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Apple Cider Vinegar (for Horses, Chickens, Cows or What Have You)

Have you got sheep? Goats? A flock of urban chickens?

Are you feeding them apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar – for horses, poultry, pigs or any kind of livestock – is a great idea. It’s an immune booster. It’s a medicine. You could even argue it’s a source of sustenance!

You’re here to learn how to use it, right? Well, here’s the optimal ratio:

1 c. apple cider vinegar
100 gal. water

Or, if your watering trough isn’t quite so big as all that:

2 and a half tsp. apple cider vinegar
5 gal. water

Easy to remember, right? One five-gallon bucket, two and a half teaspoons.

Or you could just slosh some in. Extra vinegar won’t hurt. Actually, it might even help.

According to Will Winter (founder of American Holistic Livestock Association and a Ph.D. in veterinary medicine), apple cider vinegar – for horses and cows and chickens and pigs – can remedy any of the following:

Apple Cider Vinegar... for horses and everyone else on the farm, too.

Apple Cider Vinegar… for horses and everyone else on the farm, too.

  • Scours
  • Loose manure
  • Pneumonia
  • Foot rot
  • Pinkeye
  • Worms
  • Flukes
  • External parasites
  • Poor feed assimilation
  • Mold intoxication
  • Abortion
  • Kidney stones (water belly)
  • Infertility
  • Johne’s disease
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Bloat
  • Grass tetany
  • High somatic cell counts
  • Mastitis

In his words:

“Sounds like a panacea, which it isn't, but, since acetic acid is integral in all digestion, it affects stabilization of body pH and
improves mineral assimilation; this is very important. ACV works in ways we don't understand.

All right, but here’s one part we do understand. Apple cider vinegar is full of acetic acid. Acetic acid is great for your animals. Example:

Take ruminants: the grass-eating, cud-chewing mammals we love. Ruminants have the unique ability to derive energy from a wide variety of plants, like grass. They can do this because their digestive tract includes a special section called the rumen, which is populated by a special culture of microorganisms – rumen bugs – which make this possible. According to Will Winter, a cow has to eat several pounds of hay before these microorganisms can generate 1 c. of acetic acid, i.e., the volatile fatty acids that provide the cow with energy.

So, when you give that same cow small portions of apple cider vinegar – which is made of acetic acid and water – it’s like giving her “concentrated nutrition.”

The same goes for other animals too, of course. ACV isn’t just great for ruminants, but also for poultry and pets; apple cider vinegar for horses works wonders.

And not just animals, either. ACV can cure human problems, too!

That said, the type of ACV you use matters a lot. Two brands stand out best: Fleischmann’s and Bragg’s.

Why do they stand out? Because they’re fermented; that is, alive. Other vinegars, including distilled and white vinegars, lack the raw, unpasteurized “mother” – a rubbery, teeming lump of goodness in the form of living, healthy, helpful microorganisms, not to mention a wealth of beneficial minerals.

So, how to prepare apple cider vinegar for horses, cows, chickens or any other animals you might have?

Easiest option, put it in their water. If you’re talking big livestock, they may dislike the taste at first, but they’ll adjust. Your backyard flock of chickens, too, will be happy to drink ACV-spiked water. (Just make sure you’re not using an aluminum water font, first, though. Stainless steel, plastic and glass are fine, but the acid in ACV will eat away at aluminum, affecting your birds in some not-so-nice ways.)

If you’ve got an animal who’s suffering from one of the problems listed above, up the dose:

Ailing Livestock: 1 or 2 c. vinegar/ gal. water
Ailing Poultry: 1 oz. vinegar/ 1 gal. water

If your sheep, or pig, or horse is really ailing, you can go even further:

Very Sick Livestock: 1:1 ratio vinegar to water

That last one is a pretty stiff drink, so use your discretion.

In any case, give ACV a try, and please! leave us a comment letting us know how it goes.


About Healing Ponds Farm

Healing Ponds is 40 acres in Buxton, OR. Our farm store, Ludemans Farm & Garden Center, is in Beaverton. We do open-pollinated seeds, pastured eggs and meats, raw milk herd shares, chicks and a lot of other things.


10 thoughts on “Apple Cider Vinegar (for Horses, Chickens, Cows or What Have You)

  1. True! I have a small flock of quail, and found that one of my hens not coping well from the cold…due to an unknown sickness 3 nights ago. She stopped eating and drinking and became lethargic, eyes closed. Didn’t expect her to make it through the night. I did everything I could for her. Isolated her to her own cage with a heating pad, fed her water with an eye dropper. An online search suggested adding ACV to her water, to boost immunity and help with whatever was causing her sickness. So I did. She made a rapid improvement over the next day and a half, and is eating again! Yay for ACV!

    Posted by Amanda | November 18, 2011, 1:04 am
  2. Very pleased with the outcome, I have been giving my chickens Bragg’s ACV and their health is astonishing, especially in these winter months, once I saw the improvement in my already healthy flock I decided to put some ACV in my husbands Arthritic and going bald 14 yr old hounds water, what an improvement he is growing his hair back in and he is able to get around better then before. Also have sen improvement in our kitty with allergies aho drinks from the same water dish as the old hound!
    Great suggestion and I hope others who read this try it! 🙂

    Posted by Kim | January 20, 2012, 3:26 pm
  3. can’t wait to try it for my goats and horses i guess it wouldn’t hurt to give some to the dogs and cats too 🙂

    Posted by maria print | March 23, 2012, 2:52 pm
    • (: I’m sure it wouldn’t!

      Posted by Healing Ponds Farm | April 5, 2012, 1:10 pm
      • Note to Livestock producers: that Bragg’s ACV sold in retail stores is not manufactured in Santa Barbara CA but they actually get it shipped from http://www.goldenvalleyvinegar.com/ in Fruitland ID. Price for organic ACV=$5.50/gallon Plus $2.91 /gal shipping only in 55 gal drums. If you do the math you will see that Bragg’s is making a very very healthy profit by repackaging into tiny containers and selling them for a lot. For 20 sheep at 1 oz per gallon stock water It will take a little more than 55 gal ACV per year to provide the very worthwhile ACV tonic.

        Posted by Larry Bailey | August 16, 2012, 1:42 pm
  4. Gave acv to a cow with mastitis and it cleared right up. Just poured it on her feed a few feedings. Came to this sight trying to find out if acv was safe to give to pigs, about to have a litter, glad i did. Several years ago lost several piglets due to mastitis. Thank you so much.

    Posted by donny | December 14, 2013, 7:05 am


  1. Pingback: Chick Startup: What Does it Cost? « Healing Ponds Farm - January 20, 2012

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