Probiotics – a word we often use, but what exactly are they and why do our hens need them?
We have all heard about good and bad gut bacteria and gut flora, you can’t turn on the TV these days without seeing ads for healthy products to balance our gut. Probiotics are microorganisms that are believed to provide health benefits when consumed. It is widely believed that probiotics improve and strengthen the immune system too. We are encouraged to consume ‘friendly’ bacteria regularly.
Most diarrhoeas and dietary upsets in our hens can be traced back to dietary problems and often a probiotic is all that is needed to get your hens back onto the straight and narrow. Probiotics should always be given if your hen has been prescribed a course of antibiotics. 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. It 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. Pro-Kolin+ is provided in an easy to use dosing syringe. I tend to use Avipro Plus – it 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 feed a natural organic yogurt and this can be a helpful stop-gap when hens are going through a period of loose droppings.
If you would like to ask Gaynor a hen health question please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hen Central on 01884 860084. To support our Advice Line we ask for a nominal donation to help fund this service, so that we can continue to help your hens.