We are very excited to welcome Probios into our family of FED-tested and -approved products that we highly recommend for naturally healthy hens.
Probiotics, such as those found in yogurt, are extremely beneficial to poultry intestinal health much as they are to humans. They help boost good bacteria levels in the intestines and maintain optimal health. They also aid in digestion and will result in a better feed conversion ratio, meaning your flock will need to eat less to get the same nutrients out of their feed.
They help reduce fly problems, and the feces of flocks that consume probiotics smells less and creates less ammonia, thereby making for improved bedding quality and less odor in your coop. Probiotics also aid in composting.
However, excessive amounts of dairy products can cause diarrhea in chickens. Their bodies aren't designed to digest the milk sugars found in dairy, so for this reason, probiotic powder is a far superior choice to introduce good bacteria into their diet. The powder also has a much longer shelf life, as long as it is stored in a dry, airtight container.
Probiotics form a barrier that prevent bad bacteria from attaching to the intestinal walls and also aid digestion, assist in nutrient absorption and help boost egg productivity. They support the immune system in general and increase growth rates. They support beneficial microflora in the intestines and inhibit pathogen growth. Hens who are fed probiotics maintain healthy weights and lay larger, better quality eggs with stronger shells.
I add a little sprinkle of probiotic powder to my chicks' feed. Providing chicks probiotics will help keep them disease-free later in life. Probiotics are thought to combat coccidiosis and salmonella in chicks. Starting the little ones off using natural preventative measures can have lifelong benefits. E. Coli has been shown to exist in virtually all poultry manure samples, but only becomes a problem for a flock when their digestive environment is conducive to the e. coli reproducing, which intestines with plenty of 'good' bacteria are not. Studies have shown that incidence of salmonella in chickens can be reduced by 99% using a diet that includes probiotics.
I also mix Probios probiotic powder into my grown hens' daily layer feed in a 2% ratio. Probiotics are available that are meant to be mixed right into the drinking water also, which is recommended for large flocks, but I have not tried that method of dispersing yet. Many commercial feed manufacturers, including Nutrena, are now adding probiotics into their layer feed formulas as well.
So to summarize, adding probiotics to your chickens' diet will:
- help maintain intestinal health
- strengthen their immune system
- increase 'good' bacteria
- help with digestion and feed conversion
- reduce fly populations
- aid in composting
- result in greater egg production
- result in greater egg/shell quality
- reduce the chance of your hens succumbing to e.coli or salmonella or passing it along to you or chicks
'Probiotic' literally means 'for life'. It is the opposite of 'antibiotic' and our choice when it comes to raising our chickens. More natural preventatives, less unnatural medications after the fact. Anytime antibiotics ARE administered to your flock, probiotics should also be given in conjunction with the antibiotic treatment to promote the regrowth of good bacteria, but we do highly recommend adding probiotic powder to your chickens' daily feed. It's that whole 'ounce of prevention' thing that Benjamin Franklin was so fond of!