Author of picture: Mike Mozart Link: https://goo.gl/FbJxYw
If you are one of those (like me) who hate grocery shopping, always make a list so that you can get what you need and get out of there as soon as possible! Just join the club!
The good old vinegar had again made its way high on the list in this brand new Easter venture. While I was making my way down the Salad Dressing Aisle, it dawned on me that we tend to buy a gross amount of vinegar!
I mean its list of household uses may be the longest one: we use it as a fabric softener, for window washing, for spraying down the shower, for cleaning stained coffee pots, for killing garden weeds, for removing soap scum, for pickling, for cooking… the list goes on of course.
I realized that the need for ‘gallons of vinegar’ stems mainly from the vegetable preserving season, but also from my ongoing ‘mission’ to eliminate chemical cleaning products from my home.
So, I’ve been looking up a lot of recipes for homemade substitutes, and in 9 cases out of 10, any given ingredient list starts exactly with the vinegar. It does seem that one magic potion can do everything: from killing nuisance weeds to nurturing a healthy respiratory system, doesn’t it?
As it is described in the dictionary of The Vinegar Institute the vinegar is “a sour liquid obtained by acetic fermentation of diluted alcoholic liquids.” I continued reading to find that in short, the vinegar comes as a result of 2 fermentation processes:
– the first is fermentation to alcohol, and then
– the second is from alcohol to acid.
The type of vinegar, be it white distilled, red wine, malt, balsamic, apple cider, etc. is determined by what has been fermented in the process.
In particular, the apple cider vinegar (fermented from apple peels and cores) has been long praised for its excellent health benefits. I remember my parents drinking it a bit diluted whenever they came down with a respiratory infection (a cold or the flu especially). They used to say, “It cuts the cold in the bud,” and claimed that it cleared the sinuses too.
Since we stuff our pantries with so much store-bought vinegar, I started wondering if making vinegar at home was a difficult process. And it turned out, it was not! For those of you who are interested, just search the web to find numerous easy recipes which break down all the steps to making your own vinegar.
Just give it a try, and soon you’ll make a habit of it. Nonetheless, whether you buy it at a store, or make it on your own, the vinegar is the chicken keepers’ best friend!
Here are 11 ways to use vinegar to make your company with chickens even better:
1. Add vinegar to the chicken’s water
Being the grandma’s cold remedy, the vinegar is healthy for chickens’ respiratory systems as well. It thins phlegm and has good antibiotic properties.
The highly-acetic atmosphere that the vinegar lends to our respiratory system makes anuncomfortable environment for viruses and bacteria.
It also helps create a healthy digestive system, boosts immunity, and helps fight dehydration during hot spells.
Now, I add a couple of tablespoons to my waterers every few days.Caution: Do not use vinegar in metal containers since it breaks down the metal and can leach chemicals into the drinking water.
2. Wash eggs with vinegar
Do you want your eggs to look purdy? Just give them a 10-second dip in warm vinegar. It really brings out the color in an egg shell, and it also helps remove stains and loosens dirt and grime.
3. Use vinegar for your chicken bath time
Giving your dirty chickens a nice bubbly bath every so often is a healthy practice. But by adding some apple cider vinegar to the rinse water, it becomes much healthier: it melts soap residue, it conditions chickens’ skin and feather, and discourages bug infestations.
4. Remove mineral buildup on waterers
We have water supply with well water with plenty of rust and calcium. These minerals cause rings on the chickens’ water dishes. As the water evaporates, the mineral scum coats the dishes and dries like stone. And of course, the rough porous surface of the crusty mineral is a bacteria-friendly place. To remove it, simply add a little white vinegar to the dishes, swish it around, and let it set for a 5-10 minutes. After this, the dish will easily wipe clean with some dish soap and water.
5. De-bug the nesting boxes and coop with vinegar
After cleaning up my chicken coop, I like to thoroughly spray the nest boxes and coop walls, surfaces, utensils, etc. with some white vinegar. It discourages lice, mites, and other creepy-crawlies. It also helps to deodorize and disinfect coops. It will dissolve dried egg yolk in the case that someone broke open an egg in the box. The vinegar has mild bleaching properties as well.
6. Soak chickens’ foot in vinegar
The vinegar helps soften dead skin around the feet. It will also discourage fungus under toenails and clean small cuts caused by scratching in rough pasture terrains.
A diluted mixture of vinegar and warm water can be applied as a compress for 3 minutes, or you can stand the chickens in a shallow tub.
Then scrub your chickens’ feet with a stiff bristle brush, rinse and apply a light coat of Vaseline to sooth and prevent bugs.
7. Vinegar loosens grime from difficult areas
The vinegar also helps to clean difficult areas such as intricate fencing or cages, perches, or cracks and crevasses that may be soiled. It helps clean the rims of waterers too. It is a good idea to spray
down any cages that have held quarantined birds, or if you use a reusable brooder box, wipe it down with vinegar to disinfect after the chicks run outside.
8. Vinegar is a conditioning spray
We know that there are many poultry sprays and dusts meant to combat mites, lice and other nasties. But these sprays can contain pretty harsh chemicals. If you have a major infestation, you might be forced to consider those. But my personal philosophy is to use an ‘ounce of prevention.’ A bi-weekly regimen of diluted vinegar sprayed near the vent, the legs, and under the wings, alternating with Diomateous earth dustings, has helped to control mites and bugs with my flock.
9. Clean the incubator with vinegar
After the chicks have hatched many times the incubator is left a stinky, sticky mess. Vinegar cuts hatching odors, disinfectants and prevents mold and mildew. I also use rubbing alcohol near the motor on a cotton swab because it evaporates quickly.
10. Use vinegar with your Easter egg dye
With the Easter Day just round the corner, I have started dying our wool from our Angora goats and the vinegar is the source of acid that sets the dye in the fiber.
As I am writing this, dye and vinegar are fresh in my mind (and nose for that matter!), so I couldn’t leave out this colorful spring time use of vinegar.
11. Pickle your eggs with vinegar
One of my favorite and delicious ways to use vinegar is in pickled eggs! These tangy, sweet gems are delicious with beets as well!
And if you can or jar them, it is a great way to preserve an abundance of eggs.
So, if you start using the vinegar around your coop, share it with our community, and let us know how you use this versatile ingredient by leaving a comment below.
The Vinegar Institute