ACV in hot weather

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by showjumper_girl2002, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. showjumper_girl2002

    showjumper_girl2002 Songster

    637
    42
    161
    Jun 20, 2011
    Florida
    Good morning everyone! So I've been giving my chicks a little apple cider vinegar in their water every day when I change the water out. They've been in a brooder in my bathroom so I haven't had to worry about the Florida heat. I just moved them to the coop this weekend and Florida summers are HOT! I know that you aren't supposed to use ACV as often when it's hot out as it can dehydrate them. So I was wondering how often I can add ACV to their water during these hot months? I would really like to continue to use it as it has so many great natural benefits for them.
     
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Songster

    2,152
    391
    196
    Feb 15, 2017
    Texas
    I give it to mine once a week. I'm in Texas, its very hot here also.
     
    ChicKat likes this.
  3. Digby57

    Digby57 Chirping

    126
    94
    86
    Jun 21, 2017
    I'm also in Florida and have been researching this in preparation for the chicks I'll receive in a few weeks. I ordered from Sand Hill Preservation, but I found this info at Cackle Hatchery,

    "Jeff Smith of Cackle Hatchery additionally recommends adding 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to each quart of the chicks’ drinking water for the first week. In Jeff’s experience, the vinegar greatly reduces the possibility chicks will suffer from the common disorder pasty butt."

    I've read everything from 1/3 cup per quart for treatment of coccidiosis to as little as 1/4 tsp per gallon (for adult chickens). I realize the question has been asked a million times, but I would like to use it for my chickens as I already drink a little myself (Braggs) so we always have it around anyways.

    So maybe I'll ask the question a different way. How much Braggs UACV is too much per gallon if you plan to use it on an ongoing basis, for baby chicks and adult chickens (if there is any difference) considering the heat in a FL summer, etc.
     
    ChicKat likes this.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    27,610
    26,578
    907
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
    To SJ and D57, I can't answer your question with any authority, but I'll tell you what I do, and then throw a ? back at you for your perusal.

    I would offer the birds a choice. Plain water, and an other container of water with ACV. This way, they get to choose which one to drink, and I'm guessing they will drink which ever water happens to meet their metabolic needs at the time.

    I use fermented feed, which has the bonus of having plenty of moisture in it. It is loaded with probiotics, and is much easier for the birds to digest, resulting in savings on my feed bill, and their poop is not as smelly. The pH of FF is also lower. My understanding is that the lower pH helps to keep their guts healthy and to ward off internal parasites.

    Now, here's my ? for you thinkers: If gator Ade, and other electrolyte solutions have a HIGHER pH than water (you put baking soda in home made electrolyte or gator ade)...Then, why are we being urged to put ACV into the bird's drinking water on a hot summer day, or for that matter, on any day, when they are eating dry feed?

    If you are using dry feed, ACV does serve a benefit in the probiotic and perhaps the acid benefit it provides. But, I would caution against using it as THE ONLY source of drinking water. Perhaps you might want to do a little experiment: set up 3 identical bowls of water: one plain, one mixed with electrolyte solution (omit the flavoring) and one with ACV. See which bowl has been used the most by the end of the day. See if there is any particular time of the day when one bowl is favored over the other?

    The old timers used to make a drink called Switchel:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switchel

    This was a sweetened drink with vinegar added. Often used by the farmers as they were bringing in the hay.

    Now, my ? Did this acid drink satisfy as well as, or better than the basic gator ade that is used today? Which balances the electrolytes of the body more, thus being more healthy especially in times of stress or high heat exposure?
     
  5. Digby57

    Digby57 Chirping

    126
    94
    86
    Jun 21, 2017
    That's funny, I was almost making Switchel all along and didn't even know it. Guess I'll add some ginger instead of just honey. I don't know how to answer your question other than to try drinking water / gatorade / switchel while working in the heat. I always drink my UACV in the morning and before bed. I don't know if it does anything for me, but I've come to like it. I'm sure its not harmful after reading about it.

    I'm not sure that my metabolism and a chicken's has any similarity at all in regards to vinegar in water, but I do take your point and would consider your idea for testing by giving the chicks a choice. I can do that with my 2 waterers no problem. The only thing is, are they drinking one or the other because they instinctively know its somehow best for them nutritionally, or does it just taste better to them?

    I'm planning on fermenting feed too. I have many, many questions about that. Even after reading tons of info here and elsewhere. But I'll go to another thread on all of that instead of hijacking the OP's thread.

    I do see that multiple times when someone asks about ACV someone replies that fermented feed is a better alternative. But why are they mutually exclusive? Acetic acid vs. lactic acid isn't the whole story, surely. I just want to do simple, inexpensive things to get the flock off on the best foot. I'll be asking a lot of them as adults, so it seems reasonable to me. I'm not really one to regard chickens as pets, so its not that. And its not that I don't understand that many people do regard them as pets, but I'm trying to form a base flock for utility and dual-purpose use.
     
    ChicKat likes this.
  6. Digby57

    Digby57 Chirping

    126
    94
    86
    Jun 21, 2017
    And I'm likely overthinking all of it, which is not unusual for me :p
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    27,610
    26,578
    907
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
    As for testing and giving the chickens a choice, I'm guessing that if their bodies need a certain thing, they will gravitate to that thing. Just as they will eat oyster shell if they need it. Just as I might crave orange juice if i need more vitamin C.

    Re: fermenting: There is an excellent article written by Tikki Jane in my signature. If you have not yet read that, it's excellent for explaining the how and why of FF.

    Re: ACV + FF: IMO, there is no sense adding an acid drink to their acid feed. Both ACV and FF provide probiotics. No, they are not mutually exclusive. IMO, if you are using one, you don't need the other. Sometimes less is more.
     
  8. Digby57

    Digby57 Chirping

    126
    94
    86
    Jun 21, 2017
    Looking at the thread linked from your sig now, I hadn't noticed it. Thanks!
     
  9. Digby57

    Digby57 Chirping

    126
    94
    86
    Jun 21, 2017
  10. :eek: 2 tbsp of ACV/quart seems like a LOT. Part of this is based upon the lower water consumption that a chick versus a chicken will have. Just like some vitamins if you read the package put a much higher concentration of the powder in the chick water than in the adult chicken water.... I'm sure that Jeff Smith of cackle hatchery is on to something. Perhaps the chicks will drink more water when vinegar is added. Conventional wisdom I've heard says: "make sure the chicks are drinking water before introducing any feed, as one way to prevent pasty butt." Another excellent product is the green gel called 'gro gel'. putting even a pinch in the brooder water seems to help the chicks. Shippers sometimes make it into a goo and include it in the shipping box.


    Right now I'm finishing up some 'rooster booster' brand "Vitamins & electrolytes with lacto bacillus". -- comes in an 8oz plastic container and the directions say add 1/3 tsp per gallon. Some folks are adding save-a-chick -- but that is 3.00 per envelope and 1 envelope goes in a gallon of water as I recall. If you put out 10-15 gallons of water per day you could have a very high electrolyte bill. This stuff - a little goes a long way even though the container isn't cheap.

    It's interesting that no one ever makes a consideration of the beginning pH of water in the vinegar discussion.......

    If your chickens get water from rain-water, it is more acidic than other water in most places in the USA.
    This is from googling--->
    What is the pH in rain?
    The scale ranges from zero to 14, with pure water at a neutral 7.0. Most water, however, is not exactly pure. Even clean, normal rain has a pH of about 5.6. This is because it reacts with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and forms mildly acidiccarbonic acid before it becomes rain.


    Plants can be very sensitive to pH of soil and water in soil can affect pH. For examples where I live now I can grow blueberries in the ground, where I lived before they died in the ground -- due to soil -- In containers where I lived I watered them with some vinegar in the water and they did o.k.

    If your chickens get tap water the pH would in theory be neutral. IF your chickens get rain water -- the pH would be slightly acidic.

    Have you ever noticed how when you put out clean water -- and some spills on the dirt---That's the water that the chickens think is really yummy? that's what mine do. Now I think that there are minerals that they get from drinking the dirty water that the waterers lack.

    I'm not sure that the idea of putting three bowls of water in front of the chickens would necessarily indicate what is best for the chickens. If I put three bowls of feed in front of my dog - or a cat, horse, cow--- I don't think that they would select the one best for them. I don't think chickens are any different JMO. I could easily be wrong on that. Weather and circumstances could also be a factor. In Gail Damerow's book Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens - she lists one solution for feather picking for when the chickens have insufficient salt in their diet. Here'sthe quote
    "Since salt deficiency causes chickens to crave blood and feathers, try adding one tablespoon of salt per gallon of water in the drinker for one morning, then repeat the salt treatment 3 days later. At all other times provide plenty of fresh, unsalted water"
    p. 121

    There is a range of tolerance and amounts of acid vs. base pH for chickens. ETA - google says the pH of ocean water is 8.1 or 8.2 for example....compared to the 5.6 of rainwater.

    Influencing factors are probably pretty enormous. From my perspective if you provide your chickens with their needs within moderation and common sense - you will be giving them good care.

    There is another factor for using vinegar in the chickens waterers, and that is that it helps them with the calcium carbonate in their shells. Vinegar will assist in dissolving the calcium in oyster shells, or the crushed egg shells you feed back to your chickens.
    There are even calcium supplements for humans that dissolve egg shells in vinegar.

    Here are two articles from a quick internet search:
    http://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2014/04/soft-shelled-or-rubber-eggs-causes-and.html
    http://fresheggsdaily.com/2014/06/the-danger-of-feeding-too-much-spinach.html

    That reminds me that when my first two chickens were beginning to age and lay soft shells, I was able to get them to produce better shells by adding vinegar to their water.

    No two people will approach chicken keeping the same way. Everyone's environment, soil, chickens, feed bags, water and supplements are different. You will probably find what is best for you by listening to a variety of view points and then experimenting with what things produce the best results in your flock.
    :old
    Good luck with those chicks!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: