Question for Resolution: Dairy

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by junglebird, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi there Resolution,

    I have a question for you that came up while I was reading your scratch grain thread, "Scratch Grain is one way that people can feed their birds without using soy or any imported cereal crops. Finding the appropriate supplements to ameliorate nutrition provided by scratch grain is the next issue. Many people are growing their own crops to feed their poultry and I hope that local farmers will begin to produce milk to make poultry sustenance cheeses. It is also my hope that local meat producers will work harder to provide the sort of meat bi products that were available just a few decades ago- before family operations were largely run out of business by major corporations- but this is not a polemic against anyone but rather in support of--to encourage- the backyard hobbyist and small family farmer to think a bit harder on what they are putting into their birds. " https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=602346&p=7

    Would
    you be so kind to help me get to the bottom of a burning question: can poultry digest milk products? The Oregon State University poultry vets assure me that feeding dairy products to poultry will only give them diarrhea and no nutritional benefit. However, there's a common wisdom that poultry can digest at least fermented milk products. I've been feeding cultured milk products and do see some diarrhea, though less so when I also increase the rations of grains and greens (and reduce amalgamated feed products). Can you help me understand the truth of it?

    I'm trying to get my chickens/turkeys off cereal entirely, and have been using as my model the dietary rations outlined in "The Dollar Hen", which call for about 10% meat, 70% grains, and 20% green food (by weight). Protein is my scarcest ration, especially in winter, and I hope that a productive dairy goat will fill the void, if I can just get a handle on the digestion issue.

    I also wonder your thoughts on feeding eggs back to adult chickens.

    Thanks in advance,
    Your Fan,
    Junglebird
     
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  3. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    First of all, there is a difference between pasteurized milk and raw milk. Pasteurizing destroys enzymes in the milk that make lactose easy to digest. It has been found that many "lactose intolerant" people can indeed drink raw milk with no problems. I am one of those people.

    Second, farmers have fed their chickens milk years ago, it being a favorite way sometimes to finish off the ones set aside for meat. How can this be? Because it's raw milk.

    Third, the process of making cheese changes the lactose as well. Yogurt, Kefir, and Cheese are generally fine for anyone that can't drink milk for this reason.

    Science told us that the first thing I mentioned was impossible for years because the lactose was chemically the same after pasteurization. Science finally came up with the bright idea that perhaps they were wrong and should look again. It did, and finally found the answer.

    The short answer: A dairy goat is a great idea, and they will be able to eat the cheese.

    Feeding them their eggs back is fine too. Many people do this when they have too many eggs. It's a wonderful protien source and will NOT make them into egg eaters.

    I give mine kefir, even that made from pasteurized milk which I use from time to time to keep the kefir going, have fed them raw milk and yogurt and even raw milk that was starting to go over a bit and never have they had the runs from it. Usually I mix the milk or whatever with some dollar store rolled oats. They love it.

    I only give it to them if it's something that would be thrown out anyway for whatever reason though, I don't have a dairy goat (yet).
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2012
  4. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Galanie, yes, anectodally, raw milk, cultured milk product, powdered milk, and skim milk are what I come across in actual husbandry. But what is the science of this? In addition to the reference I made to our University vet, I've read various other vets online who agree that "chickens do not have the enzymes needed [lactase] to properly digest dairy products. It can and will cause diarrhea." Have veterinary industry/academia failed to test products in which culturing has converted lactose (milk sugar) to lactic acid? Have they failed to test raw milk which carries bacterially produced lactase?

    I understand that chickens require something like 11 or 14 essential amino acids, and that grain mixes use complementary pairings to achieve balances (like corn which is low in lysine and soy which is low in methionine). Like in humans, especially vegetarians, combining cereals (low lysine) and legumes (low methionine) provides better balance, or what we call "complete protein." Does milk protein contain any of the 11-14 essential amino acids that chickens require (and who writes those requirements, feed company nutritionists?)? Or does it act as a complementary partner to other parts of the diet?

    How well do chickens metabolise casiens (the globular proteins that solidify into curds) vs lactoglobulin (whey protein)? My chickens have had diarrhea from the full fat Jersey cow raw milk products I have given them: clabbered milk, yogurt and whey. I wonder if the diarrhea is from excess fatty acids. Perhaps when I feed these fatty milk products in the correct combination with other nutrients, there's less diarrhea, since the balance of foods stuffs is more wholly digestible and the constituents have had opportunity to bind and become available? Is that how it works?

    (Feel free to correct any of my "information" above. I'm a student, not a Master.) [​IMG]
     
  5. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]Can they digest milk? No, they don’t have lactase enzymes to break the milk sugars. Fermented dairy? Yes. But chicken guts aren’t really set up to ferment, hence the diarrhea.

    Fermented products will already have the carbohydrate bonds broken into simpler sugars for digestion and uptake by microbial enzymes. The fermentation can cause osmotic imbalance in the gut, the fiber from greens may help.. And/or it may promote bacterial growth where the microbes help with the breakdown of the milk products.

    Poultry are omnivorous, heavy into grains/seeds – why would you want them off cereal grains? (I also don’t understand – the ration you list below calls for 70% grains – cereals are just the grains of monocots. (syntax))??? Grains contain protein, levels vary depending on the grain; animal proteins are ALWAYS more expensive compared to plant-based proteins.

    Hence my creation of UltraKibble- I won’t go into all the why - should suffice to say it’s convenient and its efficacy as a supplement used in concert with grains is unsurpassed.
    Ultrakibble doesn’t change basic physiology however, it may be that guts are simply in better health, so more resilient. The kibble also contains certain microbes and probiotics, prebiotics etc. that aid in digestion.

    There are 7 different species of (dehydrated pomace) vegetables in the kibble - sourced for optimal dietary fibre as well that of salmon meal which includes bone, fin and scale and all other parts of the salmon. This provides a different kind of fibre. The combination of all these fibres slows down the rate of digestion and enables absorption of more nutrients in all feed stuffs including cereals. This results in a marked decrease in feed consumption and increase in yield.


    As I may have mentioned before, cheese/yogurt (i.e. fermented products) are what I strongly recommend, especially for meat birds. Fermented dairy is already broken down – so it becomes a non-issue. And/or it’s in such a low amount that it just isn’t causing the problem. Additionally, whey is protein, not carbohydrates.. Poultry can easily digest the protein fraction. It’s the sugars in non-fermented dairy that are the issue.

    No problem feeding cooked eggs to chickens, as long as they aren’t diseased. Does this help at all?
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2012
  6. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    I have put the part in bold that answers the question. The old theory that all milk (raw and homogenized) is equal and that some can't digest it because their gut doesn't have the enzymes has been proven to be only partially correct. Raw milk itself contains enzymes that make it easily digestible. If your gut also contains enzymes that break it down, then you can drink homogenized milk fine. If it does not, then 9 chances out of 10, you'll be able to drink raw milk with no problems. Again, raw milk contains enzymes that help you digest milk and these are killed in homogenizing it. This is a fairly recent finding, so if you are reading textbooks or references more than a couple years old, it won't be mentioned.
     
  7. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickens lack lactase enzymes that break down milk sugars. It doesn't matter at all what kind of milk. Birds are not mammals obviously. Why would we expect them to be able to digest milk? Fermented milk in the form of cheese, also yogurt and Whey make very good supplements to the diet - especially those meat birds in the five weeks of finishing. This is the French method that has been used for centuries. They carried that knowledge from India- or rather they fine tuned it after contact with India.
     
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  8. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Yes, chickens lack lactase enzymes that break down milk sugars. Yes, fermented milk does not pose this problem. But RAW milk has enzymes right there in the milk. They are destroyed by the process of Homogenizing it.

    Overall, it's cheaper to use homogenized milk though and make it into kefir or yogurt or buttermilk, whatever, yourself if that's what you wish to do unless you have a dairy cow or goat.

    As an aside, I had my bird vet actually tell me that my cockatiel and all birds should have some cheese in their diet as part of a balanced diet. She wasn't talking about chickens, I'm sure, but since all birds "lack lactase enzymes that break down milk sugars" that should tell you that cheese really is fine for them. This vet is specifically trained in bird care, it's not just a dog and cat doctor.

    I quote from here http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/raw_milk_health_benefits.html

    The amylase (47), bacterially-produced lactase (48), lipases (49) and phosphatases (50) in raw milk, break down starch, lactose (milk sugar), fat (triglycerides) and phosphate compounds respectively, making milk more digestible and freeing up key minerals.

    and from here http://www.realmilk.com/raw.html

    Studies have shown that before heating, milk is a living food rich in colloidal minerals and enzymes necessary for the absorption and utilization of the sugars, fats and minerals in the milk

    I am ignoring all the health claims on these pages. I'm interested only in the science of it and the actual studies that show these facts aren't very easy to find.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
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  9. junglebird

    junglebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Resolution! [​IMG]

    Can anyone list what nutrients, in particular, milk offers that is specifically useful for birds (amino acids, vitamins, fatty acids, etc.)? Or are the nutrients nothing special, and milk is just recommended because it's a relatively inexpensive path to some animal protein?

    RE Cereals: I misspoke. By "cereal" I meant commercial feed, which I liken to "breakfast cereal." I mean to get my birds off of "breakfast cereal" (aka kibble, crumble, pellets).

    RE Ultrakibble supplement: There are some animal (fish) sources listed, how, particularly does your recommendation for fermented dairy complement the ingredients in the Ultrakibble? (I'm assuming they are complementary, rather than duplications.) What is milk particularly good at providing, that other sources are not? Olde Thyme feeding treatises claim that milk has so little protein that even if chickens drink it instead of water, their protein needs would still not be satisfied. They also fed skim milk, not cultured, so I'm still thinking there's some significance to the milk fats - should birds digest whey better than clotted cream?

    galanie: Thanks for your words supporting raw milk. I'm a raw, live foods enthusiast as well. Unfortunately, since the raw milk issue is so political, I find most literature regarding it comes from passion rather than useful data. I believe that we don't actually know why some whole foods are so good for us, because our science looks more at constituents rather than whole systems. Which is exactly what I'm trying to do with milk. [​IMG] I want to understand the underlying biochemistry as we know it. The rest of the whole foods/natural systems miracle can flourish in spite of our "knowledge" if we're stepping lightly.
     
  10. Chick named Lola

    Chick named Lola Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just bought some raw milk for cat/dogs...gave some to the chickens and it really helped one of my girls perk back up. I do notice the diarreah though so no too often. Also, for 5 birds I only gave them like a shot glass full. Don't know what real answer is....I'll be following this thread to see what the consensus is here though. Very interesting topic.
     

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