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How to Make Homemade Electrolytes for Chickens

Knowing how to make homemade electrolytes (and keeping some on hand) for your chickens in the summer is valuable in case of heat exhaustion, stress or dehydration.

Having some electrolytes on hand in your chicken first aid kit is always a good idea.

Administered in cases of heat exhaustion, injury, stress or dehydration, electrolytes could be the difference between life and death for an ailing hen or baby chick.

If you live in an extremely hot climate, or often have chicks shipped through the mail, it's a good idea to mix up a batch of the dry ingredients to always keep on hand.

You can use plain Pedialyte and add it to your chickens' water during a heatwave, but I like having the electrolytes in a powder form that I can measure out and add to my flock's water as needed.

Homemade Electrolytes for Chickens 

What Electrolytes Do

Electrolytes are very important to proper body function in animals and people. Electrolytes replace sodium, potassium and minerals in the body lost due to stress, overheating or dehydration. 

They also rehydrate and rebalance the body's pH levels (acidity) which are extremely important for proper body functions.

Much like an athlete will drink Gatorade after a race, or a baby will be given Pedialyte for vomiting or diarrhea, sometimes chickens need a little boost and some rebalancing.

When to Use Electrolytes for Chickens

Electrolytes can be beneficial to chicks and chickens in these situations:

  • in cases of heat exhaustion
  • for chicks suffering from shipping/travel stress or weak chicks
  • to aid with stress from a predator attack 
  • when treating an injury
  • in cases of diarrhea
  • birds suffering from another health issue
  • to aid a sick bird without much appetite

The recipe below is pretty standard and a good one to bookmark for an emergency, although I definitely recommend mixing up a batch and keeping it with your chicken first aid kit - just in case.

Then you can just measure out the powder as needed to add to your chickens' water.

Although you can omit the potassium chloride in the recipe if you don't have it or can't find it, it's very important to use sea salt versus regular table salt. 

Table salt doesn't have the high levels of trace minerals, namely potassium and calcium, that sea salt does.

How to Make Homemade Electrolytes for Chickens

8 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon potassium chloride (optional, you can find it HERE)

Stir or whisk the dry ingredients in a small container with a lid.  ( If you don't have the potassium chloride, you can just omit it.) 

Store in a cool, dry place until needed.

How to Use Homemade Electrolytes

To use your homemade electrolyte powder, measure out 6 teaspoons of the mixture into a gallon of water (or add 1.5 teaspoon to a quart of water).

Offer to chicks or adult chickens for several hours as their sole water source and then offer plain water for several hours.  Repeat until symptoms subside.

In extreme cases, a stronger version of 2 teaspoons may be stirred into a cup of water and administered by eyedropper a few drops at a time.

Only use when needed in cases of emergency. Discard any unused liquid solution at the end of each day. Dried mixture can be stored in a cool, dry place almost indefinitely.

Now that you've made the electrolytes, did you know that you can mix them into some water and make electrolyte ice cubes to add to your flock's water? Read this article for the how-to.

Chickens really struggle in the summer heat, so anything you can do to help them get through it is going to be beneficial. Keeping homemade electrolytes on hand for your chickens is a great star! 

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Further reading:
Electrolyte Ice Cubes for Chickens
Hot weather, acidosis and homemade electrolytes
Helping your chickens beat the heat

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