An Introduction to our 'Alternative' Medicine Chest/First Aid Kit for Organic Poultry

The idea of 'alternative' medicine is quite a strange use of the adjective because over 80% of the World's population use it as their primary health care. With regards to animals and birds that includes everyone who keeps them truly organically.

First Aid kit for organic poultry
Quality control - Sneezy the Silver Sebright checks the stock.

When you first start out to be organic everything can be fine until you are faced with an emergency or an illness. As I found when I began keeping poultry, there is a paucity of information compared to the great volumes written on conventional allopathic solutions. If you've been feeding your birds on an organic diet, preventing and or sorting out any problems in the pecking order and making sure your land is predator safe then hopefully, these occasions will be rare. However, it is still as well to be prepared and over the years I have built up a stock of ingredients and knowledge, which I hope will be of use to others. I have gleaned my information from books, the internet, other organic farmers, holistic vets and a great deal of experimentation in 'the field'. The great thing about phytotherapy, homeopathy and nutritherapy is the speed with which they work. This makes it so easy to ascertain whether a treatment has been successful or conversely to indicate that you should be trying something else. The advantage of all the above components is that they are easily sourced, many items being already to hand in the kitchen and bathroom. 

Coconut, turmeric and Brazil nut for organic poultry

These 'medicines' are also inexpensive and most importantly, non-toxic and without side effects. However, few of the above items and in particular the essential oils, are meant for continuous long-term use. Their power to produce such a quick resolution to the condition begs the question of why you had the problem in the first place. It's a little like the anecdote I read on the use of essential oils for carpal tunnel syndrome, a secretary was complaining that the oils worked really well but within a given time she needed to use them again. The answer of course was that she was suffering from a repetitive strain injury and the true solution was to cut down her intensive use of the keyboard. The same consideration should be made for your birds, if, for example you are using clay to treat a digestive tract problem, then it will work really well and quickly but if the problem reoccurs then you should be looking to improve the general health of your land, the cleanliness of feeding and water bowls, as well as the immune systems of your flock.

Medicine chest for otrganic poultry Over the next few posts I am going to look at the different health conditions I have experienced in my flock over the years and the specific treatments I have used.  Firstly however and by way of an introduction, I thought I would show how to make the box itself, including the interior, which I found useful for keeping my preparations of essential oils and base oil mixes, safe, dry and away from daylight.

The box itself was designed by Andy to be made from reclaimed, untreated pallet wood. This free resource can be planed to make valuable carpentry wood, which can then be painted, stained or in this case used to apply d├ęcoupage. This is not just for aesthetics nor because the worse thing to happen whilst you are trying to treat a bird is for you to get a splinter in your finger but for another and equally important reason. The chest puts everything in one easily identifiable place and as with all emergencies when they happen, they happen quickly. Having a box which is good enough to be on display, if that bothers you or not, is a bonus but also psychologically it should help to calm both you and the hen. If you think I'm exaggerating then next time you feed your bird something special, use a particular bag from which to produce it. The next time you show that bag to the bird, watch its reaction as it remembers. In a similar way the box is something a bird can easily recognise and can relate to as signifying a 'non-threatening' situation. This can be most useful if you are doing a repeat treatment, for example, mites. It makes it so much easier if the bird can feel safe and trusting and also I reinforce this by giving a special treat afterwards. I once had a Sebright, who became very ill with a seemingly degenerative nerve disease. By means of feeding her a low grain high nutrient diet I got her back to health. This involved me buying many little brown paper bags with seeds from my local organic shop. After she recovered, she would only ever eat her food, whatever it was, if I produced it from one of these little brown bags.

Here is the first video showing how to make the basic box

The basic box design can also be used to make other items such as window boxes and book racks, as well as other types of box.


The fittings for the interior are made of a heavy duty fruit crate wood (orange box), which is actually made from a most useful thin plywood. The holes to accommodate the bottles are cut with the appropriately named hole saw. This often comes as an extra item in a set of drills which is how we obtained ours. 


This project is not a difficult one and the design can be adapted to the eventual contents of the chest. I really needed a section in which to keep my essential oils upright and I required various diameter holes to accommodate the different sizes of bottle, including the bottles used to mix and apply the oils.

Below is the video showing how to do this.

The next post will be on the multi uses of the superb Montmorillonite clay with special reference to how I used it recently on a deep and infected wound from a predator attack.

Thanks for dropping by. 

All the best, Sue
© 2014 Sue Cross


  1. love your site!!
    would like to know which remedies you use on your chicks, this is my first hand at chicks, (for eggs) and one of my chicks has a swollen eye,not eyeball the outside, i used colloidal silver with cotton on the outside, i will keep on this and hope the swelling goes down i have always been involved in holistic meds for myself and my family wholeheartedly believe in what God has put on this earth to heal ourselves!
    any suggestions?? thank you ahead of time Grace (

    1. Hi there Grace, Thanks for your kind comments, much appreciated. I have two articles on swollen face and eyes in chickens the first one is here I've never used colloidal silver but I have friends who swear by it. What I uas, as in the case of my hen Clementina in my article, is homeopathic euphrasia pillules, herbal inhalations, herbal and flower compresses and diet. Take a look at the two articles and see what you think and please do get beck to me if you think I can be of further help. I only use holistic meds too and I usually combine it with nutritherapy as I usually find there is a deficiency problem aligned to the condition. All the very best from Normandie, Sue