by request the ETHNO BOTANICAL thread

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by crossedwires, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. crossedwires

    crossedwires Chirping

    Jan 19, 2010
    i got on the subject of ethno botanical herbs in another thread and was asked to do a seperate thread so here it is, anyone thats interested in the origanal thread heres the link

    to make life simple i will cut and paste the origanal bits here as well.
    so whats this thread all about?? ethno botanical is realy just the posh way of saying herbs and plants that have a medicinal value. i will start with the herbs and plants that have value for internal parasite wich is what the other thread was about. then i will do a section on other herbs that have eigther a general health benifit or are good for other problems you might face, i might even throw in a bit about mixing alternative feeds for good measure.

    lastly i will do a list of weeds and plants that commonly grow that might cause problems, unfortuanately my knowledge in this area is mainly uk based but if you ask about a specific plant i dont mind researching it.

    so what makes me an expert?? actualy i'm not an expert, but for those who like to know the validity of the info they use i will give you a quick rundown of background
    i run/own a farm that mainly breeds avian species, theese include chickens,ducks,geese,pheasent,guinea fowl,quail, we also breed parrots and birds of pray, alot of our chickens are rare breed and we currently have in excess of 5000 various chickens, approx 2000 ducks i have no idea how many geese, and at the highest point this year we had 45,000 phesants!! theese have now been sold on reading for the shooting season, we have approx 1000 pheasents wich are our breeding stock,

    the farm i run/own has been in my familly around 350 years i was born here and i have been running it for 23 years now. i have kept my own chickens for around 36 years.
    i have a degree in microbiology and a masters degree in Hatchery science.

    so thats my background feel free to ask any questions you may have as you read thru the thread and please speak up if you find anything you dissagree with! afterall this is a collective community and everyone has a right to express there view, i welcome differing opinions. if you have any sugestions for inclusion please speak up.

    thats the boreing over with now for the cut and paste of what we have so far the bits in " " are the bits from the other thread

    "compost heaps are a great supply of bugs for chickens therefore all kinds of amino acids etc that commercial feed just dosnt have. BUT with bugs comes the danger of things like worms and other internal parasites that have a "BUG" as a host in part of its life cycle. now in the normal balance of things worms and parasites are just part of the general fauna and in a wild situation birds would generaly have access to herbs and plants that would keep the balance of parasites living in them down.
    in our non wild situations generaly theese "WEEDS" arnt about or not the right ones etc, so as long as you worm the flock reguarly (you do that anyway DONT YOU! wink ) then to be honest a compost heap rummage will do more good than harm to the birds. we have thousands of chickens on the farm and they spend hours having a rummage in the muck piles big_smile so i am in favour of compost heaps"

    "the internal parasites carried by worms,slugs and snails etc are not species specific, so not composting chicken poo dosnt make any difference in reality. the worm eggs dont care if it ends up in a chicken duck goose sparrow or whatever nice warm instine it finds. and lets face it ALL chickens have internal parasites and worms, when i did my biology degree many moons ago old we did a couple of experiments includeing worming a chicken and then culling it 3 days after withdrawl. it still had a nice healthy bunch of worms and nemotoads etc inside. as long as they are in balance then you dont get problems,
    i would always advise regular worming with a good wormer and i am sorry to upset the organic crowd but most the so called exspensive organic stuff you buy to worm chickens isnt as good as its cracked up to be. infact out of all the rubish they put in it there is only 2 herbs in the preps that have any affect on parasites. one is garlic and the other is thyme. interestingly tho a little while back we had to move a pen of chickens to another pen that hadnt been used for maybe 2 years, the run was totaly overgrown with nettles, and the chickens were in there for about 6 months.
    when a couple of them were harvested i noticed theese birds had far far fewer parasites internaly. now i am not saying thats proof that nettles fed to chickens helps keep worms down but its something i been meaning to investigate further (should i ever loes the computer and find more constructive things to do) big_smile"

    "again worming issues can be very contentious. and there are so many factors to consider, for a start the size of flock and ammount of ground they have is a important factor, for example 20 hens in a small coop with a small run would seems to be a likely candidate for worms, but for argument sake those 20 birds came from eggs you hatched and the run is now so scrated that slugs and snails rarely venture on to it then the chances your birds have high levels of parasites are lowish, however add a bird with a high population of worms in it to the flock and you get a masive increase in the chances of all birds having worms. then there is the free range situation of say 3 hens roaming 1/3 acre all day unhindered. the chances of contact with parasites are very very high however that dosnt mean a high intestinal population worms, as those birds may well have access to natural plant feeds that help purge the worms.
    so whats the answer??? well thats an easy one. do what most chicken keepers already your birds get to know them well and there behaviour, occasionly look at the odd poo and see if there are worms in it. if you do find worms in the poo and the birds appear totaly normal and are laying well (for layers) then do nothing, if they arnt being normal and you suspect worms treat them, very simple. we do use wormer here but we have thousands of birds although most (except breeding stock,growers and chicks) free range over a very large area, so we pick and choose those we worm, for example if we are going to pen a smallish floch for a couple of months to breed from we tend to worm those birds before penning this stops the pen from getting a heavy worm egg l;oad that could be passed on.
    we also give our flocks garlic powder in feed for 3 days every month, i swear by this for internal parasites yet i dont have a shread of proof it makes any difference, but my great great grandad did it, my great grandad did it, my grandad did it and my dad did it so i guess i do it big_smile personaly i think a certain brand of very very exspensive organic wormer is a utter pile of chicken poo and a waste of money, if you want the organic root great but save the money and give your birds access to herbs like tyhme and nettle and garlic, let them pick and choose when they want a nibble wink anyway i wasnt trying to say do this or do that or dont do this or dont do that, merely trying to pass on what little i know"

    "actualy there are many herbs etc that contain chemicals that will to a greater or lesser exstent kill internal parasites, both in humans and chcikens and other animals, infact most modern drugs come from compounds first isolated from plants etc. now i should state i am not a organic crusader! i use some herbs because they grow in abundance on our farm but i also use chemicals like flubenvet, for me it isnt a choice of natural or chemical, i use chemical if i have a problem but i try and have herbs growing that act as a preventitive.
    as seen in this thread most reactions are to not do anything untill a problem occurs and in some ways that includes me. however growing herbs with anitiparasitical properties and letting the chicken feed upon them as and when they want does no harm.

    so for any that are interested here is a small list of herbs/plants and what the active chemical is. its not a exhaustive list by any means but is just an example of what is in herbs and why they work. obviously you cant grow all theese but most should be avaliable if you want to experiment. if enough people are interested i will post a list at some point of the more common stuff you probaly already have growing in the garden or localy in hedgrows.

    i have mentioned thyme nettle and garlic so will leave those off this list


    its been called that since before Noah took up woodwork, and it gets its name because................ it kills worms! wormwood is infact a name given to a few plants of the genus Artemisia, but the most potent one is also the well known Artemisia absinthium, witch if you look at the name also gives a clue to what else this plant was used to make (absinthe!) if your a painter i would stay well clear of it wink
    theres mystical reason why this plant is so good at killing parasites and particularly worms, its effective simply because it contains good levels of thujone and isothujone, both of theese are very very toxic to parasites and some medicines for worm control in humans use synthesized versions of them. it also contains santonin wich is also fairly toxic to some internal parasites. its other main antiparasitical chemical thats of interest to us are the sesquiterpene lactones group, theese arnt toxic to parasite in the same way but they weaken the parasite membranes in a simillar way to say peroxide would by breaking down the protein layer.
    as a side note wormwood is probaly one of the most bitter herbs you will EVER taste!! sickbyc

    the next one i debated wether or not to mention as although its great for parasites i wouldnt give it to my birds for that. i would however give it when they have a cold (along with garlic) but i will include it anyway as its an important natural herb (ok its a spice) in its own right.

    now the cloves claim to fame is as a very highly potent anti microbial agent eugenol wich is the one most often than noted that gets raved about in cloves, however it also contains caryophyllene witch is also a powerful anti microbial. of interest to note with theese chemicals is they kill all known strains of Staph and Strep bacteria even the ones that are antibiotic resistant. so if your chciken has a infected wound you cant clear up give it a tray, just powder a clove and mix it in the feed with a little olive oil. dont put it on the wound as it acts best when its absorbed by the body and acting fromwithin the blood stream.


    theese are great wormers, and my birds love them as a treat anyway, the main bits in the seed that are of interest are the group of fats and oils they contain witch include a small group of the omega 3's theese are toxic to the worm eggs, but they also contain Curcurbitin, now this chemical dosnt kill worms but it does paralyse them so they fall off the instinal wall, as thyme is a purgative when used in conjunction with pumkin seeds its very effective,

    the next and final one on this short list (i wont do a bigger list unless there is any real interest) is a chemical known as Ellagic acid (Ellagitannin) you can buy this online but normaly its ridiculously exspensive, however there is a little secret regarding this chemical. do you make jam?? or do you grow raspberrys? i ask because Ellagitannin comes from raspberry seeds, but they have to be crushed or broken up or they will pass straight thru, easiest way to collect them to use is to make jam and squash the berries thru a fine sive then the seeds and junk left in the sieve are put in a blender and given a quick wizz then you simply throw it to the birds and watch them scrable for it big_smile.
    Ellagitannin is good generaly but is also a very powerful anti parasitical.

    anyway thats a list to get started on for now. i am not a herbalist however i do have a masters degree in biology, but i found out about herbs and plants for chickens a long time ago from my grandfather and grandmother etc who have used herbs and kept chickens for generations on our farm, but as i said at the start with the number of birds we have (>5000) i tend to reach for the flubenvet when needed as i dont have time always to faff about."

    "pumpkins and gourds are all part of the same familly, squash and gourds have slightly lower concentrations than pumpkins (we are talking miniscule difference) but should be just as good. i used pumkin seeds as the example because if you dont grow them but still want to use them then pumpkin seeds are readilly availiable.

    Ellagitannin is found in blackberrys as well (lower levels) and pomegranents although i personaly wouldnt feed pomegranet seeds to chickens, allthough i have read no scientific papers that indicate not to feed pomegranite the seeds do contain trace amounts of a chemical known to be avian toxic. red raspberrys were used as the example again because of availiabillty and they have the higest concentration.
    there is NO WITHDRAWL , its just a chemical that some parasites find lethal in tiny amounts. there is also no taint to eggs or flesh unlike using garlic"

    "there is also a plant that has caught my attention lately as i have recently read some unpublished papers on it that are part of a research study being done at my old uni for a large global feed company, it is being looked at for inclusion in chciken feed as so far the studies being done indicate it may be very effective in the controll of the coccidia parasite! the reasearch was started in response to a paper that was published a while back about the plant and its common use in parts of africa.
    i am reluctant at this point to give information on it as i want to wait till the study is complete before i decide if its as good as its being claimed to be. however if anyone is interested the african paper that started the study is readilly availiable online, so you can have a read of that and see what you think. some of the claims being made in it i found startling and i fully exspected to end up totaly debunking it. but i have to admit that after reading the unpublished papers (they are being published later this year) its looking more likely that there is truth in the african paper, the study being done in the UK is by a very respected team at a top university. i cant see who or which at this point as the study isnt complete and proffesional curtesy prevents me from doing so.

    the link for a copy of the african paper is here"

    thats what we have so far, later today i will post more info so any questions so far?

  2. crossedwires

    crossedwires Chirping

    Jan 19, 2010
    i guess i should point out that a great deal of the scientific studies that are done relate to Africa. the main reason most the data collected scientificaly has african origin is one of wealth, African nations tend to use ethnovetenary plants alot more than western cultures, this is due to cost factors of pharmasuticle products and the abundance of "FREE" medicine in the form of plant material, however alot of the plants used grow in many regions of the world and i will try and stick to those that are fairly readily availiable,
  3. mickistoy

    mickistoy Chirping

    Jun 21, 2010
    northern ohio
    fantastic reading! i am learning quite a bit and am adding some of this to my planning. i am building a coop early spring 2011 and i also plan on a medium garden for my family and a small garden more towards the chickens...will be adding some of these plants!

    thank you for taking the time to write this post! [​IMG]
  4. crossedwires

    crossedwires Chirping

    Jan 19, 2010
    thanks for the comments, i have alot more info to post so keep reading, i have also recieved an email from a member that i am seriously considering doing there sugestions. basicaly i have been asked if i can include links to places to obtain the seeds of some of the plants. this has given me an idea, i have a few acres in rest at the mo and 3 of those acres we have no plans to use for the next 5 years (we simpley dont need the land for the next 5 years), so i am looking into the possiabillity of turning it over to seed production for ethnovetenary plants. obviously this wont happen quickly i doubt many seeds would be availiable for about 2 years or so. but i will cost it out and see if its financialy viable for us to produce the seeds and maybe sell then in mixed packs, say a mix for internal parasites and a mic for general health etc. anyway i will keep you all posted and let you know how it goes
  5. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    That sounds like a fantastic idea. but of course, one would have to be careful not to introduce any new plant species where it could turn invasive. I guess I'm talking about taking one form of plant or animal life and transplanting it somewhere else only to find out it causes more trouble than it helps.

    Thanks for your informative post.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  6. froggie71

    froggie71 Songster

    Apr 18, 2009
    Shamong, NJ
    Very interesting. I'm glad I found this thread. I'll keep watching for more info as well.
  7. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Songster

    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    Very, very interesting! I'll definitely be subscribing to this thread!
  8. crossedwires

    crossedwires Chirping

    Jan 19, 2010
    Quote:now thats a very valid point

    isnt so much a problem for us growing them to provide seed as the growing will probaly have to be done in poly tunnesl anyway because of the climate. i will have a think about it but i am sure some reganal mixes could be done or people could grown in poly tunnels or greenhouses. any sugestions would be apreciated. i think its mainly the end grower that would have to be careful.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Thanks for the link from the other thread. I really do appreciate that.

    I believe you are probably in the UK since your farm has been in the family for 350 years and you raise pheasants for the hunt. One of my ancestors came across the pond more than 350 years ago so that part would be possible, but the pheasants for the hunt makes me think probably UK. Point of all this is that you may want to research what seeds you can sell, especially internationally, unless you are restricting yourself to your domestic market. We have some pretty strict laws about that due to some of the invasivespecies we have has, plant, disease, and animal. You probably already knew about that but I thought I'd mention it.

    Good luck!
  10. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    I have an ethno botanical question for you, Crossedwires. My understanding of ethno botanical is that of historical folk medicine. Maybe you know or can find out about this one. My grandmother during the "Great Depression" had a cure for ringworm and fungus infections of the skin---- she would use a cast iron skillet to fry up a little nightshade with lard and use the mix to treat ringworm, reputably, it cured it with one application. Knowing that nightshade is a deadly poison, I'm afraid to try it without knowledge of the mechanism/chemistry of the "cure". You know?

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