Apple Cider Vinegar For Chickens: Benefits And Myths

By Chicken Fans Editorial Team
Co-authored & Medically Reviewed by Dr. C. Vulpe, DVM
Credentialed veterinarian with a Ph.D. in veterinary oncology

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As a responsible chicken keeper, you’re probably constantly looking for ways to treat common diseases and prevent illness. One of the natural remedies often used for poultry illnesses is apple cider vinegar. Let’s take a closer look at what apple cider vinegar can do for your flock with the help of our vet experts.

Let’s start with the million-dollar question first.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Safe for Chickens?

Yes, apple cider vinegar is generally safe for chickens, but moderation is crucial. Scientific evidence regarding its benefits is limited, but it’s considered a potential probiotic, supporting gut health and potentially boosting the immune system in chickens.

The quality of the apple cider vinegar has much to say regarding the effects guaranteed on the chickens’ health. Also, if you have feeders and waterers made of metal, you should not use apple cider vinegar in them as vinegar is widely known for making metal corrode. The last thing you want, is your ladies to ingest traces of rust.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Poultry Health

It is difficult, if not impossible, to find any relevant scientific studies attesting that apple cider vinegar does wonders for your chickens’ health.

People have used apple cider vinegar for centuries to preserve the good bacteria in their gut, and any administration in backyard birds is an assumption that it would work the same in their case. Essentially, apple cider vinegar can be considered a probiotic, which means that it sustains the microbiota that your chickens have in their intestines and that support a healthy immune system.

There are other options if you’re not keen on giving your chickens apple cider vinegar, and they consist of other fermented foods, such as:

  • sauerkraut
  • kefir or other types of fermented yogurt
  • miso paste

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for Chickens

Besides being capable of supporting a healthy immune system in backyard birds, apple cider vinegar offers additional benefits:

  • It allows chickens to better convert food into essential nutrients;
  • It reduces the smell of fecal matter by supporting healthy bacteria in the gut;
  • It lowers the pH of the intestinal tract, therefore making it less likely for chickens to develop digestive infections;
  • It can be used as an excellent cleaner for waterers, especially in the summer, when algae tend to accumulate in these items — ensure they’re made from plastic.
chickens drinking from a plastic waterer

What Kind of Apple Cider Vinegar Should You Use?

There are multiple types of apple cider vinegar varieties that you can find online and in shops these days. Unfortunately, some aren’t even pure or made from actual apples, as you will realize by reading the labels of these products.

The best apple cider vinegar for chickens is the one in its raw, pure, organic form. It must also be unfiltered and contain the so-called ‘mother’, meaning that deposit that tends to stick at the bottom of the bottle and easily ferment once the product comes in contact with air.

A few examples of apple cider vinegars that are suited for chickens are these:

The purer the product, the better for your chickens. You do not want any artificial dyes, additives, or preservatives in your apple cider vinegar, as these ingredients will automatically eliminate any potential benefits that the product might bring to your flock. 

The best apple cider vinegar for chickens contains the mother, is unpasteurized and cloudy, and can even be made at home if you have an orchard. 

Common Myths About Apple Cider Vinegar for Chickens

Although you might come across an overload of articles online claiming that apple cider vinegar does wonders for chickens in every aspect of their health, that’s not exactly the truth. 

As previously noted, no specific studies attesting these benefits, so take all the information you encounter with a grain of salt. 

Let’s tackle some common myths about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar for chickens:

  • ACV is a wonder dewormer, and due to its acidity, it kills all types of worms;
  • ACV is capable of eliminating any toxin or contaminant in your chickens’ water;
  • Apple cider vinegar immediately stops diarrhea, no matter its cause;
  • If you spray ACV on your birds’ skin, they’re not going to have external parasites as they don’t like ‘the smell’ or ‘taste’;
  • ACV is good for increased egg production;
  • If your chickens suffer from stress, apple cider vinegar will give them energy.
bottles of apple cider vinegar in the store

Try to be realistic. If your chickens are suffering from a contagious disease, whether it’s produced by a bacterium, virus, or parasite, chances are that a homeopathic remedy like apple cider vinegar is not going to be able to cure it.

Get in touch with your vet for the appropriate treatment instead of waiting for your chickens to become healthy, thanks to apple cider vinegar.

When Not to Use Apple Cider Vinegar

A few situations that call for your stopping giving your chickens apple cider vinegar are:

  • If your chickens are undergoing therapy with other medications, do not give them ACV. You do not know if the ACV might affect the absorption of other drugs.
  • Do not use apple cider vinegar in metal containers, no matter how tempting it might be. Vinegar leads to corrosion, so only use waterers made from plastic or stone.
  • If your chickens have any form of digestive distress, particularly diarrhea, do not give them apple cider vinegar. The excess acid might lead to them experiencing even more severe symptoms.

Dosage of Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Chickens’ Health

There are no official recommendations for adding apple cider vinegar to your chickens’ water or food. No veterinarian will be specific about the amount you should utilize. However, most resources we have consulted suggest that one tablespoon per gallon of water is best for supporting your birds’ immune system and preventing general diseases.

Additionally, you may want to consider using normal water in a separate waterer because some chickens don’t like its scent and stop drinking, therefore risking becoming dehydrated.

Is it Dangerous to Give Chickens too much Apple Cider Vinegar?

The only health complications that your chickens are likely to suffer from if you give them too much ACV are related to the digestive system. Since ACV is acidic, it can cause disturbances such as diarrhea and abdominal pain. Stick to the minimal dosage just to be on the safe side.

a bottle of apple cider vinegar

Can I Give Chickens Apple Cider Vinegar Every Day?

Regarding frequency of administration, most chicken keepers seem to agree that adding apple cider vinegar just once a week is fine. Nevertheless, if you feel that you’re supposed to improve your birds’ immune response as some respiratory ailments are going around in your area, you could do a treatment of only 5 to 7 days, as you would with antibiotics, for example. Don’t forget — if your chickens are undergoing therapy for anything else, do not give them ACV as it could interact with the medication.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar a Good Dewormer for Chickens?

Yes and No. While apple cider vinegar might promote the elimination of intestinal parasites as it makes your birds pass stools more regularly, it doesn’t mean it has any effect on the longevity of the parasites. It doesn’t kill worms, and even though it helps maintain and improve the population of healthy bacteria in your birds’ intestines, it is useless as a dewormer.

The only type of parasite that apple cider vinegar does seem to have an effect on is Coccidia, based on a study that we have referenced in the Resources section. According to this study, no signs of coccidiosis are reported in chickens that were given ACV for three consecutive weeks.

Contact your veterinarian or order a bird dewormer online — there are multiple options these days, depending on the types of parasites your birds have.


Apple cider vinegar is viewed as a miracle homeopathic remedy or prevention product for chickens and other animals. However, scientific studies on which ACV is useful for treating various diseases, be they viral, bacterial, or parasitic, do not exist now.

Apple cider vinegar does help with maintaining your chicken’s immune system. It contains vitamins and minerals and reduces foul odors in the birds’ stools. If you’d like to support better gut health for your chickens, consider adding apple cider vinegar to one tablespoon per gallon once a week. 


1. Effects of dietary vinegar on performance, immune response and small intestine histomorphology in 1- to 28-day broiler chickens, Mohammad Jahantigh et al, 2021:

2. Anticoccidial effect of apple cider vinegar on broiler chicken: an organic treatment to measure anti-oxidant effect, F.M.F. Hayajneh et al, 2018:

3. Debunking the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, Edwin McDonald IV, MD, UChicagoMedicine, 2018:

Chicken Fans Editorial Team

The editorial team consists of 3rd generation chicken owners Kat, journalist, editor-in-chief, and Nick, working with illustrators and specialists in the field.