Before we get to the recipe for homemade electrolytes for chickens, lets talk about what it is and when it should be given.
What is an electrolyte drink
For humans, it is a drink that re-hydrates and replaces sodium, potassium, and other minerals that the body loses. These minerals are lost when we have sweated a lot, or from an illness that causes vomiting or diarrhea. Think Gatorade for adults or Pedialyte for infants.
Electrolyte drinks for chickens basically do the same thing, rehydrating and re-balancing when needed.
When does a chicken need electrolytes
Although heat stress is the most common reason a chicken may need to re-hydrate, extreme cold weather conditions may also require electrolytes. Frostbite can occur when temps become frigidly cold, combined with wind chills and moisture/dampness. Offering electrolytes can give the chicken a little boost that it may need to combat such.
Some other reasons electrolytes may be beneficial to your flock include:
too much handling
If you notice a change in your flock’s behavior, such as panting, poor egg production, or simply not eating/drinking normally, providing them with electrolytes may help.
Don’t think you need to run to the pet or feed store to buy electrolytes. You can make your own, using ingredients you most likely have on hand.
Homemade Electrolytes for Chickens
One gallon of water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Mix ingredients together until dissolved.
Only give electrolytes to chickens on an as needed basis and only for a few days at a time, alternating between electrolyte water and regular water. Too much salt can be damaging to a chicken’s health.