Not one to rely on hollow, qualifying phrases such as "it is said that ACV..."' or "it is believed that ACV..." I set out to learn more of the science behind the claimed benefits to chickens of ACV. I read a few studies that left me with more questions than answers, so I brought them to a poultry expert for demystification. I asked The Chicken Vet for his expert opinion about the use of ACV in poultry water based on his education, research and experience; the following was his response:
“The value of vinegar has long been exploited by professional poultry farmers. Acidifying water alters the gut’s bacteria, slowing the growth of nasty bacteria, and giving a boost to good bacteria. Acid also helps control coccidiosis and Clostridium bacteria, which can cause a fatal disease called necrotic enteritis. Vinegar (acetic acid) is a cheap, accessible source of acid that anyone can find. It is, however, not a great acidifier...other organic acids such a butyric or proprionic acids actually work better...(the reason revolves around the pKa of the acid....high-school chemistry, anyone?) I have never found any study that showed any value to apple cider vinegar specifically, and several studies (the Journal of Applied Poultry Science in 2011, and Asian Australasian Journal of Animal Science), showed that broiler (meat) chickens grew slower when fed 0.5% apple cider vinegar or formic acid vs. pure water.
At the end of the day, vinegar (apple cider or not) is an organic antibiotic that has a place in helping to control bacteria levels in your flock and altering bacterial populations in the gut. Just remember that it has some minor negative consequences for the hens, as it makes some nutrients less available to the birds.” The Chicken Vet
|This is a mother, also known as a SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast)|
3 parts Vinegar Stock (attained through yeast fermentation of apples into alcohol aka: hard cider)
1 part Vinegar Culture (attained through converting alcohol into acetic acid by use of acidbactar bacteria/a mother/a SCOBY)
RECIPE #1- Hard Cider + the mother
I purchased 24 ounces of hard cider locally for $3.34 and ordered 8 ounces of Mother of cider vinegar from Leener’s for $11.95
RECIPE #2- Apples + water + the mother
|The mother isn't pretty, but it's pretty amazing!|
Place half a chopped apple (peel, core and all) with a few blueberries (optional, I improvised and it resulted in a beautiful vinegar color!) and water a to a sterilized mason jar. Add the mother, cover with a piece of material or cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band to allow oxygen in and keep insects out.
|Days after beginning this batch, the bubbles indicated the conversion of the|
sugar in the apples into alcohol had begun.
|The mother converts from something resembling a jellyfish to|
an opaque, leathery, living disk.
|A second batch, sans blueberries.|
|In two weeks, these apples underwent a fermentation into alcohol and |
a second fermentation into vinegar.
ACV RECIPE #3- Unpasteurized apple juice + ACV containing the mother (eg Braggs)
Place in a warm, dark(ish) place and wait for the cider to convert to alcohol and then for the alcohol to convert to vinegar. It can take as few as several weeks or as many as several months. Ideally, temperatures will be between 80-90° F for fastest conversion. Avoid fluxuations in temperature.