Does Apple Cider Vinegar protect your flock?

With Christmas being right around the corner, it’s time to celebrate and enjoy all things APPLE CIDER! Believe it or not, apple cider can be dated back to nearly 55 B.C. when the Romans sailed to the British Isles.  Historians believe that the locals were drinking a cider-like drink made from apples.  This popular cider spread across Europe and became popular with German tribal members to the Normans (Lewis, 2016).

While apple cider has been a beloved drink by many, apple cider vinegar (ACV) has seen a rise in demand over the last couple of years in not only humans but animals too, specifically poultry.  However, there’s a mixed amount of feelings when it comes to using ACV in poultry water as to whether it is beneficial to the birds’ health. 

A study conducted by Hayajneh, Jalal, Zakaria, Abdelgader and Abujamjeh, from the School of Agriculture, Department of Animal Production at the Jordan University investigated the anticoccidial effect of ACV added to drinking water of broiler chickens and compared it to amprolium (a coccidiostat used for the treatment and prevention of coccidiosis) in the feed of broiler chickens. The study showed that no clinical signs of coccidiosis were observed in the blood of the group being administered ACV; however, the positive control group (those not administered anything) and the negative control group (amprolium) were observed to show signs of increased coccidial oocytes (germ cells involved in reproduction) in feces with time. Antioxidants and catalase enzyme activity were also noticed to increase and malondialdehyde concentration significantly decreased (signs of oxidative stress) (Hayajneh et al., 2018).

What is coccidiosis? Coccidiosis is characterized, in avians, as an infectious protozoan disease caused by a gut parasite.  The parasites are transmitted into the body orally and multiply within parts of the gastrointestinal tract.  As a result, this causes gut damage as well as other conditions like inflammation, diarrhea, mortality, etc.

Another study evaluated the effects of ACV and E. coli and found that ACV acts like an anti-pathogenic compound because of its multiple antimicrobial properties.  The study concluded that with the administering of ACV the cell integrity of E. coli growth was limited, and the ACV was able to increase phagocytic responses which helps fight off harmful bacteria (Yagnik, Serafin, Shah, 2018).   

It’s important to remember, though, that ACV is not a miracle worker.  For example, although it might help to increase pH levels in the crop which can help aid in microbe degradation and depletion, digestion and more, it will not 100 percent get rid of harmful bacteria; therefore, you should still continue to properly care for your chickens such as deworming regularly (ChickenWaterer, 2012).  In addition, despite experiments that have been done, there is still little evidence that shows side effects of acetic acid on poultry, leaving us to somewhat take a chance on the administering of ACV in poultry water.

Regardless, use your best judgement and personal preference if you decide to administer ACV to your birds.  While it is not a cure to all your troubles when it comes to your flock, it is an organic method to help protect your birds and add a layer of extra protection without potentially administering antibiotics or expensive products. 


Hayajneh, F., Jalal, M., Zakaria, H., Abdelgader, A., & Abuajamjeh, M. 2018. Anticoccidial effect of apple cider vinegar on broiler chicken: an organic treatment to measure antioxidant effect. Polish Academy of Sciences. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Lewis, Danny. 2016. The Ancient Origins of Apple Cider.  Smart News.

Yagnik, D., Serafin, V., & Shah, A.J. 2018.  Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candid albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Scientific Reports.  National Center for Biotechnology Information.

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