The Benefits of Oregano in the Bird
Written by Marie Miley-Russell
©2007, all rights reserved
Originally published in the
national American Singers Club newsletter
Oregano, traditionally used in
Mediterranean cooking, is an aromatic herb with many known beneficial uses
in animals. Recent animal studies have shown that oregano stimulates the
immune system, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and contains significant
levels of antioxidants. It also possesses anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and
While most canary breeders do not consider
using oregano in the bird room, I have found it to be beneficial and
readily accepted by the birds. I was at first skeptical that the birds
would eat oregano as it is pungent and has a slightly bitter taste, but
the birds not only accept it but eat every bit of it!
A small pinch of dried oregano leaf
sprinkled on top of each canary’s daily seed mix a few times a week is
sufficient to produce a noticeable increase in activity levels in healthy
birds and less thrifty birds seem to improve markedly as well.
A number of studies have also shown
oregano to be an effective appetite stimulant. By using oregano to
stimulate the appetite of feeding parents, chicks are likely to be fed
more often and to grow more quickly.
A fellow breeder recently related a story
to me about using oregano to cure a bird of hoarseness- he made a tea by
boiling oregano, allowed the tea to cool, and then added a bit of honey
and lemon. This tea was given to the bird in a small drinker for several
days and the bird quickly returned to song.
Most published studies of the effects of
oregano involve oil of oregano, but I have found dried oregano leaf to be
more practical for daily use in promoting overall wellness as it is easier to
feed, less expensive, and more readily available.
For birds showing signs of illness using
which is a highly concentrated oregano product, would likely be more effective. Quickon Med is a well-known herbal remedy used to treat negative bacteria,
coccidia, strep, parasites, and fungal infections. It is available
wherever Quicko products are sold.
When providing oregano to canaries, take
care to only feed a small pinch to healthy birds. Be careful to observe your birds
when beginning supplementation with any herb as individual birds can react
As is the case with all herbs, the quality
of oregano is affected by growing conditions, soil quality, and storage
conditions. Its beneficial properties are greatly reduced by prolonged
storage. Providing a small amount of fresh, high-quality dried oregano is
much better than offering a large quantity of cheap herb which has been
sitting in the back of the kitchen cabinet for several years.
Further reading: Herbs &
Disclaimer: This site contains information
about a number of nutritional supplements I have found useful in my bird
room. I am not a medical professional, a veterinarian, or an herbalist and
therefore I am not qualified to diagnose illness or recommend treatment
for your pets. The information contained on this website is presented for
educational purposes only.
No warranty or guarantee of a cure is expressed or
implied with any information on this site, nor do I make any representations
regarding the use or the results obtained with the information. In no event
shall I be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever which may arise from the use
of information on this site. Use this information at your own discretion.
Herbs may be harmful when taken in excessive amounts, in conjunction with
other herbs or medications, or when taken for the wrong condition. The fact that
herbs are natural does not mean that they are all safe. You are advised to use
caution when offering any herbal supplement to your pet. If your bird is ill, an
avian veterinarian should be consulted.