Chicken and Egg Issue 15 - page 52-53

Chicken & Egg. Welfare and Food Together.
The ChickenVet:
Keep your gorgeous
girls’ gut healthy
The home of healthy chickens
for more details.
01392 872885
Check out the new
Chicken Vet app,
available on Apple
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Hen Welfare Trust
The Chicken Vet
provides veterinary
expertise to help keep
your re-homed hens in
tip top health.
Visit our website for more
information, advice and for
the full range of products that
are all recommended by our
experienced poultry vets. Our
Associated Practice Scheme
trains vets around the UK in
poultry medicine. Find your
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today at
Poultry, like humans, have a particular
biological set of healthy gut bacteria. This
bacteria helps to keep the bird’s digestive
system healthy, which in turn assists in
keeping an equilibrium for optimal bird
health. Gut bacteria have several functions
including digesting food and actually
feeding good bacteria. Human gut bacteria
and chicken gut bacteria are very different;
partly because we have different diets.
Each therefore require a special set of
bacteria specific to the species. Alongside
this, we need to look after the gut and this
can be aided by using supplements to
enhance the conditions the bacteria like
to live in.
During the colder and wetter weather, it can
become more challenging to keep your birds
in appropriate conditions. Damp bedding can
make an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.
This, alongside the requirement to keep
your birds housed during the recent Avian
Influenza alert, may increase the bacterial
levels within the house. Cleaning the house
out regularly, disinfecting and using fresh
bedding will reduce any harmful levels of
unwanted bacteria. Water drinkers need
to be cleaned and disinfected regularly to
minimise bacteria as some bacteria can be
harmful for your birds. Both are practical tips
which can easily be implemented.
If your birds are producing diarrhoea or
frothy droppings regularly then it is likely
they have a bacterial upset, particularly if
they are displaying no other symptoms.
Causes of diarrhoea aside from in-house or
in-feed contamination can be down to the
wrong diet. Like us, chickens need specific
food to meet their physiological demands;
and again, like us, they can overdo it with the
wrong food stuffs. Commonly, too many tit-
bits and treats become the diet rather than
By Alison Colville-Hyde, Chicken Vet.
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