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How often do us adults become unwell in winter? Even with all the immune boosting goodies we make, the help from holistic health professionals, GP’s, even flu shots are on the agenda nowadays, we still get sick.

You’d think the mix of green smoothies, juices, tablets, exercise, wood fires, Ugg boots & nips of whiskey would do the trick. Yet some of us still become unwell. So, think about your chooks out in the hen house. What hope have they got? What can we do to ensure they sail through winter healthy and contented?

If you follow us on the socials you’d see we live on a rural property with a sheep or two, a kangaroo, a veranda out the back… Ok not a pet roo, but we do have chickens, sheep, lambs (at this time of year) two cats and a little dog. Our vegie patch is small but growing and our fruit trees are in, but need some tlc.

We’ve had pigs and ducks as well.

We love to use what we have. To be able to walk up and grab fresh eggs when we need, to have our chooks scratch around in the garden and do a great job of eating any weeds before they seed and snails, what are they? Amazing!

It makes sense to me that chicken health is top of my agenda along with ours. Here’s what I’ve done recently to pick them up, keep them warm and content and get them well.

I thought you’d like to read it.

Just like us, our feathered friends can become unwell with respiratory infections in the cooler months. Drafts in the hen house, shortened daylight hours and chilly weather is enough to make anyone feel a little miserable.

I started making this meal up a week ago when I noticed a couple of chickens ‘sneezing’. I’ve never encountered the sneeze before but one knows when their chookies aren’t 100%. If it was our kids I’d be dosing them up with what I mentioned in our previous email on Winter Wellness so I got busy trying to find something just as good for our feathered friends.

I love researching, I started pulling stuff out of my pantry and fridge and looking them up. Interesting!

Porridge is an amazing warming bowl of goodness to have during the chilly winter months. Guess what? It turns out that your chickens love it too. Making up a big pot of porridge in the morning is so good. It warms the house and our tummies.

Some extra oats were put on for the chooks after I found out they love it and that it is full of protein, B vitamins, calcium and fibre.

What else did I have that could possibly help them?

☆ grated ginger

☆ chopped garlic

☆ fresh picked parsley

☆ matcha powder (can use green tea leaves)

☆ cayenne

☆ kelp

☆ thyme (only had dried)

☆ cinnamon

All of these have either been used to help chickens by some other curious human, and have had wonderful results. Some of these ingredients have even been tested in laboratories and found to help boost the chickens immune system.

The how

Cook your porridge, it doesn’t have to be completely soft like us humans like it. Once cooked enough add all the other ingredients.

As a very rough guide I added 2 tablespoons of each ingredient, except the cayenne, only a teaspoon there. Let it cool a bit so your chooks don’t burn their insides. Then take it up to them and place in a long container so they all get some and don’t jump on top of each other trying to get to it

They devoured it, I’ve been giving it to them 3 – 4 times a week.

In combination with this, on the days leading up to the full moon I always make sure their drinkers are turned off, I get out buckets for the water instead and make up a natural worming brew.

Fill up the buckets.

Grab an old sock and pop in a few crushed garlic cloves and some cayenne pepper, sometimes ginger too. Put in a couple tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar.

Then I peg it onto the side and leave it there for a week at least.

At the moment I’m leaving the sock in until they’re sounding a bit better.

I’m not a vet by any means but I’ve seen improvements in droppings and comb colour from just the natural worming method.

Fingers crossed our oat mash works just as well.

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Here’s my disclaimer – I am not a Vet, but an animal lover trying to raise healthy happy stock and flock as naturally as possible. I consult a qualified veterinarian whenever needed and I suggest you do to. If in any doubt on quantities, recipe ingredients please give your local animal health professional a call.