Why Your Backyard Chickens Need Probiotics
Updated: 19 August 2021
Are you in and out of the vet and can’t work out why your flock’s health isn’t 100%?
Just like us humans, our feathered friends need to maintain healthy gut bacteria for optimum health.
That’s where probiotics join the party.
But, wait, are probiotics good for chickens?
Although, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with the numerous probiotic products for poultry on the market today—all with varying quality and quantities of gut-friendly bacteria.
Worry not, my lovelies - if you want the best for your backyard chickens’ health, we’ve got the scoop.
Here is the only guide you’ll ever need to learn how to keep backyard chickens healthy with probiotics.
Probiotic Vs Prebiotic - What’s the Difference?
There are two terms you need to be familiar with: Probiotics and prebiotics for backyard chickens. They sound similar but are quite different.
What is a Prebiotic?
Probiotic bacteria enhance the ability of the gut to break down carbohydrates and release energy into the chicken. There are stacks of "good bacteria" that can create a "good" probiotic culture in a chicken's gut, and one of the common ones is lactobacillus.
Why are Probiotics Important to Chicken Health?
Crowd out the Nasty Bacteria
Shift the gut pH to provide the right environment for bacteria to grow in your backyard chickens.
For example, probiotics help to prevent an E-coli and Salmonella outbreak. These are two nasty bacteria that like to attach to the gut wall and cause serious issues.
Crowd that space in the gut with zillions of other friendly bacteria, and you’ll discourage the attachment of these nasty pathogens.
They’ll still be there, but the environment is so pro probiotic that it stops the organisms from being able to take hold and exert their nasty effects. For example, toxin secretion increases gut motility, and these problems with backyard chickens lead to diarrhoea and other very upset gut symptoms.
You'll also know that the gut population is way off-key and in need of serious help by a terrible change in the smell of your chook's poo.
If you’re concerned about a salmonella risk in your backyard chickens, read my guide on how to avoid an outbreak.
What about Yoghurt?
Have you ever seen a chicken devour yoghurt?
Although they struggle to process lactose, it's hard to argue it's all bad!
While there's something special about yoghurt, I’ve found something even better when it comes to a probiotic.
The Best Chicken Probiotics in Australia
You can choose between chicken probiotic powder or liquid. I have found the liquid ones have more added benefits, so I go liquid every time!
Now that I know and love the product, there's no turning back!
So, what is it?
Resistance Assistance is the best chicken probiotic, hands down. I began using this 18 months ago.
Other breeders and I have personally experienced incredible benefits:
Well-formed faeces with no nasty smells
"They eat like elephants" - one of my customers swears Resistance Assistance is the reason his chicks are bigger, stronger and healthier with fewer health issues. Some herbal ingredients act as an appetite stimulant - bonus!
It could be the probiotic or appetite-stimulating properties, but owners using Resistance Assistance post-antibiotic use notice that chooks bounce back well post vet treatment.
I believe this benefit is because the bird’s guts can better digest food. They are getting more nutrients from their food and building more robust immunity.
So, it's Like Kombucha, but for Chickens?
In many probiotic cultures, particularly the liquid ones, the mere fact that they are grown by fermentation means many other beneficial organic acids are around.
This is like getting something for nothing. These acids maintain the environment in favour of probiotic cultures. In addition, they help to inhibit other pathogens associated with disease. Talk about a win-win!
Probiotics are preventative, there to give us long term stability in the gut. The high-quality formulas are beneficial but remember - they will never eliminate disease 100%.
How to Give Chickens Probiotics
They’re not necessarily something you want to go along and blitz when you think you’ve got the symptoms.
How long to give chickens probiotics? The important thing about using probiotics as a preventative with chickens is that you must supply them every day.
Mix Resistance Assistance evenly into their feed (1ml per 100g of feed or about 1% of their daily feed weight). If you’re not sure ‘what do backyard chickens eat for optimum health?’, see my blog here.
Work out when to feed backyard chickens, give them the same daily dose, and monitor their faeces. If they look good and regular, then you’ve got a happier chook on your hands.
But just remember—more probiotic is not necessarily better. So stick to the recommended dosage.
With no withholding period, why not give them a go?
If your chickens still aren’t up to scratch, read my guide on common chicken illnesses.
Shop for your poultry supplies in Australia online. Resistance Assistance is used and recommended by Australian Avian Veterinarians. 100% Australian, natural and safe for all ages of poultry.
Take advantage of our Health Bundle of Resistance Assistance and Solaminovit. Solaminovit Liquid is a vitamin and amino acid supplement for healthy, strong chicks and pullets.
Want your chickens to be the healthiest and happiest they can be? I offer backyard chicken workshops, online programs, phone coaching, and in-person support to families, schools, and free-range egg farmers. Visit my online shop for natural, tried-and-tested poultry supplies in Australia.
We’ve got more tips for raising backyard chickens beyond the basics. Become an egg-spert and follow my online guide to raising backyard chickens 101.
Elise McNamara, Chicken Consultant & Educator.