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Home remedies for hens

If you have a hen who may be feeling a little under the weather, but perhaps it’s the weekend and you can’t contact your vet, there are a few home remedies for hens you can try to perk her up. 

The remedies listed below are a combination of tried and tested methods plus suggestions received from rehomers. 

Disclaimer: none of the information here is intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease, nor is it intended to replace proper veterinary care. If you are concerned about your hen’s health please seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. 

Home remedies for hens 

Acidified Copper Sulphate 

This powder contains copper sulfate and and acidifier and is used for different purposes in the dairy and poultry industry. It can be used as an antifungal treatment for sour crop and also for Trichomoniasis (oral canker). 

The suggested quantity, as confirmed by our poultry vet, is to add 1g per 3-5 litres of drinking water and 3ml apple cider vinegar. Make it up fresh on a daily basis and feed ad lib as drinking water. Please note, it is important not to use a metal drinker when adding apple cider vingear. 


Chicken keepers have fed their hens garlic for years as an all-round natural remedy. This can be given to your hens in the form of garlic oil or raw garlic bulbs crushed up and added to their drinking water. A word of warning: go easy to begin with! A whole bulb of garlic in your water will taste funny to your hens, so start with a small amount and gradually increase to their tolerance level. 

We have had anecdotal evidence that garlic could potentially be helpful for oral canker, but aside from that it’s a great immune booster. Some supporters have suggested it makes their hens’ eggs taste odd, so this is worth bearing in mind. 


If you are giving nasty tasting medicines a few drops of Ribena will help. Keep a quantity with your hen supplies, not in the kitchen. 

Dust bath 

We’ve long promoted the benefits of a good dust bath for your hens – it’s their version of a spa day! Add wood ash/multipurpose compost/diatomaceous earth/sand and watch your feathered friends enjoy. This is a great way to get your hens to self-medicate with diatomaceous earth to protect them against red mite. 

Eucalyptus oil 

It has been suggested that eucalyptus oil deters parasites and can aid respiration when sprayed onto chicken bedding. We suggest not using full strength oil and instead diluting in carrier oil such as olive oil, sunflower or coconut oil. 

Milk thistle 

Milk thistle is believed to be useful for supporting hens with liver problems. Use half a dropper of Natures Answer Water Extracted Milk Thistle daily in food or water. 

Dr Mercola Liver and Kidney Support also contains milk thistle – we would advise one scoop mixed in mash to support your hens’ liver and kidney function. 

Baicalin powder 

This is a natural food product which has reportedly shown to be useful for hens with Marek’s disease. 

Source, Pirbright Institute.  

Impacted crop 

If you are struggling to get olive oil into your hen mash up some watermelon and add olive oil. The bird should eat the mixture. 

Coconut oil and massage has also been suggested to loosen an impacted crop. 

Sour crop 

Oregano oil mixed with olive oil three times daily is suggested to be effective at helping hens with sour crop

Red mite in hen house 

Vaseline rubbed down the joints in the hen house can deter red mite as they cannot grip on to the surface. This was recommended by a BHWT supporter who swears by this method. 

Balmonds Chamomile Baby oil 

This baby oil has been suggested by several people for treating hens with dry bald areas of skin. 

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural supplement, useful for crop and gut conditions. Do not use it in a metal container as it can cause zinc poisoning which could prove fatal to your hens. 

Our recommended dosage is 10-50ml per litre of drinking water for 5 days. 

Home remedies for hens 

As you can see, there are lots of home remedies for hens which can prove useful as pick me ups. Have we missed any? What would you add? 

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