Chickens need a wide variety of foods and treats in order for them to have a healthy and balanced diet. As a chicken keeper, you’re always looking for new and healthy treat ideas to feed your flock. No one likes eating the same food every day, even your chickens. If you have an aloe vera plant, you might be thinking of how many health benefits it has for humans. Can chickens have aloe too? Is it healthy, or even safe, for them to eat? We can eat aloe, drink aloe juice, and even apply its gel directly to our skin, but can our chickens do the same?
Can Chickens Eat Aloe
Yes, chickens can eat aloe, it has many health benefits. Aloe vera has many healing properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and antiviral properties for your chickens with very few side effects. It’s also been known to help with bumblefoot, and other ailments they may suffer from.
Before we get into why aloe vera is good for chickens. You first have to understand why aloe vera is considered the “wonder plant.”
What Is Aloe
Aloe vera has been used for centuries because of its medicinal, health, beauty, and skincare benefits. It has been used in many cultures and places such as ancient Greece, ancient Egypt, India, Mexico, Japan, and China.
Aloe vera grows in naturally dry regions such as Africa, Asia, Europe, America, and India. It is also very commonly found in yards as decorations or households as potted plants.
It is a very hardy plant and can withstand a lot. The “wonder plant” has triangular fleshy leaves with serrated edges that are usually built up in tiers, the biggest leaves on the bottom and the smallest at the top.
There are 75 potentially active vitamins, enzymes, minerals, sugars, lignin, saponins, salicylic acids, and amino acids inside aloe vera. Aloe is known to have many healing properties, such as helping sunburns, and is very moisturizing. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antitumor, and antiseptic properties.
Aloe has also been proven to help boost the immune system. There are also anti-histamine properties which means it can help block histamine-related reactions such as allergies. Aloe is also used as a laxative as it increases the amount of fluid inside the intestines.
Active Components Found In Aloe Vera
The plant contains over 70 potentially active constituents. It is rich in both vitamins and minerals that will promote overall good health for your feathered friends.
Some of the minerals and vitamins it contains are:
- Vitamins A
- B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, and E
Therefore, your chickens will likely benefit from eating this herb.
Is Aloe Healthy For Chickens
Aloe is perfectly safe and even healthy for your chickens to consume occasionally. Aloe shouldn’t be eaten on a daily basis as that can cause some side effects or bad reactions, but it can be given as a treat or used for specific ailments.
There are many health benefits for chickens associated with feeding them or topically applying aloe vera.
According to PoultryDVM, here are some specific applications of aloe vera that have been studied in chickens:
Adding 0.1% to 0.5% aloe vera powder to a chicken’s feed reduces the amount of fecal oocyst shedding in chickens with Coccidiosis. This means aloe is proven to be anticoccidial in chickens and has protective/preventative effects.
Improves Intestinal Health
Aloe also has been proven to improve your chickens’ intestinal microflora. The intestinal microflora is a type of beneficial bacteria that lives inside the intestines and helps digest food.
They create vitamins such as biotin and vitamin K and are very important in overall gut health.
Enhances the Immune System
Aloe has also been shown to enhance the immune system in chickens.
When the aloe vera gel is added to their water or food, it increases the number of antibodies in chickens with the Newcastle Disease Virus. This disease is very contagious and usually fatal. It affects the chickens’ respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems.
Aloe is antibacterial and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Salmonella. It can also be used topically on wounds as an antibacterial to prevent infections.
Many chicken keepers have used the herbal plant to treat bumblefoot and scaly leg. There are several recipes online that work. Here’s one that I’ve found extremely helpful.
1 cap tea tree oil
1 tablespoons finely chopped aloe vera leaf
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablepoons water
Mix all the ingredients to create a thick paste-like solution. Apply it directly to your chicken’s wounds.
Side Effects of Giving Chickens Aloe Vera
Just like anything else, giving your chickens too much of anything can cause issues.
Aloe can have some harmful side effects if their symptoms aren’t monitored. Because aloe is a laxative, it may cause some diarrhea.
If you notice your chickens having diarrhea and don’t replenish their electrolytes with something like coconut water, they could become dehydrated.
This will only happen if you let your chicken consume high doses of aloe.
Some chickens, like humans, can have an allergic reaction when aloe is applied topically. Make sure to dab a bit of gel on the skin to see if there is any reaction before spreading it over a wide area or letting your chicken consume it.
Bad reactions are rare, and you shouldn’t worry if your chickens get into some aloe vera plants.
When To Give Chickens Aloe
Aloe vera can be given to your chickens very occasionally. If they are experiencing constipation, you can add a tiny amount to their food or water.
Because they are so high in vitamins and antioxidants, aloe can also be fed occasionally as a treat. Don’t feed your chicken more than a quarter of a leaf a week, as this could cause diarrhea and dehydration.
You can apply aloe vera to your chickens’ skin if it is dry or needs soothing from a rash or sunburn. Aloe is also very moisturizing and can be used to hydrate dry and scaly skin.
Aloe vera has so many health benefits and is perfectly safe for your chickens to eat. Aloe has been used for centuries in many different cultures because it is well-known for its health, medicinal, skincare, and beauty benefits.
Aloe has healing properties, can heal sunburns, is an anti-inflammatory, laxative, histamine blocker, immune-enhancing, antiviral, antitumor, moisturizing, antiseptic, and antibacterial.
It’s also been proven as an anticoccidial in chickens and also increases their intestinal microflora.
You can apply aloe vera directly to your chicken’s skin if it needs soothing from sunburn or rash. It can also be used to treat dry and scaly skin because of its intense moisturizing properties.
Aloe should only be fed occasionally as it can cause diarrhea and dehydration in your flock. Because it’s a laxative, you can use it to prevent or treat constipation as long as you supplement extra electrolytes such as coconut water.
Chickens can indeed eat aloe vera with little to no side effects. However, it’s always wise to check for a skin reaction before you feed it to them directly.
Don’t worry if your chickens get into some aloe vera plants without you knowing, as side effects are very rare, and it is usually safe for them to eat and touch.