Garlic is one of the most widely used seasonings and traditional medicines worldwide. But despite its flavorful taste and health benefits, some people and animals, including rabbits, moles, and chickens, shy away from it. Does it mean that your chickens cannot eat garlic?
What is Garlic?
Garlic is mainly composed of water, carbohydrates, protein, dietary fiber, and fat. A clove of garlic also contains a nutritional value that includes vitamin B, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin, calcium, iron, zinc, and pantothenic acid that helps oxidize fats and carbohydrates.
Garlic has been used as traditional medicine in some parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe for centuries due to its antibiotic benefits. Today, garlic is used to treat several conditions like high cholesterol, hypertension, and coronary heart disease. Some reports also show that garlic is used to prevent some types of cancer like lung cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer, to name a few.
Can Chickens Eat Garlic?
Yes, chickens can eat garlic, and it can be beneficial as part of their diet.
Garlic has natural antibiotic properties to help your chickens’ immune system fight against bird illnesses and diseases.
However, though your chickens can eat garlic, it would help if you introduce your chickens first to the pungent smell of garlic. Otherwise, they will only peck it and leave.
If your chickens start ignoring the garlic, you may need to incorporate a small amount of garlic into your chickens’ feed until they get used to it. Or, you can mix the crushed garlic into your chickens’ water.
Is Garlic Dangerous to Chickens?
Though garlic is usually associated with onions, garlic is safe for chickens.
This is proven by most farm owners feeding their chickens with garlic to strengthen their chickens’ immune systems. However, garlic has a specific component that may be lethal to the chicken.
Garlic contains thiosulphate, which, when consumed too much, will destroy your chickens’ red blood cells, in some cases, chickens that were overdosed with thiosulphate often ended with anemia and jaundice.
What are the Benefits of Garlic in Chickens?
Apart from its antibacterial properties, garlic also has other anti-pathogen properties that fight off different types of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Pair this with garlic’s Vitamin B, Vitamin C, and antioxidants, and your chickens can attain optimal health.
Garlic is known to have the capability to stimulate appetite. When your chickens feel sick and lose their appetite, you can blend garlic into their food to help your chickens start eating again.
Garlic has been known to be a medicinal plant for centuries. If your chicken gets wounded from roaming around, you can apply crushed garlic to your chicken’s wound to stop the bleeding and help your chicken heal quickly.
Boost immune System
Garlic is known to be a nutrition-packed herb, this means that constantly feeding your chicken with garlic-induced meal or garlic-induced water will help them improve their overall health.
What You Need to Know Before Feeding Garlic to Chickens?
When you first introduce your chickens to garlic, you must do these things:
Crush the garlic
Remember, our goal is to have our chicken eat the pungent garlic to get all the nutritional value possible.
It will always be best to crush the garlic first and blend it into their food. A clove of crushed garlic can also be digested easily, which means that your chickens can quickly get the vitamins and minerals. Otherwise, your chickens will get tired from pecking one whole clove of garlic.
Keep in mind that anything too much is harmful to your body. This applies to your chickens as well. Too much Garlic in their food can make them sick. So, when you feed your chickens, it should be 80-20 or 70-30. That is 70 to 80 percent feed and 20 to 30 percent garlic.
Do not give your chickens the whole clove of crushed Garlic.
What are the Ways to Feed Your Chickens?
There are three ways to feed your chickens garlic, and it is not as complicated as you think.
Mix Garlic with Other Food
The best way to feed your feathery friend with garlic is by mixing the herb with its food. When the garlic is blended with the chicken’s food, the chicken eats it and other components that make up the chicken’s immune system.
These components will then be broken down inside your chicken’s stomach. The garlic and other broken nutritional components bind together to form a new compound that your chickens can benefit from.
Mix Garlic with Water
Your chickens need to be well-hydrated every day. When you prepare their water, mix 1 clove of raw crushed garlic with 1 liter of water. This will suffice the chickens’ need for vitamins and minerals and water.
Liquid intake is the fastest way to get those vitamins and minerals from the garlic. In just a couple of minutes, the garlic’s nutrients will start running to your chicken’s bloodstream.
Giving garlic oil to your chickens automatically helps them get rid of red mites, lice, and ticks. Their blood will no longer be appealing to these parasites.
Garlic is known to have a component that can effectively deworm chickens, so you will get an instant dewormer, too. In addition to that, the garlic and oil mixture can affect and level of ammonia in your chicken’s manure, your feathery friend’s manure will not smell as bad as ammonia-induced chicken poop.
Just a gentle reminder, though. Please do not feed your chickens Garlic more than twice a week as it can damage their liver.
How to Make Garlic Oil Paste Chicken Feed?
Preparing the garlic-oil concoction is easy. See the ingredients below and the steps.
What you need:
|Scrap or Scratch feeds
- Mix the minced Garlic and olive oil in a glass container.
- Soak it under the sun for at least 4 hours.
- While you are preparing the garlic and oil paste, mix the feed and scratch feed (e.g., crushed corn).
- Combine the feed mixture and garlic-oil mixture.
- Feed the mixture to your chickens.
Here’s another way to boost your chicken’s immune system using Garlic. Check the video below.
What to do if your chicken consumes too much Garlic?
If your chicken gets ill from consuming Garlic, you may want to call a veterinarian immediately. But in case that the veterinarians are not available, here’s the best way to save your chicken.
Most people who have been raising chickens use this most straightforward remedy to flush the toxins from their chicken’s body.
- Epsom salt flush
- Molasses flush
The two types of flush listed above serve as laxatives that will help your chicken flush out the toxins on their body without dehydrating them. However, if your chickens still cannot fully recover, it is better to bring your chicken to a veterinarian.
Here’s a video link that may help you with your poisoned or sick chickens.
After flushing the toxins, isolate the sick chicken. Like our immune system, the chicken’s immune system goes down when they are sick. This means that they can easily catch bacteria and viruses. Thus, it is advisable to keep them away from the flock until they get well.
Learn more about what to do when your chicken gets sick.
Is Garlic Safe for Chicks?
Yes, Garlic provides the same benefits to chicks. You can start feeding them with a feed-garlic mixture to introduce them to the herb slowly. However, you must be mindful of the portion that you will be giving to your chicks. Too much garlic can be harmful to them.
Garlic contains vitamins and minerals that boost your chicken’s immune system and fight off common avian diseases and illnesses. It is best to incorporate Garlic into your chicken’s feed. However, it would help if you fed your chicken’s Garlic moderately, too much garlic may lead to health issues.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.