vinegar, give your coop a thorough spraying. It will discourage pests while cleaning and deodorizing your coop at the same time. This is a very important step in protecting birds against the spread of illness amongst the flock as well.
7. Your incubator can benefit from a vinegar cleansing as well. After chicks hatch, a messy incubator is often left behind. Tackle that mess and prevent mold/mildew growth with a vinegar cleansing so the incubator is clean and ready to go for the next round of chicks.
The more we learn about vinegar and its uses, the harder it is not to stock up and go to town cleaning and disinfecting. Vinegar is an inexpensive way to keep your chickens and coop clean and disinfected in addition to being easy on you when it comes to use. With no residue or smell left behind (vinegar does have a scent but once the vinegar dries, the smell is gone), embracing vinegar as means to fullfill our cleaning needs is an easy choice.