Feb 1, 2013

Probiotics, A Natural Choice for Healthy Chickens

If you have been following my blog or Facebook page for any period of time, you know that I am not one who relies on claims about how a product or food item can benefit my flock without credible support for those claims. So, when Gro2Max contacted me about their probiotics for chickens, I had lots of questions for the company and insisted upon seeing research backing up their claims that their probiotics work to keep chickens healthy and improve performance. Gro2Max provided me with plenty of scientific support for the benefits of their product- I then did my own research.
Gro2Max Probiotics
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live, nonpathogenic bacteria that contribute to the health and balance of the intestinal tract. These good bacteria can strengthen the immune system and help chickens digest food more efficiently, helping them stay healthy and grow better.

Most of us are familiar with the benefits that bacterial cultures in yogurt contribute to our own digestive health and some chicken-keepers give yogurt to their chickens to impart those same benefits. What many chicken-keepers do not know is that chickens are not equipped to digest dairy foods and would be better served by skipping the yogurt and ingesting the beneficial cultures (probiotics) alone.
Chickens are not equipped to digest dairy products, probiotics are a better choice than yogurt.

Last year, I asked Dr. Rob McCoy, PhD, vice president of Manna Pro Poultry Nutrition his opinion about feeding chickens dairy and he indicated that birds do not possess the enzymes necessary to properly digest milk sugars. Considering the fact that mother birds do not nurse their young, it makes perfect sense. Feeding chickens a little yogurt occasionally is fine, but too much dairy can cause digestive upset and diarrhea. A better choice would be to give chickens probiotics specially formulated for them. A University of Guelph professor and an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada food researcher have found that giving chickens probiotics stimulates their immune system and reduces the Salmonella bacteria in their gut by more than 99 percent. 
Most cases of Salmonella are transmitted by eggs that are infected INSIDE the hen's ovary.

The Inside Story About Salmonella Transmission: Egg Yolk Russian Roulette
There is a mistaken belief that Salmonella is transmitted to people primarily through dirty egg shells when, in fact, most cases of the illness are the result of an egg that was infected with Salmonella inside the hen's ovary.

In the commercial poultry industry, “stringent procedures for cleaning and inspecting eggs were implemented in the 1970s (which) made illness from Salmonella caused by chicken feces on the outside of egg shells extremely rare. However, unlike Salmonella infections from eggs in past decades, the epidemic that started in the 1980s and continues to cause illnesses today is due to SE (Salmonella enteritidis) being inside intact eggs with clean shells. The reason is that SE can silently infect the ovaries of healthy appearing hens and contaminate the inside eggs before the shells are formed. (A)n infected hen can lay many normal eggs while only occasionally laying eggs contaminated with SE. Chickens raised for meat can also be contaminated with SE.” source  
Giving newly hatched chicks probiotics  helps keep them from developing and passing on diseases later in life, including Salmonella Enteritis.
A research team with the University of Arkansas studying the effects of probiotics on young chicks has found that giving probiotics to newly hatched chicks helps to keep them from developing and passing on diseases in later life, including Salmonella Enteritis.This information is significant, particularly for backyard chicken-keepers- providing backyard chickens with probiotics as soon as possible in life gives them the best chance to live a healthy, productive life, staving off illness and bacteria, including Salmonella.
Probiotics, a Natural Choice for Healthy Chickens

What can probiotics do for laying hens?
  • increase egg production, egg size & egg quality
  • improve egg shell quality
  • improve feed conversion
  • keep bad bacteria at bay (acidifies the gut, reduces pH, competes with bad bacteria, elbowing it out, aka: competitive exclusion)
  • improve absorption of nutrients in feed, decreasing feed costs
  • stimulate the immune system, reduce the need for antibiotic use
Laying hens benefit from probiotics in many ways.

Advantages of Gro2Max Probiotics
  • 100% all-natural, organic & environmentally safe
  • Safe and recommended for use in chicks
  • No withdrawal period
  • Economical: a 3.5 ounce packet will mix with 28 gallons of water (1.5 teaspoons per gallon).
  • Once opened, a 3.5 ounce packet will last 15-20 days
  • Can be used in traditional watering containers or poultry nipple watering systems with the use of a tea infuser or cheesecloth
  • Can be used with ducks and geese
All of the data and research I have read supports the premise that probiotics are good for chickens in many ways and I feel strongly about adding it to my chickens’ waterers from the day they hatch. If reducing the risk of Salmonella were the only benefit imparted by use of probiotics, that would be enough for me to put them in my chickens' water, but that there are so many other, proven benefits to my chickens and their eggs is what makes me so enthusiastic about recommending them. I encourage you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions. I have provided my sources and links for your reference.
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

69 comments :

  1. Kathy, I strongly agree with this and am happy to see probiotics made for chickens.  I not only take them but have my Welsh terrier on them. He has terrible gas issues which have been totally rectified by taking these supplements. I am purchasing. Tell Rachel thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Karen Bates2/2/13, 7:41 AM

    Thanks for this informative post!  I do occasionally give my chickens yogurt...now I know better.  Thanks for the site.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kathy   What can you tell me about feeding Kombuch Scobie to chickens? And, the use of Kombucha in their drinking water.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Done deal!! I am so thankful for your blog!! Your tips and tricks are great!!! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Theresa Borne2/2/13, 8:13 PM

    Definitely some good information, thanks for doing the research for us!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very interesting.  Thanks for all the good info.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Deborah D.2/2/13, 8:21 PM

    I am glad I discovered your blog.  This sounds like a great product.  

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have some egglets in the incubator now that needs some of the GroMax Probiotics! Would like to give them the best start possible!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. love your blog. Learn something new every time I read it. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  10. TheChickenChick2/2/13, 8:31 PM

    I'm not sure what you're asking exactly, but I just cut up the SCOBYs from my homemade ACV (before they become leathery!) and they eat them. I also give them the apple pieces when the vinegar is complete. They love 'em! I have never put Kombucha in my chickens' waterers, but I imagine you could give it to them just like ACV; I use 1-2 tablespoons of ACV per gallon of water.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey Chicken Chick! As always,  great information! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would love to try some of the GROMAX Probiotics; sounds like great stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I didn't know yogurt was bad, I had read others say it was good because of the cultures. So much miss information. Good to know their are other sources of probiotics.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have my first Eggs in the Bator and would love to give them the best start possible!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've started adding live probiotics to my chick mash and every morning they dive into the dish.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great to know and makes sense

     

    ReplyDelete
  17. Is there any difference in this product and the ProBios ???

    ReplyDelete
  18. You always have great information!! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  19. what great info! I have 12 cochin bantam bitties, 10 barred rock bitties, and 4 game bird bitties with possibly more with 3 dozen in the bator that should be hatching tomorrow or monday! What a great way to start MY BABIES off to a GREAT start!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Joyce Zaleski2/2/13, 11:17 PM

    Great article! I have used other probiotics but would love to try this! Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The link to their facebook page at the top of this page is not working,  I had to do a search for their page.  I use probiotics on my other animals, why did I not think to use them on my chickens??  Great post!  

    ReplyDelete
  22. hi just dropped in for the first time and already have learned so much! thanks for all the great advice. I am going to be following to keep learning.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Countrified Hicks2/3/13, 5:22 PM

    Very informative post.  I would love for you to
    come over to my blog hop and share this there!


    http://countrifiedhicks.blogspot.com/2013/02/mondays-with-countrified-hicks-blog-hop.html

    ReplyDelete
  24. Madelyn Bloom2/4/13, 9:12 AM

    Love that chicky face...  I'm so glad you came by to share on Weekly Top Shot #68!
     

    ReplyDelete
  25. Shirley Corwin2/4/13, 11:54 AM

    I give my chicken vinegar about twice a week in their water and probiotics a couple times a week.  They seem very healthy and the eggs are great.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for sharing information about this product.  Liked the Gro2Max page on FB.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Rebecca Wilson2/6/13, 9:59 AM

    Hi Kathy!  Thanks so much for your super informative blog posts!  I appreciate the knowledge you share and how you have helped me get ready for my first flock of hens :)

    You mentioned ACV in one of your comments and I read your blog post on ACV in the water for flock health.  With the Gro2Max, do you use it simultaneously with ACV or alternate?  Planning out my supplementation regimen so I was curious about using these two together.  Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  28. TheChickenChick2/6/13, 4:10 PM

    Hi Rebecca! You can use ACV in addition to Gro2Max if you choose.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Marci Vaughn2/7/13, 6:30 AM

    Good morning, Kathy!  Thank you for hopping on board The Great Blog Train!  -Marci, Angie and Helen

    ReplyDelete
  30. Rebecca Wilson2/12/13, 3:09 PM

    Thanks a ton!  Bought some Gro2Max on Amazon so I'm ready to go :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. Children's Acidophilus is a high-potency, multiple species probiotic supplement.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great info! Thank you for doing so much research, you are a fantastic chicken mom!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Amy Stewart8/20/13, 5:22 AM

    Nice article you have here! Nice information, I used to drink Yakult probiotic milk, I find these products not only delicious but perfect health-emerging & balancing as well!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Makes good sense. My golden retriever suffered from frequent bouts of coccidiosis her first year (nearly every time it rained). As soon as I started her on an all natural probiotic/enzyme combo…her gut became strong enough to take care of itself. Thanks for the research and info :)

    ReplyDelete
  35. I an ADM mineral pellet for my horses that has probiotics in it. what a difference it has made for them and my feed bill.. I will surely be checking into this for my chickens.

    ReplyDelete
  36. teri snowden2/11/14, 1:23 PM

    my dog goes into the coop and drinks from the water once in a while. will it hurt him?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hi Kathy! Great information. We're raising chickens for the first time, have 7 barred rock hens. They are a little over 6 months old and have just started laying eggs. I didn't realize that about Salmonella or ProBiotics for chickens. Is there any way to tell if any of your hens has Salmonella? Ours appear healthy and we've been eating eggs all along...

    ReplyDelete
  38. TheChickenChick2/11/14, 8:47 PM

    No, there is not a way to know.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you! Your site has been such a wonderful resource for me! I appreciate all you do.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Mary Clendenin3/29/14, 8:36 AM

    After reading your article on probiotics and doing some more online research I agree with you that this is a 'must-have' for healthy chickens. My problem is this: I have only 4 hens. As you stated, after mixing the packet makes 28 gallon mixture and will last 15-20 days. I doubt I can go through 28 gallons in that short a time with the tiny flock I have. At the price of the packets this is going to be awfully spendy....advice, please!!

    ReplyDelete
  41. TheChickenChick3/30/14, 6:54 PM

    The package has directions for mixing it in one gallon increments, Mary.

    ReplyDelete
  42. is the probiotics given for a certain length of time or everyday in there water forever??

    ReplyDelete
  43. TheChickenChick4/14/14, 2:19 PM

    You can do it every day if you wish to.

    ReplyDelete
  44. PrecioustoHim4/30/14, 4:59 PM

    Are there certain instructions for mixing the Gro2Max with their water? I have a small flock in one coop and small flock in another coop they do not share water containers. So will I have to mix fresh daily or can it remain in their water containers for a few days? They have nipple waterers that only need to be changed every few days. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  45. There are instructions on the package and a very responsive customer service team that can be reached by phone.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Colleen Maher5/7/14, 1:12 PM

    I'm sure that I've just missed this, but how early can I start the chicks on Gro2Max? I have seven little girls - just about a week old. I've been giving them Quik Chik - can I just replace that with the Gro2Max? Thanks!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. Day 1, Colleen! Your chicks shouldn't have the electrolytes more than a day or two at most. The probiotics are a good idea EVERY day just as yogurt is a good idea for people.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Colleen Maher5/12/14, 11:30 AM

    Thanks so much for the information. I've waiting for the Gro2Max to arrive!

    ReplyDelete
  49. hi! I just recieved my 3 chicks and they arrived with a package of probiotic......it says to mix with 1 gallon of water.......how long will this keep? and should I refrigerate the remaining? I am hoping I am doing everything right? THANKS for your help!!!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Read the package- they should tell you in the directions for use.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Melissa Mahoney5/24/14, 3:01 PM

    should i be giving this to my chickens in the summer? also can i give this same time as acv? thanks!!!

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi! great article! from your experience are there any other ways of administering probiotics to chickens besides mixing with water? I was just curious about the approaches and the relevant pros and cons of each. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  53. hi! great article! From your experience, I was curious to understand what are some other ways to administer probiotics to chickens besides mixing with water. Is there a preferred approach?

    ReplyDelete
  54. Nancy Burns Combs8/3/14, 3:26 PM

    So can I start giving this to my hens and rooster?

    ReplyDelete
  55. Any chicken can use probiotics at any age.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Nancy Burns Combs8/4/14, 4:57 PM

    This is great. I'm going to order some now. And if I read correctly, I can give that to them all the time?

    ReplyDelete
  57. Nancy Burns Combs8/6/14, 2:15 PM

    Great information. I think I stay up to late and read to much and overload my mind. I need to keep rereading your information. There is so much of it. And I like the fact that you have information that backs up your information. Thank you so much for your time that you have given to write such informative stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  58. This was going to be my question. I'll be getting some of this soon. Thank you so much for the info.

    ReplyDelete
  59. I completely agree with you on the benefits of probiotics. However, I think yogurt is fine for chickens. As you said in your post, it's the milk sugars (aka lactose) that chickens have trouble digesting. However, the beneficial organisms that make yogurt so great actually eat most of the lactose in yogurt as it's culturing. Even lactose intolerant people (or chickens) can enjoy yogurt without tummy trouble usually. I always make a big batch of plain yogurt when I have new chicks and mix it with mashed egg yolks for the first week or so as a supplement to their chick starter. I've found it actually clears up diarrhea instead of causing it.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Shirley, Kent10/26/14, 1:18 PM

    Ok I have read all your comments on the advantages of feeding chickens probiotics and I would like to buy some gro2max. I am having difficulty with this as Amazon wont ship to Canterbury, Kent UK so where is the best place to buy please? I have quite a poorly chicken and my vet says she needs probiotics. Thank you in advance for your help.

    ReplyDelete
  61. I'm going to find this stuff and give it to my chickens! Better safe than sorry with salmonella!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Shirley Benson10/28/14, 5:08 AM

    is this used only right after hatching out or can it be used for older chickens?

    ReplyDelete
  63. I use probiotics but haven't seen this brand.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Where can I get some??? Would like to keep my chicken & their eggs as healthy as possible!

    ReplyDelete
  65. Do you know of a test for salmonella, Kathy?

    ReplyDelete
  66. You can get Gro2Max online, Gayle. This is an affiliate link to it:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00AETDWG6/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00AETDWG6&linkCode=as2&tag=thechichi-20&linkId=5NGUYL24VEKVEHAP

    ReplyDelete
  67. Nina Younger10/31/14, 10:17 AM

    If their feed says it contains probiotics, should I still give them this supplement?

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...