Maintaining your chicken’s health is very important, if a chicken isn’t getting all the nutrients that it needs then it can develop a number of ailments and illnesses.
Chickens need probiotics and electrolytes, this article explores why.
Electrolytes and probiotics for chickens
Probiotics are bacteria that benefit the whole body, especially the digestive system, they are live microorganisms that help keep the gut healthy.
Electrolytes keep the body hydrated, regulate the body’s ph levels and play a role in conducting nerve impulses.
Chickens need both of these in their diet
Do chickens need electrolytes and probiotics?
The chicken gut contains billions and billions of bacteria. Both good and bad bacteria exist in the gut, the good bacteria outnumber the bad bacteria in the gut and this keeps chickens from becoming sick.
Probiotics are recommended for birds who have recently finished a round of antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off the bad bacteria that exist in a bird’s body, but they will also wipe out the good bacteria in the bird’s body as well
Giving probiotics to chickens will introduce good bacteria into the bird’s stomach. This good bacteria will keep bad bacteria to a minimum.
If your bird is dehydrated, giving the bird electrolytes is recommended.
Electrolytes are given to chickens who are dehydrated, electrolytes deliver energy to the bird, hydrate the bird, rebalance the bird’s cells and organs, and replace the minerals and salts that the bird may lack as a result of being dehydrated
What are good electrolytes and probiotics for chickens?
Good probiotics to feed your bird include relatively unprocessed cheese, sugarless yogurt, sauerkraut, miso, and sourdough. Commercial probiotics can be found at feed stores and online.
Note: Dairy may be rich in probiotics, but chickens aren’t able to digest large quantities of dairy at a time. If you choose to feed dairy products to chickens, then you’d need to make sure that you only offer dairy products to chickens in small amounts
There are a variety of commercial electrolytes on the market specially designed for chickens, homemade electrolyte solutions can be given to your birds as well.
A common homemade electrolyte recipe calls for a tablespoon of sugar, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of baking soda, and a gallon of water, mix this thoroughly to make the electrolyte solution.
You can also make an electrolyte solution by mixing up 2 cups of water, ½ a teaspoon of salt, ½ a teaspoon of baking soda, and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, honey, or molasses (molasses preferred). Keep this mixture in the fridge
If you cannot make a homemade electrolyte solution for your bird then you can offer the bird unflavored and non-colored Pedialyte or Gatorade as a way to rehydrate the bird.
Do not give your bird Gatorade too often because it is very high in sugar. Giving the bird too much sugar can cause it to develop obesity and laying problems
How often should I give my chickens probiotics and electrolytes?
A healthy chicken will already have enough good bacteria in its gut to maintain good health. Giving the bird probiotics while the bird is healthy isn’t beneficial, this will make no difference to the bird.
You can give the bird probiotics a week or two after it’s completed its course of antibiotics.
If you give your bird probiotics while the bird is on antibiotics then the antibiotics will simply kill off the good bacteria that the probiotics introduce into the bird’s body.
Electrolytes can be given to dehydrated chickens as well as to chickens who have been throwing up, have had diarrhea, or to chickens who are suffering from heat stress.
Electrolytes will energize your sick birds, Keeping the birds out of the sun will also keep them from developing heat stress and becoming lethargic.
Birds stunned as a result of an attack can also be given electrolytes.
Should I give baby chicks electrolytes and probiotics?
Chicks aren’t as developed as adult birds, the bad bacteria in a chicks gut can quickly override the good bacteria in the gut.
The chances of this happening are higher because a chick’s digestive system hasn’t had the time to build up good bacteria. Thus, feeding your chick probiotics in their first week of life is recommended.
Under normal circumstances, chicks do not need electrolytes, but, these little birds may need electrolytes if they are sick, have diarrhea, are under stress, or suffer long periods of not eating or drinking
If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other chicken related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Traumatized Chicken Behavior, How To Help A Sick Chicken Gain Weight, Do Chickens Feel Pain?, Lethargic Baby Chick With Closed Eyes, Chicken Having Trouble Walking And Standing