Feb 8, 2013

Chickens' Soup, A Healthy Winter Treat for Chickens

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.
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 chicken soup soup for my chickens. To say that they appreciated it is an understatement!
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 chicken soup soup for my chickens. To say that they appreciated it is an understatement!
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 chicken soup soup for my chickens. To say that they appreciated it is an understatement!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Oregano oil is making it into a recipe on my blog for the first time since I read a 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."
Oregano oil is making it into a recipe on my blog for the first time since I read a 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 are not used as replacements for antibiotics for sick chickens.
I have not indicated the amount of oregano oil I used in this recipe intentionally. It is not my wish to be quoted as suggesting that any amount of oregano oil is an antibiotic substitute. Oregano and oregano oil are not replacements for antibiotics. The addition of a specific type of oregano oil, added in precise amounts to feed, not water, is being studied as a way 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.
Chickens' Soup, A Healthy Winter Treat for Chickens
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.
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31 comments :

  1. Sounds good. I don't have any oregano oil but I may ads some fresh rosemary (until I get the oregano oil) as the essential chemicals are very similar and known for antiseptic properties. I like the probiotic idea too. I will be careful not to add water which is too hot in order not to kill the beneficial organisms.

    Thanks again!

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  2. Beth Aiken2/8/13, 7:34 PM

    My chickens LOVE soup. I usually reserve it for when it's super cold and I do serve it cooked and warm. My girls ignore carrot and potato peels unless they are cooked, so I usually add those to their soup, along with broth made from bones, and whatever kitchen scraps are available. Sometimes I add a little apple cider vinegar, chopped up greens of any kind, whatever is handy and plentiful! They go crazy for soup, lots of talking going on when I bring it in!

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  3. Jill Fisher2/8/13, 7:35 PM

    So you do not buy any feed for them? Hmmmm.....

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  4. Debbie Borthwick2/8/13, 7:46 PM

    I love this idea! I don't have all of the ingredients on hand, but I'd really like to try this with our ladies. I will make substitutes and follow your suggestions. 
    Thanks for the recipe.
    Debbie :)

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  5. What about the ducks? :) Is there a ducks' soup? We are in the midst of a Nor'easter here, too. CT Linda

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  6. Maureen Wyatt2/9/13, 1:39 AM

    I've been taking warm scraps to my chickens since we hit double digit lows.  I'm pinning this and we'll see how my girls like it.  Thanks!

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  7. Love the idea of having your own chickens! I'm just finding your site and have to say, I'm in love with your little coop!  Great job!

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  8. Isobel Morrell2/9/13, 12:53 PM

    What a very good idea!  Don't keep chickens myself, but have a neigbour who does.  They're coming to lunch (the neighbours, not the chickens) mid-week, next week, and I'll mention it to them. 

    Hope the snow storm is not as bad as forecast - alas, they do seem to be living up to their fiercesome reputations:  hope you come through, chicks and all!

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  9. I'm fascinated by your chickens! Looking forward to your posts.  Peace and all good things for you in the care of your critters and in life.

    Sincerely,
    Diane

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  10. countryewe11562/9/13, 4:15 PM

    I will try this.  Love the snow chicken.

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  11. I've been giving my girls a warm gruel concoction in the morning since their coop’s nightly temp dropped into the low teens.  It consists of mealworms, rolled oats or steal cut oats, layer pellets (w/omega 3), and sometimes a small handful of raisins or slivered almonds, with the major ingredient being the layers pellets. All of this is covered with hot water. By the time I get to their yard, it’s cooled to a nice warm mush. Served with a waterer of warm water, I know their little bellies are full of chicken yum. I never thought of adding calendula petals. A new taste sensation is in store for them tomorrow morning. As a thank you, they’ve been giving us beautiful brown eggs with rich dark orange yokes.  

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  12. Maureen Wyatt2/11/13, 12:51 PM

    I made pretty close to your recipe and the chickens loved it!  I've never heard them chatter so much while they were eating.  They come running the minute they see me with a pie plate now!

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  13. TheChickenChick2/12/13, 10:46 PM

    Great to know, Maureen! I'm glad they like it. :)

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  14. Where do you get Candula petals? I feel bad as we were minus degrees this first year with our girls. I didn't find any of this info anywhere else, darn it. Well I'll have to make it up to them.

    Anybody have ideas re Redtail Hawk safety. I'm begining to get a sixth sense when they're hunting but would appreciate someone with experience, thx so much.

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  15. Rachel Dennis6/4/13, 5:56 PM

    Interesting

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  16. Can you really feed chickens meat? And is so what types?

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  17. Thank you for your chicken soup recipe I look forward to trying this out on my girls

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  18. I just made this for my girls its 20 degrees here this morning and they are causational eating it, not sure if they like it or not!

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  19. Hey, not sure you will agree with me but when my chickens have a cold, i use half of an onion chopped in a chicken broth and one garlic glove and i had one egg few veggie...they go nuts for that...Whats you know is that the chicken feel way better in just a day or two..Against viruses, Garlic boosts our immune system and allows us to process faster colds and flu, swallowing a raw clove from the onset of symptoms. To relieve simultaneously treat, try also onion soup. Against bacteria I have already spoken, garlic is a natural antibiotic that destroys microbes, intestinal parasites, and even mushrooms. Onion has a similar effect, helping the body fight various infections...Tell me whats you think about my chicken soup...

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  20. Samantha Paulk Bartley12/12/13, 10:52 AM

    This recipe sounds wonderful! Must try it with the "kids" instead of their Oatmeal, garlic, ACV, apple and cayenne pepper "TREAT"!

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  21. I am so glad to have discovered your blog! I have only had chickens for a couple of years and have found it to be an ongoing learning process. Thanks so much for all your valuable information. Going to make some "soup" for my flock now. :)

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  22. Erica Revak1/3/14, 10:49 AM

    I'm going to make this today! I only have 4 chickens so I won't need to make so much.
    Thanks for posting this!

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  23. Dawn E. Sarver1/3/14, 11:34 AM

    i to do something very similar using lay pellets, scratch ,rolled oats, and what ever fresh fruits and veg i have, and you bet they love it! they all come running even roo! I sometimes feel sorry for him as he can't decide whether to call the girls about the wonderful treat or gobble it up! i have even planned a bit ahead and since i know my flock love cranberries i got extra at thanksgiving and froze them to add, i usually will pick up (the end of season sales are perfect for this) or freeze homegrown fruits i know they love just for the girls,.and this year it has been a real help . look at the storm hitting this week!? extra warm breakfasts and soups are just what the dr ordered! thanks Kathy for the great ideas to spoil our favorite "kids"!

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  24. This morning when I went to my mother's house (just next door) to help her make egg rolls, I found that she had made a big pot of soup for the chickens! She always saves the potato water after cooking them to use for soup. So she put the carrot peels and outer leaves of the cabbage (all chopped to chicken size bits) and added some dumplings from the freezer (filled with cabbage, tofu and ground beef) and made them a nice warm breakfast! All this from a woman who claims to not like animals, lol.

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  25. TheChickenChick1/3/14, 8:52 PM

    LOL! Outstanding.

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  26. TheChickenChick1/3/14, 9:48 PM

    I'm glad you did too, Rhonda! Thanks for being here!

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  27. Michelle Andrews Cusick4/10/14, 1:59 PM

    Oregano is a great (and i mean a GREAT) immune booster for humans. Ya can't get any better treatment or preventative for seasonal allergies so i'd think it would be good for the chickens, too. I'm gonna try this next winter.

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  28. TheChickenChick4/10/14, 3:39 PM

    No question, Michelle. What oregano is NOT is a substitute for antibiotics and that is they type of misinformation that is being bandied about lately. It's dangerous and irresponsible, so Susan is here to set the record straight. It sounds like you're ahead of the herbal curve, which is great!

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  29. I live in Michigan and have pretty wicked winters. I would like to give this a try :) how often can you give this though? Can this be a once every morning thing?

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  30. I wouldn't feed it every morning. 95% of their daily diet should be layer pellets- the rest can be healthy treats, but try not to rely on them.

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  31. I will make this warm soup for the girls when we get into hard winter! Hard is 30 below! They'll love it! Mamiso!

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