A brief history about vinegar
Vinegar has been used in one form or another for over 10,000 years. It is used for many purposes and throughout the ages has served as a preservative, condiment, beauty aid, cleaning agent, and medicine. The word vinegar comes from the Latin word vinum meaning wine and Acer meaning sour.
These two words eventually became one and are now vinegar. In 5,000 B.C. the Babylonians fermented the fruit of date palms and created a date vinegar. The Romans made vinegar from grapes, figs, dates, and rye. The armies of Julius Caesar would drink vinegar and water for its antiseptic properties. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recommended vinegar for his patients that were ill.
Vinegar is mentioned in the Bible sometimes in both the Old and New Testaments. Many ancient cultures used vinegar and valued it for its medicinal benefits. It was used for disinfecting wounds and for insect bites and snake bites. Vinegar compresses were useful for healing bruises.
What is ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and how is it made?
The basis of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) is sweet apple cider. Sweet apple cider is the juice of the apple. When sweet cider is exposed to air for a few weeks it ferments into alcohol.
This is called hard cider. Once the hard cider ferments (again) into acetic acid, it then becomes vinegar. The process is known as acetous fermentation and it occurs in 2 stages. The process begins when yeast (naturally present on the outer skin of apples) converts the sugar in apples to alcohol.
When alcohol and air combine, the oxygen in the air interacts with tiny bacteria called vinegar bacillus. This bacillus occurs naturally in the air and converts the alcohol into acetic acid. The acid content of store-bought ACV is standardized at around 5%.
What are the nutritional benefits of ACV?
Many vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and substances are available in ACV to improve the health of your bird. ACV can provide them with enzymes and important minerals, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine, phosphorus, iron, silicon, and other trace minerals.
The vitamins contained in ACV are bioflavonoids (vitamin P), beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin A), vitamin C, E, B1, B2, and B6. Tannins from the crushed cell walls of fresh apples as well as malic acid, tartaric acid, propionic acid, acetic acid, and pectin (fiber) are also contained in ACV. Be sure to purchase organic unfiltered, unpasteurized, naturally fermented ACV for its medicinal features.
ACV ranges in color from a light golden to orange. You’ll know you’ve found the right stuff if you see sediment, referred to as the “mother of vinegar” on the bottom of the bottle. Do NOT buy white distilled vinegar, as it has none of the beneficial elements listed above
Other benefits of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)
ACV can prevent the growth of bacteria and mold; therefore, adding it to your bird’s fresh foods as a nutritional supplement has an additional purpose. The acid content of ACV will help reduce the chance of bacterial or fungal growth on fresh foods during the period they are in your bird’s food bowl.
However, I don’t recommend that you leave fresh foods out any longer than 4-6 hours with or without the use of ACV.
ACV can also be sprayed on seeds during the sprouting period to prevent the growth of pathogens, such as bacteria or fungi. Simply place ACV in a mister bottle and spray your seeds thoroughly with ACV after each rinse with fresh water until the seeds are sprouted.
You can rinse the ACV from the sprouts before serving them to your bird; however, if some remains on the sprouts this is fine. If you use conventionally grown produce, you can remove pesticide residues by spraying the fruits and vegetables with ACV, waiting 5 minutes, and rinsing.
To eliminate bacteria from organic and conventional produce, spray with ACV, wait 5 minutes and rinse. ACV has many healing abilities as well and is known to ameliorate certain symptoms of illness and disease. It works not by curing any specific illness, but by boosting the health of the individual with its nutritional and healthful qualities.
I will highlight just a few of ACV’s known potential benefits. Firstly, ACV may be an effective remedy for arthritis, gout, and kidney disease and helpful in alleviating joint pain. The malic acid content of apples dissolves calcium deposits. ACV acts to balance the acid-alkaline pH levels in the body and helps to oxygenate the blood.
ACV has been helpful as an aid for digestion, helping to break down minerals, protein, and fats. It also inhibits the growth of unfriendly bacteria in the digestive tract. ACV has detoxifying properties, strengthens the immune system, and may ameliorate viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. It is used as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory medicine and has a natural antibiotic effect.
Its benefits also include ameliorating respiratory infections and may reduce symptoms, such as watery eyes and nasal discharge. In addition, ACV can help eliminate both internal and external parasite problems.
ACV has been used successfully for dry, itchy, or infected skin and feather problems. If applied topically to wounds and burns it will decrease the pain and promote healing. It also controls minor bleeding from cuts and abrasions.
Apple pectin, a water-soluble dietary fiber found in apples and ACV, binds to toxins in the body and assists in their removal while it may also help relieve diarrhea and constipation. And lastly, it may lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. ACV should not be used internally for those birds that have irritation of the mucosa (lining) of the intestinal tract.
NOTE: ACV should be used diluted for application to the skin. Place in a mister bottle and spray to affected areas. (BE SURE YOU DO NOT GET THIS SOLUTION IN YOUR BIRD’S EYES.)
How to use ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)
I began using ACV as a supplement for my parrots in1994. It is added to my birds’ mash diet as a condiment just as you would add salad dressing to a salad. Some avian health practitioners recommend that ACV be placed in a bird’s drinking water.
I recommend placing it in fresh food because I believe that a bird’s drinking water should be free of additives, except for an electrolyte solution or a medicinal product that is used on a short-term basis. The dosage I use is 1/4 tsp. for small parrots and 1/2 tsp. for medium-large parrots. It can also be given orally diluted in water under the guidance of a vet or avian health practitioner.
ACV can be useful to your bird’s health in conjunction with feeding it a wide variety of foods, but should never be looked upon as a panacea. Fresh food ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and seeds make up the wholeness that will effectively help your bird to achieve optimum health.
Often one looks for the magic ingredient that will miraculously make their bird well. Whether it is an antibiotic, grapefruit seed extract, Aloe vera, or milk thistle… there will always be a single trendy supplement of the moment and this supplement will be promoted as the great healing agent. But, if we focus on the part rather than the whole we are not taking a holistic approach to our bird’s health.
No supplement or ingredient will do much good if the diet a bird is eating is substandard. A nutritious diet is the foundation for optimum health and supplements are complementary to such a diet. Briefly stated: ACV can provide your bird with minerals, acids, and enzymes for a long and healthy life.
Apple Cider Vinegar Dosage:
For Budgerigars & other small birds:
Dosage for Health maintenance: use 1/4 teaspoon in 1 cup water for drinking. (1 teaspoon=5ml in 1 Liter water) - 3 days in a row
Dosage for stomach & poop problems: use 1/2 teaspoon in 1 cup water for drinking. (2 teaspoon=10ml in 1 Liter water) - 5 days in a row
Dosage for respiratory/lungs problems: use 3/4 teaspoon in 1 cup water for drinking. (3 teaspoon=15ml in 1 Liter water) - 7 days in a row.
For Cockatiels, lovebirds & other medium birds:
Dosage for Health maintenance: use 1/2 teaspoon in 1 cup water for drinking. (2 teaspoon=10ml in 1 Liter water) - 3 days in a row once every month/ once every 15 days
Dosage for stomach & poop problems: use 1 teaspoon in 1 cup water for drinking. (4 teaspoon=20ml in 1 Liter water) - 5 days in a row
Dosage for respiratory/lungs problems: use 1-1/2 teaspoon in 1 cup water for drinking. (6 teaspoon=30ml in 1 Liter water) - 7 days in a row.