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How to Use Herbs to Boost Your Poultry

Did you know the use of organic medication such as herbs, roots, and spices can make you big in poultry farming? And you can cut the cost as well using them.

In Nigeria, herbs, that’s the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring, garnishing food, medicinal purposes, and in some cases, for spiritual purposes. Are not limited to human use only, but have also be found to be extremely useful in livestock, especially in organic poultry farming where most of them are widely used as an alternative to synthetic drugs.

The use of synthetic drugs like antibiotics in poultry birds are now archaic and ill-advised as their prolonged use in chicken is said to be capable of inducing drug resistance in a disease-causing organism. It is based on this that the use of herbs in poultry has become the vogue in Nigeria for over a decade now. 

There are several potent herbs used in poultry in Nigeria, and many of them have antibiotic effects, therefore, used as vaccines, while some are used as a natural growth agent especially in meat and egg production.

There are 12 herbs, roots, and spices that are commonly used in organic poultry in Nigeria and they include:

Benefits of Herbs for Chicken Health | The Poultry Guide
  1. Garlic
  2. Tumeric
  3. Black Pepper
  4. Ginger
  5. Cloves
  6. Bitter leaf
  7. Cayenne pepper
  8. Aloe vera
  9. Basil (scent leaf)
  10. Neem (Dogoyaro)
  11. Pawpaw
  12. Tajiri (Christmas melon) 

 However, these 6 are the most commonly used herbs for organic poultry farming in Nigeria

  1. Garlic

 Garlic (Allium sativum) this is one of the most widely used herbs in poultry farming owing to its ability to cure or prevent poultry diseases as well as acting as a growth promoter. It is readily available and affordable but you must however ensure you give the right doses.

Dosage  

  • 10grams of garlic for each 1000grams of food and 25mg of extract for 1 liter of water then use 1 to 2% of the diet.
  • 100grams of garlic to produce 20 liters of extract.  However you want to use it, make sure it is 1 to 2% of the diet. Then give once or twice every month.
  • Tagiri Plant ( Christmas melon)  

Tagiri ( Adenopus breviflorus) is one of the oldest herbs used in poultry farming. It can be used to boost immune system and promote growth. It is also used as a potent vaccine against Newcastle Disease and other viral diseases.

How to Make Tagiri

  1.  Get some Tagiri bulbs, peel off the greenback, cut into pieces
  1. Measure water that is twice the weight of the Tagiri cuts in liters (i.e ratio 1:2)
  2. Pour the water into a jar or container
  3. Add the Tagiri cuts
  4. Cover the jar/container with a breathable mesh and use a rubber-band to hold it tight keep in a cool dark room and allow the Tagiri cuts to ferment inside the water for 7 days
  5. On 7th day, strain the Tagiri water into a bigger container, and then blend the Tagiri cut and the seeds and add into the Tagiri liquid that was strained earlier
  • The Tagiri extract is ready at this stage but remember not to add fresh water. You can preserve by refrigerating it or with molasses.

 Dosage 

 Add 30ml of the tagiri extract to one liter of water and serve your chickens daily for 5 days consecutively.

Though Tagiri extract is completely safe for birds before 14 weeks and can be given to day-old chicks in the form of a vaccine to ward off Newcastle disease, Marek’s Disease, etc be mindful however, never to use Tagiri extract for pullets and breeders above 14 weeks or layers in production.

  • Bitter leaf

Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) was the first organic herbs used in treating diarrhea in chicken. It is often found in backyard garden or farm in Igboland while some people use it in showing boundary or as fence.  It can be used to treat cases of whitish greenish diarrhea which usually occur at 6 weeks.

 How to prepare Bitter Leaf Extract

Squeeze out the extract adding a little water or you can blend the leaf and add small water, no need to sieve it. Make the extract as thick as orange juice.

 Dosage

  • For prevention, add 20 ml of bitter leaf extract per liter of clean water
  • For treatment, add 40ml of bitter leaf extract per liter of clean water.
  •  Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber offcinale) has been shown to contain several biologically active compounds such as gingerol, shogaols, gingerdiol, and gingerdione. And these compounds confer to ginger various activities such as antioxidants, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiparasitic, and immunomodulatory properties. 

Ginger is readily available and can be cultivated in any part of Nigeria. It is also one of the effective herbs used in poultry in Nigeria. 

Dosage

1 to 2% of the diet

Garlic can also be combined as it improves the performance of broilers when added at the rate of 1% of broiler ration.

  • Scent Leaf/Basil

Scent leaf or Basil, (Ocimum gratissimum), just like the bitter leaf is also potent for controlling diarrhea both in humans and chickens research shows that scent leaf added as a supplement in feed increases meat quality, improves gut health, and has no detrimental effect on performance and carcass characteristics.

Scent leaf is readily available in the market at a cheap rate and can be cultivated in any part of Nigeria.

Dosage: 

100ml of scent leaf extract per liter of water. The extract should be thick enough and not watery.

  • Aloe Vera

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is known to prevent and cure many ailments in both humans and animals It is very effective in warding off several viral diseases.

Aloe vera extract is effective against coccidiosis in industrial broiler chickens and stimulates the chicken immune system.  Aloe vera can be used as an alternative.

Dosage

Add 1% of Aloe vera gel to the drinking water of the bird.

There are several other potent herbs for treating and preventing several poultry diseases in Nigeria but always make sure to seek the advice of an expert in organic poultry farming to guide you more on how to use these herbs effectively as some of them may have negative side effects if not properly used.

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