Probiotics vs. Prebiotics in a Chicken Diet




Most of you are likely familiar with what probiotics are - I mean who hasn't seen the Jamie Lee Curtis yogurt ads on tv - but you may be surprised to learn that probiotics work basically the same way for chickens as they do for humans.


Probiotics

Probiotics aid in digestive health and maintain a healthy bacterial balance in the intestines by boosting the 'good' bacteria. They are created by the act of fermentation and include foods like yogurt, apple cider vinegar and sauerkraut. Fermenting your chicken feed (find out how I do it here) will add beneficial probiotics to your chickens' diet.

While probiotics are helpful in preventing or curing diarrhea in chickens, an excess of yogurt (or any dairy product) can actually cause diarrhea because they can't digest the milk sugar enzymes, so adding some probiotic powder such as Probios (in a 2% ratio to the feed) is a far better way to increase the probiotic levels for poultry. Although feeding a bit of plain, unflavored yogurt on occasion won't hurt any and your chickens will love it.

I add probiotic powder to my chickens' daily feed as a health supplement, but even if you choose not to make it a regular part of their diet, probiotics should always be given any time antibiotics are being administered, to help rebuild the good bacteria levels that the antibiotics destroy.

Here's more on the benefits of probiotics...

What you might not realize is, that in order to work correctly, probiotics need prebiotics.


Prebiotics

Prebiotics basically set the stage for probiotics to work. They go hand in hand with probiotics by nourishing the probiotics and providing 'food' for them. Prebiotics trigger the growth of healthy bacteria and increase a body's resistance to pathogens.

Some common sources of prebiotics that chickens love to eat include:

- Barley
- Berries
- Dandelion greens
- Flaxseeds
- Garlic
- Honey
- Lentils
-Sea kelp
- Wheat bran
- Yams

A lack of probiotics can lead to runny poop, dirty vents and matted feathers, as well as other intestinal issues. So for better chicken health, consider adding both probiotics and prebiotics to your chickens' diet. After all, a clean, fluffy butt is the sign of a happy, healthy chicken!


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