Apple Cider Vinegar for Birds

ACV is just an amazing natural product that I use for myself and ALL of my companions. Always check with your vet prior to using any product.

Apple Cider Vinegar By Alicia McWatters, Ph.D., C.N.C.

Apple cider vinegar for parrots?

Yes! Apple cider vinegar has many outstanding qualities that are beneficial to pets in general and birds are no exception. In my book, “A Guide to a Naturally Healthy Bird“, I write about the benefits of using ACV as a supplement in your bird’s diet. To teach you more about ACV and its uses I decided to write an article that would provide you with greater detail.

A little 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 is now vinegre. 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 a number of times in both the Old and New Testament. 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 and how is it made?

The basis of ACV 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 coverts 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…

ACV has the ability to 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 of time 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, wait 5 minutes and rinse. 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 detoxifies 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 be helpful in eliminating 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…

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, with the exception of 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 times 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 popular or 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.


37 thoughts on “Apple Cider Vinegar for Birds

    • Good morning. Can ACV help with feather plucking? Roxy is an African Grey who outwardly seems content as she vocalises a lot and her posture is not that of a stressed bird but she is plucking a lot of her feathers out. Could this be parasitic I wonder? Using ACV as a topical agent as well as in her food, can it treat the problem if it happens to be mites or something like that? I’m merely babysitting her while her Daddy is on holiday but we’re very fond of each other and she actually regurgitates for me! 🙂
      She has been through a house move though in recent months and also the arrival and subsequent rehoming (due to extreme behavioural problems) of a cockatoo. Roxy didn’t like her as she barked like a dog constantly and I think bringing the cockatoo in completely upset Roxy’s environment and routine.
      So her Daddy thinks this might all have brought on stress as she didn’t pluck prior to all this. So if it is stress, will she calm down eventually? Or has it now become an obsessive condition that she can’t stop? Can an essential oil diffuser help? If so, what’s the most calming oil to get?
      Sorry, so many questions. Thanks and look forward to hearing from you.

      • I would suggest a good check up by an avian vet with a full panel blood work done. While it could be from stress, you always want to check out if it could be a medical issue first.


  1. Ive been treating my blue ladu gouldian finch with 1/2 tsp of ACV in 1 cup water for CAMPHYLOBACTER. ….its the 4 th day and my finch ( LITTLE BLUE BLUE….is himself once again! his feces have gotten smaller and tighter!
    I wated to share this recipie. Id like to buy your book too!! I ALWAYS TREAT MY BIRDS NATURALLY!!!

  2. if you put the ACV in a mister to spray on the food what are the measurments to use ? 1/2 tsp to 1 cup? I’m trying to give it to my Lovebird but when I put it in the water, he doesn’t seem to want to drink the water. His water dish is less than a cup so how much should go in there? I change the water constantly.

    • I use a 1/4 tsp for smaller bowls and a half tsp. or even a full tsp. for larger bowls. You want to use as much as possible but not if your bird wont drink with it in there. I have taste tested it myself so that I know they are not tasting the vinegar at all. This amount I have listed should work fine for your bowl.

  3. I have a question if I put it my cockatiels bowl of water is says in your thing to make sure not to get in their eyes well she might dunk her head in it sometime so would that be a problem? Also I’m Trying everything out for my Tiel because we think she is sick and can’t forward a vet visit. I used to have chickens and I Apple vinegar in the water Everyday and I’m pretty sure I cured one of my sick chickens, do you think it’ll help in anyway with my Cockatiel?

    • Without knowing what is wrong with your tiel, I have no way of knowing if the ACV will help her hun. I am sorry but I really cannot give any medical advice as I am not an avian vet. I do know that I use the ACV every week and have had no issues with them getting it into their eyes. I do hope your little one pulls through. Have you asked your avian vet if they might allow a payment plan. I am very concerned for your Tiel.

  4. I have some questions regarding my cockatoo. medium sized.
    My parrot has been recently diagnosed with fungal infection. Beak and feathers. So, would it help treating him with ACV?

    What is the right dosage to use in a (Tea/coffee sized cup- small size)?

    Also, how long should I continue to use this treatment on him?

    Should the ACV be raw/organic to treat his case or any ACV is fine?

    Thank you in advance.

    • For my small birds I use 1/4 tsp in their half cup of water three times a week. For my large birds I use 1/2 tsp in a cup of water, just adjust accordingly to the water content. I do this on Mon, Wed and Fri. That way I always remember what days they get it. I do believe you need to get Bragg, it is organic and is raw and unfiltered. It is the only one I have ever used for my birds and myself. Some prefer not to put it in their water, but mix it into their mash foods instead. Mine all are use to it and so they all drink it with no issues. You have to watch and make sure they are drinking if you put it into the water. There should be absolutely no reason that this shouldn’t be used, but always consult with your avian vet. There are so many benefits that while it may not cure your precious ones illness, it certainly can help other issues as it removes toxins from the body. I will keep your little one in my prayers and thoughts. ❤


      • Thank you so much for answering me. I’m trying everything in my power to save my bird and get rid of the fungus that is destroying his feathers and beak. What I read from other websites as well is that ACV can treat viral infections including fungus and bacteria. But now, I lost hope after you told me that it may not help… I don’t want to use chemical medicines on him.. I just want something natural so I searched the web for that and finally came across ACV, but now, I’m not so sure whether this treament is effective or not..
        Sorry to bother you with more questions but is giving him this treatment on a daily basis is bad? Or should I stick with the three days a week treatment?
        Also, is it for weeks, months, or for how long exactly should I continue to use it?
        Is it once a day to let him drink from it? And then take the cup out and refill with clean water with no vinegar?
        Thank you so much in advance and for your kind thoughts.

      • I certainly do not want to discourage your using it, I just cannot say that it is a cure, that would take a medical knowledge that I just dont have. It does and can cure viral infections. I do know of this personally. I have always used it three times a week and wouldnt suggest more than that without checking with your vet first to be safe, not that I am aware of it being harmful if used daily….I just do not have that answer. All of my birds are on the three times per week schedule and have been for years. I fill their water bowls twice a day and the ACV is in the breakfast bowl and remains until dinner or they get messy water and I need to change it earlier. I myself use it daily.

        Never give up hope and try all you can that is safe and trusted. PBFD is a serious disease and I wish for you the best positive results for your feathered baby. Please do keep me posted and if you ever want to send me private messages please do

        I am not an avian vet, just someone who cares and has been sharing my life with birds forever it seems. I have to be careful in what advice I can give and never want anyone to mistake it for something other than it truly is intended ❤


  5. hi i was wondering if you spray your bird everyday an do you rinse it of an if you put a little in the water every other day will it kill off birdmites an birdlice thanks for your time

    • I have only used it in their water and foods. However I would not suggest using it daily and make sure it is mixed as described in the article. Also are you sure your parrots have mites and lice? Make sure by checking with your avian vet before starting any treatment.


  6. My Conures have a fungal infection they also had
    a bacterial infection. They were placed on antibiotics
    Clavamox 2 weeks and fluconazole for one month.
    They were healed of the bacterial infection but not
    The yeast. The Flucanzole almost killed my sun conure she stopped eating stayed fluffed up in
    The corner and would stare off with one eye open.
    I immediately took her off fluconazole I decided to treat her myself. There on a pellet diet so I went and
    Purchased them seeds my sun conure came back to life and began eating again. I thought she was going to die she still had diarrhea and was weak. I then bought her Fresh organic Oregono, dandelion leaves and red bell pepper she nibbled and barely started eating again. I had to get her off seeds once her energy returned. I then did more research I started them on organic Ceylon Cinamon sticks one for them to share 3 days a week and cayenne pepper 3 days per week both antifungals. I also brought them out in the sun 5 days a week. My bird Has regained her strength, diarrhea is gone but she Is fluffef up in the afternoon with one leg up then she plays again she is still sick but has greatly improved.
    I read on beauty of Birds that ACV raw with mother heals fungal infections it also has been proven Organic extra Virgin coconut oil kills fungal infections and using Aloe inner leaf from lily of the field will help move the crop out, toxins and help with digestion. I will be starting my sun conures on acv tomorrow. I read to use one tbs to one gallon of water. Is that enough to be effective? Dr Harrison recommends one week on every 3 months. I’m also starting them on coconut oil for the caprilic acid when I read a report in a parrot study the university stated that most exotic parrots are deficient in Laurie acid which is important to there health. Coconut oil contains that also. I hope my Conures heal,I will be taking them to the vet to have a new fecal gram done. If this does not work,then I will be putting them on Nyastin antifungal but never flucanzole again as it almost killed my bird. Before anyone gives there bird a medicine go home and search any side effects of the Medicine prescribed and watch your bird like a Hawk. Trust your instincts and rely on God for guidance. Load up you birds with nutrition like Deborah stated and also that’s suitable for your species and if anyone has cured there bird from doing Holistic please email me.Thank you and I pray for all of these animals to be healed it’s one of the most hardest things to go through.

    • The dosage I use is 1/4 tsp. for small parrots and 1/2 tsp. for medium-large parrots, in their normal bowls so this dosage is approximately per cup. You can also spray it on their veggies. When I use it in the water I always change the water at dinner time to just fresh water for overnight. And just to reinforce for others, it needs to be ACV with the mother. Please keep me posted ❤


  7. Pingback: Deworming Your Pet Birds - My Animals

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