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How to Use Vinegar in Poultry Water

| Updated September 26, 2017

Improving your flock's health may be as simple as adding a little apple cider vinegar to their water once a month. Mix 4 teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar into a gallon of water and serve in a plastic water dispenser. Each serving contains more than 14 milligrams of potassium that can help poultry deal with warm weather. Apple cider vinegar's antimicrobial activity also kills pathogens including E. coli and salmonella.

How It Works

Other than potassium, apple cider vinegar contains few measurable nutrients. It's primarily composed of acetic acid, which affects the pH of water. Chickens absorb nutrients better when their water is slightly acidic -- with pH between 6.2 and 6.8. The slightly acidic water helps kill bad bacteria in the chickens' digestive tracts, resulting in a healthier flock.

Medicinal Uses

The Mississippi State University Extension Service recommends a solution of 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 ounce of copper sulfate -- also known as bluestone -- into a gallon of water to treat thrush. The extension also recommends apple cider vinegar in cases of poor growth or when mucous secretions are excessive. While these solutions provide healing support for your birds, they are no substitute for veterinary care, as chickens can quickly succumb.


  • Always serve water with vinegar in a plastic container, as vinegar causes metal fountains to corrode.


  • Never attempt to administer straight or diluted apple cider vinegar into a chicken's mouth with an eyedropper. Straight cider vinegar will burn a chicken's mucous membranes, and solutions may get aspirated into the lungs.