In multiple places on this website I issue warnings about using store-bought essential oils, and I would never want to retract those warnings. However, oil of oregano is one of the most powerful tools we have in our natural medicinal arsenal for birds and it can be bought in stores! So I want to clarify: oil of oregano is a bit of a hybrid when it comes to essential oils. “Oil of Oregano” is the product name for a group of supplements found in health stores, most of which contain a mixture of two ingredients: oregano essential oil and olive oil. Some brands contain additional ingredients, but these are not bird-safe. Oil of oregano products are manufactured for internal use in humans: they are manufactured, tested and guaranteed to be safe for internal use, which sets them apart from store-bought, perfume-grade EOs, as these are labeled for external use only.

As I have mentioned before, oregano essential oil is probably the most powerful and potent of all the antimicrobial essential oils. It is also a highly warming appetite and metabolic stimulant. All of these qualities make it ideal to use for dying birds and in bird emergencies. However, oregano essential oil is intense, can be caustic to the crop and GI, and can only be used short-term. Oil of oregano is a diluted version of oregano essential oil that is much more gentle and can be safely used internally, even with baby birds.

However, a great deal of care needs to be taken when administering oil of oregano to birds. For one thing, some brands are ineffective. I remember a case of a bird in Canada whose owner was trying to save its life with store-bought oil of oregano to no avail. Once she switched to an effective brand the bird came around. Another issue with oil of oregano is that each brand is diluted with a different percentage of olive oil, and this information is rarely found on the label. I always call the manufacturer to find out the ratio of EO to olive in any given brand.

My favorite brands for use in birds are:

– Nature’s Answer
– North American Herb and Spice

CAUTION: Because oregano can be caustic when used internally, and because there is so much variation between the brands, and because each brand has to be properly FURTHER diluted in olive oil before it can safely be administered to birds, and because I have a tremendous amount of experience using oil of oregano internally for numerous species of birds, I am not going to explain exactly how to use this product on this website. Rather I will offer my help for anyone who feels that this remedy might be useful to them in an emergency: please contact me directly for detailed, careful support. In the meantime, I will recommend that anyone with a bird purchase one of the above two brands of oil of oregano just in case you need it!

Lainey Alexander

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or by any veterinarian. All information, including any product or technique mentioned, is for educational purposes only. None of the information is intended to diagnose or treat any disease.