Chicken & Egg Issue 14 - page 50

50
Chicken & Egg. Welfare and Food Together.
Probiotics
–a word we
often see, but what exactly
are they and why do our
hens need them?
Gaynor’s
Tips
We have all heard about good and bad gut
bacteria and gut flora, and you can’t turn
on the TV these days without seeing ads
for healthy products to balance our gut.
Probiotics are micro-organisms that are
believed to provide health benefits when
consumed, and it is widely believed that
probiotics improve and strengthen the
immune system too. Hence we are all
encouraged to consume ‘friendly’ bacteria
regularly.
Most diarrhoeas in our hens can be traced
back to dietary problems and often a
probiotic is all that is needed to get your
hens back to health. Probiotics should always
be given if your hen has been prescribed a
course of antibiotics in order to help replace
destroyed good gut bacteria. We have also
found them useful after a bout of sour crop
or vent gleet when yeasts get a foot-hold
and disrupt the delicate normal balance.
Beryls Friendly bacteria is perhaps the best
known and comes in a sachet that needs
to be kept refrigerated. Water is added to
create a paste that can be syringed into your
hen’s beak. I tend to use Avipro Plus which
can be added to feed or water and also
contains vitamins and electrolytes. In the
absence of a specific pro-biotic it does no
harm to occasionally feed a natural organic
yogurt and this can be a helpful stop-gap
when hens are going through a period of
loose droppings.
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