Apple Cider Vinegar (for Horses, Chickens, Cows or What Have You)

Apple Cider Vinegar for Horses, etc

Have you got sheep? Goats? A flock of urban chickens?

Are you feeding them apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar – for horses, poultry, pigs or any kind of livestock – is a great idea. It’s an immune booster. It’s a medicine. You could even argue it’s a source of sustenance!


You’re here to learn how to use it, right? Well, here’s the optimal ratio:

1 c. apple cider vinegar
100 gal. water

Or, if your watering trough isn’t quite so big as all that:

2 and a half tsp. apple cider vinegar
5 gal. water

Easy to remember, right? One five-gallon bucket, two and a half teaspoons.

Or you could just slosh some in. Extra vinegar won’t hurt. Actually, it might even help.


According to Will Winter (founder of American Holistic Livestock Association and a Ph.D. in veterinary medicine), apple cider vinegar – for horses and cows and chickens and pigs – can remedy any of the following:

Scours Loose manure Pneumonia Foot rot
Pinkeye Worms Flukes External parasites
Grass tetany Mold intoxication Abortion Mastitis
Infertility Johne’s disease Anaplasmosis Bloat
High somatic cell
Poor feed
Kidney stones
(water belly)

In his words:

“Sounds like a panacea, which it isn’t, but, since acetic acid is integral in all digestion, it affects stabilization of body pH and improves mineral assimilation; this is very important. ACV works in ways we don’t understand.

All right, but here’s one part we do understand. Apple cider vinegar is full of acetic acid. Acetic acid is great for your animals. Example:

Take ruminants: the grass-eating, cud-chewing mammals we love. Ruminants have the unique ability to derive energy from a wide variety of plants, like grass. They can do this because their digestive tract includes a special section called the rumen, which is populated by a special culture of microorganisms – rumen bugs – which make this possible. According to Will Winter, a cow has to eat several pounds of hay before these microorganisms can generate 1 c. of acetic acid, i.e., the volatile fatty acids that provide the cow with energy.

So, when you give that same cow small portions of apple cider vinegar – which is made of acetic acid and water – it’s like giving her “concentrated nutrition.”


The same goes for other animals too, of course. ACV isn’t just great for ruminants, but also for poultry and pets; apple cider vinegar for horses works wonders.

And not just animals, either. ACV can cure human problems, too!

That said, the type of ACV you use matters a lot. Two brands stand out best: Fleischmann’s and Bragg’s.

Why do they stand out? Because they’re fermented; that is, alive. Other vinegars, including distilled and white vinegars, lack the raw, unpasteurized “mother” – a rubbery, teeming lump of goodness in the form of living, healthy, helpful microorganisms, not to mention a wealth of beneficial minerals.


So, how to prepare apple cider vinegar for horses, cows, chickens or any other animals you might have?

Easiest option, put it in their water. If you’re talking big livestock, they may dislike the taste at first, but they’ll adjust. Your backyard flock of chickens, too, will be happy to drink ACV-spiked water. (Just make sure you’re not using an aluminum water font, first, though. Stainless steel, plastic and glass are fine, but the acid in ACV will eat away at aluminum, affecting your birds in some not-so-nice ways.)

If you’ve got an animal who’s suffering from one of the problems listed above, up the dose:

Ailing Livestock: 1 or 2 c. vinegar/ gal. water
Ailing Poultry: 1 oz. vinegar/ 1 gal. water

If your sheep, or pig, or horse is really ailing, you can go even further:

Very Sick Livestock: 1:1 ratio vinegar to water

That last one is a pretty stiff drink, so use your discretion.

In any case, give ACV a try, and please! leave us a comment letting us know how it goes.

19 Responses

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  3. Amanda says:

    True! I have a small flock of quail, and found that one of my hens not coping well from the cold…due to an unknown sickness 3 nights ago. She stopped eating and drinking and became lethargic, eyes closed. Didn’t expect her to make it through the night. I did everything I could for her. Isolated her to her own cage with a heating pad, fed her water with an eye dropper. An online search suggested adding ACV to her water, to boost immunity and help with whatever was causing her sickness. So I did. She made a rapid improvement over the next day and a half, and is eating again! Yay for ACV!

  4. Kim says:

    Very pleased with the outcome, I have been giving my chickens Bragg’s ACV and their health is astonishing, especially in these winter months, once I saw the improvement in my already healthy flock I decided to put some ACV in my husbands Arthritic and going bald 14 yr old hounds water, what an improvement he is growing his hair back in and he is able to get around better then before. Also have sen improvement in our kitty with allergies aho drinks from the same water dish as the old hound!

    Great suggestion and I hope others who read this try it!

    • Healing Ponds says:

      Hi Star. Best to avoid galvanized water tanks in general, but especially if you want to put ACV in your animals’ water.

      The zinc in galvanized metal dissolves over time, and zinc is toxic to birds. It dissolves faster when exposed to acid; ACV is a type of acid and will speed the process. Even the acids found in fruits are strong enough to dissolve the zinc in this type of metal.

      So I’d recommend switching to a stainless water font if you can. Lots of people recommend ACV in plastic water fonts as well.

      Oh, about your other question – how often to add ACV. Just add a new dose of ACV whenever you’re refilling the tank with fresh water.

  5. Selena says:

    I have a 2 month old Scottish highland calf that has oral thrush. I have talked to a lot of old cow farmers in my area along with my vet and they haven’t heard of a cow getting thrush so treating him is difficult. We have tried many things and nothing is clearing it up. I’m wondering if this might help and if you have heard a cow getting oral thrush.

    • Mark says:

      Sorry I did not reply i had to get the password and that took awhile with everything else in my life. How is the cow doing with the thrush?

      • Selena says:

        Its OK I understand life being crazy:) unfortunately the calf died last week but we did find out before he died that he had a genetic zinc deficiency. We are sure if the sores in his mouth was caused by that or if it was thrush.

  6. KRISTY says:

    Hello! Thanks for the article – very helpful, especially with the measurements. So my question for you is: Is ACV powder just as good to put into the water? I just came across the powder as I was price checking and thought maybe we could use that in their water… but I don’t know how much I should use with that. I can’t find any more information anywhere. Anything you pass on would be truly helpful.
    Thank you.

    • Mark says:

      HI Kristy. Yes you can use it but lose some of the benefits. In the drying process some of the essential properties are lessened and somewhat lost. We sell apple cider vinegar in four gallons containers and smaller at our farm and garden store in beaverton It is available in grocery stores though more expensive. MOst feed stores should be able to get it for you. Where do you live?

  7. Trace says:

    I have 3 pot bellied pigs…water consumption is hard to track, but I make sure they get what they need in their feed at morning/evening meal times. Do you think I could just put the ACV in with the water that I mix with the pellets and get the same benefits? Any suggestions on water/ACV ratio I would use say per gallon of water?

  8. Annette says:

    I have a nanny goat that’s been down in her hind quarters about 5 or 6 weeks. eats fine, drinks, is alert and can drag herself around. any ideas?

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