My chickens free-range exclusively, so when bad weather keeps them confined to the coop and run, my Italian maternal instincts kick in and I go into care-for-them-with food mode. Knowing that my flock's health and egg production rely on eating a balance, nutritious diet, I limit treats and ensure that the ones they receive are power-packed with healthy ingredients. Healthy chickens=healthy eggs.
With Blizzard Nemo bearing down on us in New England right now, my flock is in lock-down, so I just whipped up a batch of
I share my "recipe" with you below, and I know from having shared my Flock Block Substitute recipe previously, that those of you who wish to make Chickens' Soup for your flock may have questions about substitutions. Please know that you can make any substitutions, additions or omissions you like. I used what I have on-hand, cleaning out the freezer and vegetable drawer in the process. The only required ingredient is water. We know that water is critically important to our flocks, so I'm happy to encourage my pets to drink a nice, warm, nutritious broth on a wicked, winter day.
New York Times article in December that featured a chicken farmer in neighboring New York who, in a laudatory attempt to reduce antibiotic use in his flock, has been adding a special type of oregano oil to his flock's feed. The scientific testing has just begun, but farmer Scott Sechler is encouraged by the results on his flock the past three years. “You can’t just replace antibiotics with oregano oil and expect it to work,” said Sechler. [He] maintain[s] strict sanitary practices, provide[s] good ventilation and light for [his] animals, and make[s] sure water lines are always clean."
HEALTH ADVISORY: Oregano & oregano oil is NOT purported to be a REPLACEMENT for antibiotics for chickens. The addition of a SPECIFIC type of oregano OIL, added in precise amounts to FEED, (NOT into their drinking water) is being tested by large-scale poultry farmers to improve chickens HEALTH in order to reduce the need for antibiotics.
Oregano and oregano oil are NOT reported to be replacements for antibiotics.
Chickens' Soup Ingredients
2 cups leftover meat scraps, chopped
3 carrots, shredded
1 cup frozen peas
asparagus bottoms, chopped
1 cup calendula petals
2 cups scratch
2 cups Manna Pro Harvest Delight
2 cups Purina Flock Raiser
1 teaspoon Gro2Max probiotics
warm water to cover
Oregano Oil **please see advisory, below**
Mix all ingredients together and serve warm. The water is only warm enough to thaw the peas and distribute the oregano oil. This soup is not to be cooked and is not to be served hot.
**ADVISORY: I have not indicated the amount of oregano oil I used in this recipe intentionally. It is not my intent to be quoted as suggesting that any particular amount of oregano oil is an antibiotic substitute. Oregano and oregano oil are NOT claimed to be REPLACEMENTS for antibiotics. The addition of a SPECIFIC type of oregano oil, added in precise amounts to FEED, not into their water, is claimed to keep chickens healthier so that commercial poultry farms do not have to resort to using antibiotics as often. The research is too preliminary to come to any conclusions about whether it accomplishes that goal or not. If you choose to use oregano oil in your flock's diet, please do only after having performed your own research, including consulting with a veterinarian in order to form your own conclusions about what a safe dose is for your flock, if any.
Sources and additional reading:
Commercial Poultry Farmer testing Oregano Oil to Improve Chickens' Health and reduce illnesses requiring antibiotics.
Oregano oil for intestinal parasite control in sheep, goats, and beef cattle. Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education.
Effect of Dietary Oregano (origanum vulgare L.) essential oil on growth performance, cecal microflora and serum antioxidant activity of broiler chickens. African Journal of Biotechnology Vol 10 (32) pp. 6177-6183, 4 July, 2011.