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The Benefits of Probiotics

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.

Chickens love yogurt, and I will give my flock the occasional bit of plain unflavored yogurt as a treat, 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 also 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 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.  I don't really like messing with their water too much (although I do add fresh garlic cloves on occasion and a splash of apple cider vinegar.)

Many commercial feed manufacturers 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!

Poultry Probiotics is specially formulated for chickens and ducks from hatch to laying age and beyond!


Photo credits Greta Rybus for Down East Magazine

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  1. Great post. Thanks for all the information, Lisa!

  2. Probiotics is one of the key to a great tummy and at the same time most people does'nt really know that probiotics have a big effect on our entire body and how our brain functions. But we should not only consider probiotics itself but our body also requires antioxidant that which are from organic tea. One of my favorite tea is tulsi tea which is from India and aside from that, I also love green tea of twinnings too.

  3. I think I will need to try this! A few of my hens have been having running poo. I would love to have you share this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! The link isn't live yet, but you will find it on my blog at:

  4. Top probiotics can greatly help to one's health especially on the digestion. This good bacteria can really contribute on achieving healthier and stronger body as well.

  5. Are you still using this? I went to buy some and this particular product is sold out, even on Amazon.

  6. I have been adding ProBios Probiotics to my layer feed. But today bought the Nutrena Layer Crumbles that include probiotics, and now I am wondering if I should still be adding the ProBios to this new feed, as long as it has it included.
    What do you think? I love your website and blog, and I would value your input.
    Sally Phelps