Whether you have a passion for Parrots, take pride in Pigeons or find Chickens charming, your bird will benefit from natural care. Birds in captivity, be it in the home or in backyard coops, need supplements to maintain optimum health and prevent disease. Reliable information regarding the natural supplementation of bird diets is difficult to find, so we’ve summarized our research for you in this article.

How Natural Supplements Can Help Birds

The use of natural supplements may offer the following benefits to exotic birds, backyard chickens, pigeons, and other birds:

  • Increased fertility and laying ability
  • Improved eggshells
  • Healthier offspring with less deformities and increased survival rate
  • Improved feather growth, condition & color
  • Decreased feather eating
  • Optimum growth
  • Immune system enhancement
  • Prevention and treatment of parasites
  • Prevention of bacterial and viral infections
  • Protection against mycotoxin and heavy metal poisoning
  • Prevention of Rickets
  • Prevention of Roup
  • Increased lifespan

Natural Supplements for Pet Birds

Please note that not all of the following supplements are suitable for all species. It’s important to research and consult a veterinarian before making changes in your bird’s diet.

  1. Calcium Montmorillonite Clay – Birds all over the World are known to eat clay (geophagy) from clay licks in riverbeds and other locations. It’s a bio-available, complete mineral supplement that also boasts antibacterial and anti-parasite properties. Calcium Montmorillonite Clay also improves digestion, cures loose droppings, detoxifies heavy metals, and protects against radiation. It treats mycotoxin poisoning (such as aflatoxin), and can be mixed with grain to prevent mycotoxins. You can also make a paste of Calcium Montmorillonite Clay, Aloe Vera and water to treat external issues, such as Keel Cysts. This natural supplement is suitable for all animals.
  2. Oyster Shell – Excellent source of calcium carbonate. Make sure it’s feed-grade to avoid impurities.
  3. Powdered Seaweed – Chelated mineral & vitamin supplement that also balances electrolytes, helps leg problems in broiler hens, acts as a prebiotic, prevents parasites, and improves immune function. Excellent source of iodine.
  4. Freeze-Dried Krill (ground) – A uniquely balanced source of Omega 3, 6 & 9 for organ, muscle, skin and plumage health. Krill also improves digestion and color. Breeders use Krill to increase fertility and for healthier offspring.
  5. Turmeric – Packed with bioflavonoids and polyphenols. Turmeric speeds wound healing, and offers anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibacterial properties.
  6. Cinnamon – Offers anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasite, and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon also supports the circulatory and digestive system.
  7. Mint – Supports the digestive and respiratory system.
  8. Dandelion Leaf – Good source of Vitamin A, B, C, and D, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, and luteolin. It is best known for it’s detoxification abilities and digestive system support.
  9. Garlic – Supports a healthy immune and respiratory system. Garlic has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasite properties. It’s also reputed to reduce the smell of droppings, especially when used in combination with Mint.
  10. Calendula – Speeds healing and is often used for skin conditions. Nutritionally, it is high in antioxidants. Calendula also boasts anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-septic properties.
  11. Grapefruit Seed Extract – Used primarily for its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
  12. Grapeseed Extract – Supports the immune and digestive system.  It also offers anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-parasite, and anti-fungal properties.
  13. Virgin Coconut Oil – Improves immune function, supports the liver and kidneys, boosts the metabolism, increases absorption rate of vitamins, and offers antimicrobial properties. Coconut Oil is also a good source of Omega 3 & 6, along with antioxidants.
  14. Bee Pollen – Packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, protein, enzymes, fatty acids and carbohydrates. Bee pollen also provides hormones for growth and supports the immune system.
  15. Apple Cider Vinegar – Offers vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Apple Cider Vinegar also supports the immune and respiratory system, as well as having anti-bacterial properties. The usual recommendation is 2% Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water in a plastic dish.

Note:  It’s important to purchase fresh (or properly preserved), high quality herbs,  extracts, and other supplements for maximum benefits. We rely on Starwest Botanicals for premium, human-grade herbs, essential oils and nutraceuticals.  Chewy is a reliable source of general bird food and supplies, plus they always have great coupons, discounts and contests.

The easiest way to add a number of the above supplements to your bird’s diet is by making your own food. It can then be eaten in pieces or crushed as a feed additive. We have a recipe for Fruity Calcium Cornbread  and Corny Nut Squares  to get you started.

??? Do you have any natural bird supplement suggestions to share? Please tell us about it in the comments below.


Quisenberry, J. H. Use of Clay in Poultry Feed
2nd International Symposium on Pet Bird Nutrition. Institute of Animal Nutrition. 2007.
Jaynes, William F. Influence of Soluble Feed Proteins and Clay Additive Charge Density on Aflatoxin Binding in Ingested Feeds. 2011.
Greenwood, Anna. Raising Chickens In Your Backyard: A No-Fluff Guide To Chicken Breeds, Coops, Runs, Tractors And More
Deutsch, Robin. The Healthy Bird Cookbook: A Lifesaving Nutritional Guide and Recipe Collection
A Guide to Keeping and Caring for the Domesticated Pigeon
Lan, M. Rare Earths: Forbidden Cures. 1995.
Dextreit, Raymond. Our Earth, Our Cure. 1993.
Abehsera, Michel. The Healing Clay. 1979.
Knishinsky, Ran. The Clay Cure : Natural Healing from the Earth. 1998.
Engel, Cindy. Wild Health: Lessons in Natural Wellness from the Animal Kingdom. 2003.
Tilford, Gregory. Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life. 2009.
Cooksley, Valerie Gennari. Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul. 2007.

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11 thoughts on “15 Natural Feed Supplements for Birds (Exotic, Poultry, Pigeons, Waterfowl, Etc.)

  1. I’ll tell you my trick:
    I use gigantic ziplock bags that I get from the dollar store. Fill it up about half with feed then add 3 TBSP of montmorillonite clay and shake it until the clay is all through the feed. Then the chickens eat it with the feed without getting too much. The chickens are healthier and eaven their feathers are bigger. Eggshells are hard but not too hard. It works and I’m sticking to it. I hope that helps someone! TY!

  2. Treating thousands of birds teaches you a thing or two but you have some new material for me here. We did try cinnamon but most birds didn’t care for it. Most love seaweed and it has so much to offer for nutrition, healing and immunity. We’ve found the most effective method of dosing clay is in their water so they’re sure to drink enough with it. They really do love clay in the wild as we’ve witnessed. Rosehip, lavendar and aloe vera powder are also commonly used. One of the best natural remedies for birds is keeping them calm because a stressed bird gets sick almost everytime.

  3. Excellent advice! Birds are much more complex than we used to think and they can live much longer with a little extra consideration.

  4. I make clay licks by wetting montmorillonite clay and shaping it into a disk about 1/4″ thick. I poke a hole in the middle with a straw and leave it there until it dries. Then I remove the straw and I can hang it in her cage — she loves it!

  5. I’m going to add some of your suggestions to my herbal mix. Our chickens had chronic feather problems before I discovered herbs and they don’t every have them now.

  6. Fancy chickens can be expensive so we care for them like any investment. We want them to live and breed for a long time and it’s important they produce the best quality chicks. They don’t require much of each supplement so it really isn’t that expensive to give them an extra boost. I’m sure it saves us money in the long run.

  7. We’ve had a variety of birds over the years and they always do better with supplements and natural food. Our choices are pretty basic like grinding up eggshell for them, but it all helps.

  8. I collect rare breeds of chickens and keeping them in top condition is very important, especially since they’re breeding. I already use about half of the supplements you suggested and I’m willing to try a few more if that’s what it takes.

  9. I have chickens, a cockatiel, 4 budgies, and geese in the summer. I’ll do some reading and then whip up some treats for them. I’m almost out of clay (the bag lasted for over a year) so I’ll get an order in. Thanks girl!

  10. WOW!!! I’ve only heard of a few of those. You’ve made some birds and chickens very happy over here. 🙂

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