In late Fall and early winter, nature offers up evergreen needles and branches, citrus fruits and berries we can use for poultry.
These things are already familiar to us during the winter months because they are used for decoration or potpourri or are useful seasonal food. But with a
simple vinegar extraction you can create a concentrated
oil. Some of these materials have essential oils, while others offer acetic. citric and phytic acids and other compounds to promote skin growth and repair.
The acid in vinegar can dissolve dirt, grease and mineral deposits. Citric acid is a disinfectant because it kills microbes.
Depending on the blend of materials you use you can create a disinfectant for cleaning or make a topical skin antiseptic for your flock.
Since the fruit of the citrus
contains the most citric acid, you can slice and dehydrate
the fruit before adding.
This would increase your cleaning power. The highest content of citric acid is lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange respectively. The concentrated oil can be used as is, or diluted into distilled vinegar
as needed (1 ounce per quart).The concentrated oils can be used to clean and treat wood roosts. The oil cam also be used for cleaning wood cutting boards and blocks.
I also discovered that the concentrated oil can be useful fo treating scaly leg mites. A milder acid can be used to kill the mites, and additional materia can be used for skin repair.
Lemon, Limes, Grapefruit, Oranges
Citric acid (disinfectant), Phytic acid (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory), Essential oils (aromatherapy, bug repellent, antiseptic)
Juniper, Pine, Spruce
Essential Oils (aromatherapy, bug repellent, antiseptic)
Rosehips, Hawthorne, Barberry, Juniper Berries
Seed oils (antiseptic, antimicrobial), Fatty acids (cell building blocks), Vitamins, Minerals,
Cloves, Cinnamon, Bay Leaves
Essential Oils (aromatherapy, bug repellent, antiseptic) Eucalyptol (anti-inflammatory, pain relieving), Cinnamon Oil (antiinflammatory, antimicrobial)
Distilled (5% acetic acid), White (5-8% acetic acid)
Acetic Acid (dissolve dirt, grease, minerals)
1. Make sure the branches and needles are clean. Chop into small pieces.
2. Dehydrate or dry the berries first before grinding up before adding.
3. Tear citrus peels into small pieces (they can be used fresh).
4. Volume of materials is 2/3 citrus to 1/3 other material
5. White distilled vinegar (acetuc acid)
In a large clean jar (the bigger the better!), put in your mix of material. Pour in enough vinegar to just cover material.
You can continuously add material and vinegar during the winter. You need to extract long enough to produce a dense oil, about 3 months. I usually start extraction in December and continue until spring.