The Natural Barnyard
by Kimberly Bruner of Prineville, OR
The successful use of herbs in the treatment of disease and sickness in mankind is well documented. Herbs can be equally successful in treating the various ailments that affect livestock. These herbal treatments are economical, and will not leave the residue nor the harmful side effects as some chemical remedies do, thus leaving your farm products un-useful.
Garlic, well known for its immune enhancing power and blood cleansing ability due in part, to one of the components, crotonaldehyde, is very effective for worming of livestock and prevention thereof.
For mild infestations of worms in horses, mash three to four roots of garlic and mix it with a bran and molasses mash, for six to eight weeks. You can also give six four-grain tablets with the evening feeding for two weeks. The fore mentioned method of adding the garlic to the bran and molasses mash mix will also aid in replenishing vitamins and minerals that were lost to the parasites. You may also add three drops of Thyme essential oil to each feeding.
For treating worms in your chickens, feed two cloves of garlic per hen for two weeks. If the parasites appear to be extremely stubborn, the flock will still appear droopy and unthrifty. If they are eating a good sum of food but not producing the eggs that they should, place the hens on a twenty-four hour fast and when you commence feeding, mix equal parts of cayenne pepper with wormwood. Feed one half teaspoon per hen.
For the treatment of worms in your goats or sheep, it is best to fast the adults for twenty-four hours. After the fasting period then administer three four-grain tablets once daily for ten to fourteen days. An addition to the diet of carrots, garlic, horseradish, and mustard in the daily feed ration will act as a curative and a preventative. The dandelion plant is yet another treatment that also aids you in keeping parasites under control, while at the same time allows your stock to graze naturally and allows you to keep your lawn under tow. If you are milking your goat, add a good sum of carrots to their daily feeding or spray one teaspoon of the following formula to their daily feed ration: ten drops of carrot oil in three ounces of boiling water. To increase the milk production, add one teaspoon of the following mixture to their daily feed ration: seven drops of fennel oil and eight drops of dill oil diluted in three ounces of boiling water.
The family cow can be wormed by adding fresh garlic to the daily feed ration in the amount of six roots of garlic mashed and mixed with bran and molasses. Administer for eight to ten weeks. Take care to administer the treatment at the evening milking so as not to taint your milk supply. You may want to move your milking time to a tad earlier than usual as an extra precautionary measure. After the regular treatment, cut garlic amount to three roots and continue to feed every other day with the evening feed ration. To increase your cows milk production, mix the dried herb, Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis), directly into the cows feed; a small handful, or one half cup per half pound of grain. You can also mix one teaspoon of the formula in the cows regular feed ration once daily: one teaspoon of fifteen drops of Lemon Balm essential oil with three ounces of boiling water. The herb, Marjoram, is useful in increased lactation, and also beneficial to the uterus in aiding healing after birth. Place ten drops of Marjoram oil in three ounces of boiling water. Add one teaspoon of this to one quart of water and spray on the cows feed ration. A handful of the brightly yellow colored flowers of the herb called Cowslip (Primula veris) will give an exceptional color and flavor to your dairy products. Another troublesome ailment that can affect your cow is commonly known as Cow Pox. Cow Pox is similar in appearance to chicken pox. Symptoms include red bumps that look like an insect bite. These bumps develop white pussy heads that eventually pop and form scabs. Cow Pox causes the udder and teats to become very tender. Aloe Vera gel is wonderfully soothing and healing for all burns, abrasions and sores. It is equally so in the treatment of Cow Pox. Clean the udder and teats gently with lukewarm water. Let the area dry so as not to cause any further irritation. Generously apply the Aloe Vera gel to the Cow Pox. Repeat after each milking and once during the midday. Continue the treatment until the affected areas are healed. Take care when milking so that you avoid opening the sores. Excess moisture seems to contribute to the problem so try to house the cow in a dry area.
Hoof Rot affects all species of hoofed animals. If left untreated it can cause lameness in the animal and may spread to your other livestock. Hoof Rot is diagnosable by the foul rotting odor accompanied by soft, whitish spots on the inner hoof. Remove the infected animal from contact with the others. Wash the hoof or hooves with soapy water. Pick the hoof to remove all debris. Run water over the infected area again. Fill a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide and spray the infected areas until the fizzing action has ceased. Apply iodine the same way, followed by some petroleum jelly to keep the hoof from drying out, causing flaking or cracking of the hoof and worsening the problem. Place the animal in a dry, clean area with straw bedding. Take care to clean as often as needed to prevent further damage to the hoof. Continue treatment until white areas have disappeared and the foul odor is gone.
Skin disorders such as Ringworm are highly contagious to both the other animals around the infected animal and to people. It is best to separate the infected animal until treatment is well established, so as to keep it from spreading. Wear disposable gloves and wash with very warm, soapy water after treating the area. Ringworm symptoms are distinguishable by the circular disk shapes that are usually temporarily shed of hair, particularly in the latter stages. As with mange, animals with ringworm generally spend a considerable amount of time scratching the area on anything that will stand still long enough. Mange is characterized by large patches of hide that are clearly visible, but there is no particular shape. Tea Tree essential oil has proven highly effective when used in the treatment of ringworm and mange as it contains strong antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. Apply one drop to the ringworm and the area immediately surrounding the affected area three times a day until it has disappeared, usually within seven to ten days. Follow the same treatment for mange. You may also apply the following mixture, making sure the entire area is covered three times a day: three drops of Lavender oil and three drops of Tea Tree oil to three ounces of boiling water. Continue until area is healed.
For mites in young chicks rub a small amount of Eucalyptus oil around the neck and on top of the head. Take care not to get in or near the eyes. In adult chickens that have taken to their natural instinct of dust bathing, this will keep the mites at bay. You can also give your poultry flock a thorough dusting with powdered charcoal. Hold them upside down by their legs, make sure to get plenty under their wings.
For cuts and abrasions apply a good amount of the following formula to the injured area: six drops of either Lavender oil or Thyme essential oil to the injured area. Their anti-bacterial properties will speed the recovery of the injured area and protect it from infection. Always cleanse the area first with peroxide and water.
To keep those pesty flies at bay during the warm summer months, mix one ounce of Citronella oil to one and a half cups of boiling water. Allow to cool and place in a spray bottle. Apply liberally as needed. If flies still persist, increase the amount of Citronella oil or try four drops of Thyme oil, eight drops of Lemon Grass, four drops of Lavender oil and four drops of peppermint oil to one and a half cups of boiling water and apply the same way, or use either of the formulas by saturating the grooming brush and groom as usual.
For the barn and beyond, plant peppermint or spearmint near entrances and against exterior walls. This will keep disease spreading mice away, as they detest this herb. Sprigs of dried mint can also be hung from the rafters and utility hooks. Clean pastures/paddocks are of utmost importance in the control of parasites and other troublesome ailments. Rotation of stock and occasional liming of those areas is beneficial to both man and beast.
Though treating your livestock with natural remedies may be more time consuming than traditional methods, more commonly used they allow the animals natural body systems to work as they were created to and prevent toxic build up of chemicals and still allow your farm to use the products that you have spent time and money rearing. As with all ills that plague us earthly creatures, prevention is always the best medicine. Thus maintaining a healthy diet and environment is the best medicine.