I found some great stuff I need to let you know about. I first heard about it from a friend who had it recommended for her dog's arthritis. She swears that this stuff healed up her dog who could barely walk, in about a week, the dog was frolicking.
It's known as food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) aka fossil shell flour. I researched it a bit, ordered some and have been mixing it in the piggy feed on a daily basis. Willy had been getting very expensive vitamins for his arthritis, which helped a bit. I've weaned him off of a daily dose of that, to about once a week. In any case, his walk has improved--no more limp--he also runs just for fun or when I call him in from the pasture. I now have my dog on it and my husband...I take a dose every so often for the calcium mineral content. He's been on it now for a few months. The theory is that this stuff is so chock full of minerals and it expels parasites for better absorption.
We decided to raise a few chickens for the eggs and upon researching that, I've become a member of an organic chicken group on yahoo. This group recommends the use of guess what? DE, raw, unpasteurized apple-cider vinegar and garlic! They swear by it--helps keep the chickens healthy and parasite free. This stuff also works great to spray (fine powder) in the chicken coop. It reduces flies (their larvae won't survive it) and smell...it also works as a gereral--all around anti bug pest remedy...it's not toxic and actually good for the animals...but it's death to bugs because of the diatom action on their protective, waxy coating...the bugs die of dehydration and worms get all cut up. The only precaution is to use a mask when applying because the dust is the consistency of talc and could cause respiratory problems when airborne.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) and garlic are both well-known anti-parasitics and health tonics. I keep a bottle with chopped up garlic near the watering dishes for all the animals...about a tablespoon of the mix goes in about a gallon of water. I've noticed all the animals drink lots more of their water when I put the stuff in. When I run out--between mixing batches for a day or two, they drink less water. The pigs have their choice of two water dishes, one without, and one with. I often find their vinegar/garlic water dish completely empty. The pigs have been healthy and their eyes are super clear. They still run a bit, but I've noticed their eyes look cleaner and clearer.
I use it in stainless steel water or glass dishes only. Plastics, galvanized metals and ceramics can all leach toxins into the water--especially with the ACV present. Many chicken farmers swear by all three--that it increases egg laying, overall health and parasites. The DE can also be powdered onto dogs, cats, chickens for fleas and lice...no harm to animal, but death to the bugs. Again, you just don't want them inhaling much of the stuff. Once it settles, it's good. I sprinkle it onto the piggy poop area when I don't have time to pick it up--totally reduces flies and smell. I just make sure the pigs are elsewhere to give it time to settle.
Here's a link for the DE and a place to order, www.shadowridgedonkeys.com. These people raise and rescue miniature donkeys. Very nice and lots of links and info. on the DE. It's cheaper to buy in bulk and a heck of a lot cheaper than the supplements I was buying for Willy and Issy. It is very important that everyone know that only FOOD GRADE DE is to be used. The stuff used for swimming pools and landscaping is poisonous because it's a different grade of DE and the way it's processed causes it to become very toxic. The food grade stuff has been allowed for use by the FDA in many of our food products. Oh, I almost forgot another important factor. I sprinkle the stuff in the dry pig pellets and stir it all up. Just enough for a light coating. That gets rid of and keeps all the bugs out! We used to get those darn bugs in our food--no more of that!
I wanted to try it for awhile to see if Willy's arthritis improved...he's been on it now for about four months and was noticeably better in a couple of weeks.