Poultry farming is unarguably a very lucrative type of livestock farming. The ability to creatively reduce the cost of production without any defect in yield makes any business lucrative and profitable. This idea is not exempted in poultry production. The use of herbs for chickens is a very cheap way to reduce the cost of poultry production; it allows you as a poultry farmer to earn more at reduced expenses.
Some factors actually make poultry farmers spend more than expected; they are chiefly diseases and feeding. These two factors are crucial in the production of any livestock enterprise. Feeding and medications take about 75 and 3 percent respectively of the total cost of production in a poultry farming business; this simply means if you want to earn more as a poultry farmer, you must find a means to tweak these two factors, feeding and medication. The safest means to tweak these factors simultaneously is the use of herbs.
What are herbs?
Herbs are naturally occurring plant materials that can be used for feeding, medicine, and flavouring. They are usually of high nutritional importance. Herbs can be wholly served as feed or supplement. Some are added as additives, such as sunflower to brighten the yolk color of poultry eggs.
In this article, I have compiled a list of best herbs for chickens that can be used for organic poultry farming to perform specific purposes; these herbs have been scientifically proven to perform specific functions in poultry chicken. They are anthelmintics, colorant, nutrient supplements, and antibiotics.
So what herbs are good for chickens?
Any plant material or part that is not hairy but succulent with proven nutritional importance are good for chickens. These are herbs to plant for chickens; they contain appreciable nutrients and can supplement your poultry feed.
- Pawpaw leaves: Pawpaw leaf is a proven beneficial herb for poultry; when dried, it contains about 70% Crude protein. Not only that, pawpaw leaf extract have anthelminthic property; it can be used as organic dewormer for chicken.
- Vermonia amygydalina: Popularly called Ewuro in Yoruba, Onugbu in Igbo, Chusar-doki in Hausa. This herb is not too palatable because of its bitter taste but it is very effective in treating various poultry diseases and parasitic worms. It is also a good antibiotic as it helps to boost the immune system of the chickens.
- Ginger: Ginger is an effective antibiotic and antiviral herb. It is very effective in treating coccidiosis in poultry and other poultry diseases.
- Garlic: Like Ginger, Garlic is also a very effective antibiotic. It may be served wholly or mixed with ginger to cure various poultry diseases and infections.
- Christmas Melon: Also known as Tangiri, Christmas melon is another effective antiviral herb. It can be used to cure Newcastle disease in poultry.
- Azolla: Azolla is one of the best herbs for chickens to eat. It is rich in protein and other nutrients needed by chickens to grow well. Azolla can be served to improve the quality of the chicken’s product; it can improve the egg yolk color, the taste of the meat and their nutritional benefits.
- Scent leaf: Botanically called Ocimum gratissimum, Efirin in Yoruba, Nchanwu leaf in Igbo and Daidoya in Hausa. Scent leaf is a very powerful antibiotic; it contains several essential minerals and vitamins; such as: Calcium, Phosphorus, Iron, Potassium, Carbon and Vitamin A. It has the ability to improve the immune system of the chicken greatly when served on a regular basis.
If you run or willing to run an organic poultry farm, these herbs are essential to the health of your flock. These herbs are natural and non-toxic to the chickens. They are commonly served orally through the drinking water; however, dried herbs for chickens can be added to the feed instead of the water.
Dosage: The fact is, there is no precise dosage you can give your birds but because of economic reasons, they are mostly served at 1ML to one liter of water. If you want to operate an organic poultry farm, you can build your birds’ immunity on these herbs by serving them on a regular basis like fortnightly.
However, some herbs are poisonous and unpalatable to the chickens. You need to be wary of these herbs if you want or you operate a free-range poultry farm.
These herbs are:
- Fresh cassava leaves: It contains Hydrocyanide, which is an antinutrient. It can greatly impair the health of the chicken or cause death when fed heavily.
- Tobacco leaves: These contain a stimulant called Nicotine. This compound can impair the health of the chicken; hence, it should be avoided.
- Irish potato leaves: This is another poisonous herb. It contains Solanine, which is another antinutrient.
When you serve your chicken herbs, you enjoy several benefits. Apart from building a solid immune system, the health of your consumer is also secured because as they consume your chicken or its product, it helps build their immune system too, hence, giving your product a good repute.
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