Originally Posted by lalaland
would you say more about how you are using herbs?
"Oregano, clove, rosemary, garlic, and turmeric are all great herbs for immune boosting or modulating traits, adding some of those on a regular basis will help. It always helped mine."
I'm using garlic, about once a month - fresh crushed. IF someone looks off, I will hand feed them a yogurt/garlic mix to get a good dose into them. Tumeric, in the feed weekly. the chickens definitely do not like tumeric, the days I use it, they do not eat all the feed. Could be I am adding too much..... I have never used clove or rosemary. I grow oregano for the chickens, and they do not touch it at all.
I'm interested in knowing if y ou are routinely adding these herbs to the feed and if so, how frequently and any idea of the amount?
Oregano oil was trialed with success in commercial operations - I can find the link if you like - it's one of the most powerful natural antibiotics there are.
It was added to water and had amazing effects, I would think everyone struggling with Marek's - whether they vaccinate or do not - would vastly benefit from using this. It has widespread effects, antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, etc etc etc...
I very seldom use it because the culinary strain is basically worthless and the chickens don't like it, and I do not have access to a better type yet, but I hope to obtain and use oregano oil of the medicinal quality. I mention it because it's a 'definite' in my book from everything I have read on it. It's just a matter of time, finances, the right supplier, all that standing in my way, and I admit it's not a priority at the moment.
I think, being one of the very powerful medicines, it's best not used continuously, but rather something like once a month in the drinking water or on onset of disease. Some herbs are good for near continuous use, others best not. I have not heard of any damage from regular use of it, but as with anything potent if you concentrate it and overdose sooner or later you will see problems. That of course applies to almost every single vitamin and mineral and so forth as no doubt you know. Effective dose is pretty low, several drops of oregano oil in a 10-liter water bowl for example.
I have similar problems with rosemary, I have only ever found one strain that both I and the animals (chickens, sheep, goats etc) like, which also had the expected health benefits - it came from an Asian shop I no longer live near. Go figure! But as with oregano it's one of the most potent and when you find a good strain you are onto something powerfully beneficial.
There are many commercial cultivars, many merely ornamental, with varying medicinal value. Unfortunately this is the case with many herbs these days, you've just got to experiment with brands and breeds till you find the one that performs as expected. People don't accurately label too many strains, you just have to test and see if it works. Dosage when I did find some that worked was one handful of dried rosemary to 10kgs of food roughly. No need to be very specific. Also no need to do it more than once a week I think but it's not one of those you need to worry about overdosing with either.
Odd that the chickens do not like turmeric - but I have my suspicions as to why. Is it organic and naturally dried, of a more gentle orange/yellow, or of a fluorescent coloration? Some producers render it less than great by their processing methods lol... In fact some methods are harmful. Speed-drying and some extraction methods make healthy things toxic and few herbalists go the healthiest route in drying herbs for use, it's all about speed.
Right now I am looking into growing my own, as with so many herbs lol. There are various strains so testing a variety will be the go. I think freshly grated raw turmeric might go down far, far better with chickens than powdered/dried which may be overly rich for their needs; dosage of dried turmeric is a teaspoon or several per day for an adult human so you may be overdosing the chooks who would probably need a pinch per 10 hens or so. That said some of my hens will avoid even that, while others will freely consume much more. There are thousands of studies proving the benefits of turmeric for all species tested thus far so it's something I'm going to continue to work on.
I suspect older chickens that were conventionally raised (antibiotics, conventional wormers, vaccines etc) should be carefully treated (if at all) with turmeric, because the curcumin in it can be problematic for damaged kidneys and livers - which the majority of conventionally reared chickens (and many non-conventionally reared chickens as well) suffer from despite seeming healthy. One industry source reckons over 80% of all chicken deaths due to disease involve the liver.
I have some older, weakly hens (bad family line I keep around to learn from, they do enjoy 'normal' enough health but not 100%) --- and they absolutely will not touch food with turmeric in it. I know for a fact their livers are not great or even decent. But livers are amazing things, we and animals can continue to function in sufficient health with only a tiny functioning amount of liver left.