The use of traditional medicine for chickens has been an ancient way of raising healthy chicken at low cost without compromising the quality of the chicken’s products, egg, or meat. Ayurvedic medicine simply means herbal medicine; it involves managing the health of poultry birds with herbs and medicines derived from natural sources.
Ayurvedic medicine must be revived and standardized into the poultry industry. The growing population has warranted the need to produce healthy food for the populace. According to Wattagnet, 128 million tons of chicken products were consumed in 2019. Herbal medicine has been proven to be highly effective in poultry production, in terms of the cost of production and quality of production. One of the ways to raise chickens in a sustainable production system is the use of herbs as a major health management factor of the flock.
The use of herbs as medicines for poultry birds greatly improves the quality of the chicken products by increasing the nutrient composition and the taste of the products. The most beneficial of all is, chickens raised with herbs are free from toxins and do not threaten the health of the consumer. Apart from the antibiotic resistance exhibited by some new strains of poultry disease pathogen, antibiotics used in poultry have been observed to have residual effects on chickens and the consumers. This can greatly impair the health status of the consumer.
Modern herbal medicine can substitute conventional antibiotics and other medicines used to improve the health of the chickens. There are some herbs that chickens cannot eat; examples are highly lignified plant parts; this is why herbal drugs are made from succulent plant parts like the leaves and roots.
Having read various research works and studies on antiquity herbal medicines and phytomedicine or phytotherapy, it is a great pleasure to share with you various medicinal plants for poultry and the diseases or infection they treat.
Ayurvedic Treatments For Chickens
While several studies are being carried out on other livestock animals, some medicinal herbs have been standardized for the treatment of various diseases in chickens. We now have medicinal plants that treat various poultry diseases and immune boosters.
Medicinal Herbs For Viral Diseases In Poultry
Newcastle virus disease and fowlpox disease are the most important virus diseases in chicken. The management of Newcastle disease is very extensive; this disease affects birds of all ages. This is why building the chickens’ immunity through vaccination is important from day one.
Newcastle disease can be treated naturally using various medicinal plants. The natural treatment of Newcastle disease can be achieved by treating the secondary infections associated with the disease. Till this present moment, there is no cure for viral diseases; however, secondary infections can be treated such that the birds acquire a strong immunity and resistance to the disease.
Have you heard of Christmas melon?
Laganaria breviflorus, commonly known as Christmas melon is a known antiviral herb for poultry. This herb is very effective at treating Newcastle disease naturally. This herb was used in research work during my diploma as an antiviral agent to control Newcastle disease and other viral diseases naturally.
Artemisia annua, commonly known as sweet wormwood is another medicinal plant I found from this research material. This herb can treat Newcastle disease naturally. It was found that sweet wormwood extracts inhibited the proliferation and multiplication of Newcastle Disease Virus (NDV) in chicken embryos without impairing the health status of the chickens.
The herbal preparations of these medicinal plants to treat viral diseases in poultry, especially Newcastle disease is simple. All you need is the extracts from these herbs. They can be used as a curative and preventive measures for Newcastle virus disease; they are non-toxic.
Anti-Microbial Herbal Medicine For Poultry
Microbial infection is very common among poultry birds; the good news is, microbial infections can be controlled and prevented using proven ayurvedic medicines.
Microbes are everywhere and they are usually in battle with the immune system of the birds. Chickens with a high immune system tend to suppress the effect of the microbes; on the other hand, chickens with depressed or compromised immune systems go down on infections, which will ultimately affect the productivity of the birds.
Research and studies have revealed some herbal plants that can be used as antimicrobial medicines for poultry. There are good numbers of these herbs but I will share with you common herbs you can easily come by.
Neem plant, Azadirachta indica, is one of the most prominent broad-spectrum herbal medicines. Neem has different biologically active substances like azadirachtin, nimbin, salanin, meliacin etc.; there various parts of the neem plant that can be used to treat different infections and diseases in chickens.
A study on neem leaf revealed that neem leaf possesses a broad-spectrum antimicrobial property as it was concluded to be a potent anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-malarial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant agent for chicken. Of all the parts of the neem plant, its leaf is commonly used as ayurvedic medicine because it contains a good number of beneficial metabolites. Neem leaf is a natural treatment for mycoplasma in chickens.
Garlic, Allium sativum, is another medicinal plant I would recommend as an antimicrobial herb for poultry. Farmers practicing natural poultry farming must have garlic in the list of the flock’s medication.
According to this research, garlic possesses an excellent antimicrobial property. Personally, I do recommend garlic as antibiotics and anticoccidial drugs for chickens. A better combination for highly effective antimicrobial action is the use of garlic and ginger extract. This herbal mix is a great shot for all microbial infections and can serve as a great natural immune booster for chickens.
Bitter leaf (Vermonia amygydalina) and Scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) are another natural antimicrobial herb for poultry. Bitter leaf is a potent organic treatment of coccidiosis in poultry; I have several poultry farmers that use the bitter leaf to treat coccidiosis and other related infections in poultry. It is natural and very effective.
Scent leaf, like ginger and garlic, is a highly potent natural antibiotic for chicken. It is good as curative measures and preventive measures; aside from complementing the immune system of the chicken, scent leaf greatly improves the taste of the meat and makes the egg more nutritious.
Herbal Medicine For Ectoparasites And Endoparasites In Chicken
Ecto-parasites and endo-parasites are great threats to chickens; these two pests must be managed properly to increase the productivity of the birds.
Ectoparasites are pests found outside the chicken, examples are mites and lice. What ectoparasites do to chicken it to damage the skin and suck the blood of the chicken, thereby transmitting infections; these two deleterious activities reduce the chickens’ immunity to resist infections. In severe cases, ectoparasites causes the death of chickens.
On the other hand, endoparasites are parasites living and surviving within the birds. They are worms. Examples of endoparasites are gapeworm, tapeworm, etc.; Worms compete with the birds for nutrients and other metabolites; hence, this is why it is important to deworm your birds often. Ecto-parasites and endo-parasites in chickens can both be treated and controlled using medicinal herbs.
Wormers are used to get rid of endoparasites or parasitic worms in chickens. The need to deworm your birds is to allow them to make good use of the feed offered. There are herbs you can use to deworm your chicken, as either a preventive measure or a control measure.
I once published an article on the use of pawpaw as a natural dewormer for chicken; therein, I explained the processes involved in using pawpaw leaf, pawpaw seeds, and pawpaw latex as a wormer for chickens. Pawpaw plant is a potent ayurvedic medicine in the livestock industry; it is one of the most effective anthelmintic herbs. Pawpaw seeds and latex are known for their natural anthelmintic property that makes it possible to expel any intestinal parasite in chicken and other livestock.
It was also demonstrated in this research material that pawpaw leaf can help get rid of ectoparasites like lice. According to the research, Pawpaw leaf was burnt into ashes, it used as a topical agent to control lice in poultry.
Lime juice, Citrus aurantifolia, has been proven to be very effective at preventing worm infestation in this report. Lime creates an acidic medium with the gastrointestinal tract of the chicken, thereby making the environment unfavorable for worms to thrive. Lime is used to control worms in chicken by mixing some quantity with drinking water.
Another potent anti-parasitic herb is Onion, Allium cepa. Onion has been proven a potent natural wormer against many helminths and protozoa. In addition, it was reported in this research material that spring onion can be used to prevent lice in chicken.
Similarly, feeding raw pumpkin seeds to chickens is also effective at controlling endoparasites in poultry. Raw pumpkin seeds contain a compound known as cucurbitacin; this substance helps to control intestinal worms in chicken by creating an unfavorable environment for chickens. I recently read from a material that this same substance, cucurbitacin, controls coccidiosis in poultry.
The stem and leaf extract of the tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum, can also serve as a potent herb for controlling lice infestation in poultry. According to this report, this herbal medicine was found to completely eliminate lice in chicken in 2 days of usage.
Herbal Anticoccidials For Chickens
Coccidiosis in poultry is one of the most devastating poultry diseases. This disease can be treated using some proven medicinal plants.
Over the years, I am familiar with the use of bitter leaf, cayenne pepper, and a mixture of garlic and extract to treat coccidiosis naturally. Recently I discovered from an online resource that the most proven and widely used herbs for coccidiosis are Aloe spicata, Allium sativum, Azadirachta indica, Ficus burkei, Lannea stullmanni, Myrothamnus flabellifoilius, Capsicum annum
It was proven that regular serving of garlic extract in chicken’s drinking water greatly helps to control intestinal worms and coccidiosis in poultry.
Mode Of Application Of Ayurvedic Medicine In Poultry
The use of Ayurvedic medicine as a natural way of treating diseases and infection in poultry must be done economically. Although there is no precise dosage for the usage of medicinal plants in poultry, the usage has to be economical.
Most herbal medicines used for chickens are served orally through the drinking water and the most recommended rate is usually 30ml to one liter of the drinking water for the preventive measures while 50 ml to one liter is ideal to treat any severe cases of poultry disease with medicinal plants.
Beneficial Effects Of Herbs For Protecting Poultry Health
The following are the beneficial effects of medicinal plants in poultry production.
- Increase in the quality of meat and egg produced.
- Improvement the taste of poultry products.
- Elimination of antibiotics residues and antibiotics resistance in chicken.
- It greatly reduces the cost of production, making poultry farmers earn more with herbs.
- It preserves the health and wellbeing of the consumers.
- It promotes sustainable growth in poultry business.
- It supports the preservation of the ecosystem.
The use of herbal medication for poultry is a means of making poultry production highly sustainable. Herbal therapy needs to be practiced in poultry; plants and plant parts should be reinstated as a source of medicine for poultry production. The threat of antibiotics resistance and antibiotic residues, leading to fatal diseases are completely eliminated when chickens are managed and treated with medicinal plants.
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