MYO first aid salve for chickens

Lets recap what ya'll know about me real quick: I love chickens and I do everything as frugally as possible! Here's something you probably don't know though...I'm pretty deep into herbalism. In started in about 1993 and I have a whole other blog where I talk about that, but my easiest herbal healing salve is both cheap and can be used on chickens, other pets or people. Plus it's super easy to make. 
MYO herbal first aid salve for chickens

So today I want to give you my recipe for a wound 'salve' that can be used on chickens and talk you through making your own! While I have been using herbs on the humans in the household for years I only recently started using it on chickens. My friend Lisa over at Fresh Eggs Daily is an herbal genius as far as chicken care goes, and she inspired me to expand my herbal practices to chickens

This is the easiest and cheapest herbal wound treatment you can make. It can be used on cuts, scrapes, bug bites, plucked feathers and other minor skin irritations. It will relieve mild pain, itch and stings and it may help prevent infection.

Plus I picked an herb that literally grows everywhere so you definitely have access to it. In fact, you're probably familiar with it as a weed! The truth is that there are several herbs that can help to heal a wound. If you have some of the others, then add them in! I actually grow several herbs that are great for this purpose and I'll list other beneficial herbs down below plus a more complex recipe. 

Today though I wanted to go super simple with 2 ingredients, both chosen because you probably already have them.

2 ingredient chicken wound salve

Our herb for this "salve" is plantain. I used quotations around salve because it's more of a solid oil than an actual salve. Our oil is coconut oil. That's the whole recipe! Easy...right?

The herb Broadleaf Plantain (Plantago major) has many amazing uses especially for cuts and bug bites. It really takes the 'owe' and itch out of cat scratches too! Plantain is a perennial 'weed' you probably have growing in your yard or garden. Not to be confused with the banana type fruit you see in some stores. There are about 250 different species of plantain but we're looking at 'Plantago major'.

Coconut oil is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It soothes the skin, soaks in easily and eases inflammation by improving antioxidant status. It is also anti-microbial which may help prevent infection. Related reading: Research study on animal wound healing when applying coconut oil.

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but becomes liquid around 76°F. Since it liquefies at such a low temperature you'll want to store the finished product in the refrigerator. Being cold actually helps to soothe cuts and scrapes a bit more.

Plantain herb for natural wound care in chickens

Gather and prepare the plantain

I chose plantain for this recipe since not only is it effective, but it literally grows everywhere! You should have some growing in your yard or garden somewhere...or in sidewalk cracks, maybe along the edge of the house. You can literally find it anywhere. 

Make sure you collect plantain that has not been sprayed with pesticides, weed killers or other chemicals. You can order some plantain here if you can't find it locally.

I like to use dried herbs when I infuse them to prevent the risk of mold from moisture. Pick some fresh plantain from your yard or garden and place it in your dehydrator for a few hours or pop the leaves in the microwave to dry them quickly. Related reading: harvesting and drying plantain.

Infuse your oil

Once dry, crush the plantain and place it in a mason jar. Add a dollop of coconut oil to the jar and put the lid on loosely. There should be just enough oil to cover the dried herb once it's melted. I place the jar on the warmer on my stove top to melt the coconut oil. You can use a double boiler or crock pot to melt and keep your oil warm while it infuses. Let it infuse for about 6 hours. 

If you don't have a warmer to use, you can let your jar sit in a warm room or a sunny windowsill, but this will take much longer. Since I'm usually infusing oils in summer the coconut oil has no trouble staying liquid. I let the oil sit in a warm sunny windowsill for 2 weeks shaking every few days, then I strain and use.

When the oil is ready, line a funnel with cheesecloth and place the funnel in a clean jar. Pour the oil and herbs into the cheesecloth and allow the oil to drain out. Pour the strained oil into tins or small containers. Allow to cool then store in refrigerator.

Infusing herbs in coconut oil

If you have any questions on making an infused oil, check out this tutorial on How to make an herbal infused oil

Use on small cuts, scrapes, abrasions, stings, bug bites, frostbite or other mild irritations. This can also be used on bare backs of hens during molting or over breeding BUT if you are putting this on exposed skin and they are going out into the sun you 'll want to put a chicken saddle on them first. 

Oil based products on skin in the sun will cause a sunburn, so protect the skin with some type of barrier or only put it on overnight or on overcast days.

Variations of the herbal wound salve recipe 

Option 1: Three ingredient solid salve for chicken skin irritations

If you want to make a shelf stable salve, you'll need one more ingredient but you're already halfway there! We're going to use the same proportions I used in How to make a burn salve on my other site.

You'll need:
1/2 cup of plantain infused coconut oil
1/2 ounce beeswax

You'll put the plantain infused oil in a double boiler and turned the heat on medium. Once warmed thoroughly, turn off heat and add 1/2 ounce of beeswax and let it melt. It melts quicker if you use the pastilles, but chopped up beeswax blocks work just as well. Pour into a small jar or tin and let cool. This salve will not need refrigerated.

Option 2: Two ingredient herbal spray oil for chickens

If you want to make a liquid oil to spray on instead of one that will become solid below 76°F, you will substitute the regular coconut oil for fractionated coconut oil. This is a form of coconut oil that has had the long-chain fatty acids removed via hydrolysis and steam distillation. This oil is always liquid. Follow directions as above, but pour into a spray bottle after straining.

Oil for herbal wound care spray, pets

Option 3: Other herbs to add to your poultry wound salve

Here are some other herbs that can help heal small wounds and skin irritations in chickens. I don't have exact measurements since you can make as much or as little as you'd like. Just make sure you have enough coconut oil to cover the dried crushed herbs in the jar.

Calendula: anti inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic and antifungal. Soothing to skin and can increase blood flow, which heals wounds faster.
Chamomile: accelerates the healing process, soothing, promotes healing, anti inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties.
Chickweed: good for inflammation, abrasions and burns. Is a weed, grows wild like plantain.
Comfrey: anti inflammatory, helps to speed up healing.
Yarrow: helps to heal wounds, speeds up blood clotting, anti-bacterial and anti inflammatory. 
Related reading: Yarrow salve by Modern Homestead Mama

Adding other herbs or beeswax makes the recipe a little more difficult, but if you have them on hand then give it a try. You'll probably create a salve that you love to use!

Want to know more about health and illnesses your flock may be exposed to? Click here for my other posts on chicken health!


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I am not a veterinarian or other animal care professional nor do I claim to be. I am simply passing on information that has worked for me and my flock. This information is for entertainment purposes only and is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition. Please see a vet if your chicken is ill. Click for my full disclaimer.

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  1. avid chook reader..what is the link to your herb posts please?..Fiona B

    1. They are right here:

      Hope you like them!

  2. Thank you so much for all the wisdom and experience you've shared!! So so helpful!!