Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Stinking Rose

So. One day, I’m in Lowe’s Hardware and I see a poultry magazine praising the benefits of garlic in a chicken’s diet.

So, when I got home, I hopped online and did some research about garlic and chickens. And the first thing that came up was a recipe for Garlic Chicken. (For that recipe, click here)

Not what I was hoping for. So I decided to just look into the benefits of garlic in general. And then see how they apply to chickens.

So. Let’s talk garlic.

It dates back over 6000 years and is native to Central Asia. There are about 300 varieties of garlic and it's sometimes refered to as The Stinking Rose, but it's actually part of the lily family. And I, for one, love it.
How can something so small bring so much joy?

I use garlic in everything. Liberally. And apparently, according to folk-lore, old wives’ tales, and Whole Foods, I’m doing the right thing. Garlic is wonderful. And to paraphrase this website here

  • The medicinal properties and benefits of garlic are strongest when it is raw and crushed or very finely chopped
  • Raw, crushed garlic is an anti-fungal, however it can produce skin blistering
  • Raw, crushed garlic is a powerful antibiotic
  • Cooked prepared garlic is less powerful but still reputedly of benefit to the cardiovascular system
  • Garlic cloves cooked whole have very little medicinal value however their milder taste makes them more acceptable to some people
  • There have been claims that garlic can help with cholesterol management however the research is inconclusive
  • Vampires do not like garlic. Everyone knows it, but these days not too many people are promoting it.

Okay.  So, the vampire factoid is mine. But the rest of it sounds pretty good.

Now. How does this all relate to my flock?

Well according to the Mudbrick Cottage website, with regards to chickens, garlic is the best organic treatment for worms. (Click here for the treatment)  

The site also says that garlic is good not only for worms, but also for lice, mites, and chicken health in general. Other sites do, too. Check out here, here, and here.

And speaking of mites, the red mite keeps coming up in my research. says this about them:

Red Mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) is a blood-feeding ecto-parasite that lives in cracks and crevices in your chicken house, coming out at night to hop onto a bird for a feast. They cannot fly but are a very serious problem for poultry keepers and a large infestation can kill your birds by sucking their blood, making them anaemic.
How can something so small cause so much pain?
Red Mite photo from Wikipedia
Wait. Blood-feeding? Comes out at night? Can kill by making its victims anaemic? Wait. That sounds familiar. Don't tell me. Don't tell me... Vampires! That’s right. So maybe that little factoid up top wasn’t so far off. Oh. And yes, red mites hate garlic. A lot. They don't like how it makes the chicken's skin smell or how it makes the chicken's blood taste.

So. Those are some positives. Now what about the negatives.

Well, a couple resources have had minimally negative things to say. Primarily that if chickens eat a lot of garlic, the garlic will taint the taste of the eggs. (Same goes for onions and fish, by the way.) So, there’s that. Garlicky eggs. I couldn't find much else that was all that bad.

So, the results are in. And I guess I should have just listened to what that magazine at Lowes had to say. Garlic is indeed good for the flock. Its health benefits certainly outweigh the garlicky eggs thing. And if it’s only fed to the chickens every so often, this shouldn’t even be an issue.

Plus. It will keep those pesky vampires away. So, there’s that. Which is nice.

--Chicken Dup

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe I'm the first one to leave a comment here. I love your blog. Love your writing. Please keep writing. I think I found you on Twitter.
    I just started my own herd of mealworms. My hens are gonna loooove me!