Yogurt for chickens .. friend or foe? Am I hurting my chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by BayouPoules, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. BayouPoules

    BayouPoules Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi ya'll,
    I recently advised a "just hatched" member to give her little hen some vitamins and electrolytes and some yogurt for probiotics after it had been without food and water for some time. Being "newly hatched" I wasn't too sure she had a good ACV or a poultry probiotic product( both which I use),.. but lots of people have yogurt in the fridge. ,... and I thought it would be cool and easy to get down for the weak hen.
    It was here on BYC that I first learned about yogurt for chickens and now have seen it given by many other chicken people we know. When a member followed my post to say
    "No yogurt! Birds are lactose intolerant! ",.
    I had to stop and consider that dairy really isn't a natural food for birds,.. but I admit,. my chickens LOVE the stuff,. I use it to sneak in flax seed and liquid calcium and other things they don't like and as a "healthy" treat.

    Is there anyone with more knowledge than I on this subject?

    Where do you weigh in on yogurt for chickens?

    edited for spelling:rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  2. GAchick

    GAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2009
    Pembroke GA
    From what I have read, you are only supposed to geve them unsweetened (plain) yoghurt.
  3. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    The cultures in the yogurt turn the lactose into lactic acid. Most cultured dairy products are low in lactose because of this and can be tolerated by folks who are lactose intolerant.
  4. Oneacre Homestead

    Oneacre Homestead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2011
    In yogurt the lactose has been digested by microorganisms , I think. I too am wondering about this though because I have been wetting down my chick's homemade feed with regular store milk! They have normal poop but now I have been reading on here that this is very bad.
    Do you think one could inoculate regular milk with yogurt and set it out on a 100 degree day to feed to animals? I make yogurt from store bought organic milk for my family and I cook the milk first, but I am not willing to go that far for chickens I don't think....
  5. BayouPoules

    BayouPoules Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I agree

    We give ours plain organic when we buy it and also make it from a good recipe found here on BYC ( much cheaper)
  6. AccentOnHakes

    AccentOnHakes Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 2, 2009
    There shouldn't be anything wrong with normal milk if you don't give it too much--I just wet down the feed with water.

    Actually, whole milk is considered a treatment for cocci. [​IMG]
  7. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    I give my chicks a bowl of plain yogurt mixed with mashed fruit (peaches, apples, blueberries, strawberries, etc.) and a bit of their crumbles. I give this to them almost every other day and it is eaten immediately, they love it and I have never had any problems as a result. I think it does them good.
  8. BayouPoules

    BayouPoules Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I have never given them regular cows milk,.

    I use MissPrissy's homemade recipe for us and the flock,.. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=9738

    just emailed me this-Thanks Misty

    "Why is Yogurt Beneficial for Indivduals with Lactose Intolerance?
    Many yogurts contain lower amounts of lactose than milk. As yogurt ferments, some of the lactose (milk's sugar) changes to lactic acid. Importantly, starter cultures in yogurt may produce the enzyme lactase, which digests lactose. Yogurt's semi-solid state also contributes to improved tolerance to lactose."
    from the
    Wisconsin Cheese sight

    I did look at the links that the member that opposed yogurt for chickens gave as evidence,.. and found this:
    "What happens if a bird ingests milk or products containing lactose, the milk sugar? Since it doesn't have the enzymes necessary to digest lactose, it will often pass through the bird's digestive tract unchanged. Because it is a foreign sugar, it may draw fluids into the intestinal tract, resulting in diarrhea, if ingested in large amounts. Small amounts of milk and products containing lactose are probably not harmful to most birds.

    Some milk products do not contain lactose, such as cottage cheese and other types of cheese. Generally, it is thought that it is safe to offer yogurt and cheese, although products that contain lactose are probably safe, if offered in small amounts. Interestingly, live culture yogurt does contain lactose when it is produced; however the live organisms in the yogurt consume the lactose, eventually removing the lactose entirely from the yogurt before it is consumed!" from the site http://www.exoticpetvet.net/avian/dairy.html

    Soooo,.. I'm leaning toward ,.. yogurt is my chicken's friend,..
  9. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    Yogurt is an excellent source of protein and probiotics for hens. I use it after using any product for cocci or antibiotic not during treatment as it interfers with the meds. [u
    I think like people it might help them overcome the RX. Gloria jean
  10. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    The statement that chickens are lactose intolerant isn't entirely why you shouldn't feed dairy products to them. All birds lack the enzymes to properly digest diary products as they don't have need to take in "milk" at any point in their lives.

    If you want to give yogurt as a "treat" meaning something you give only once in a while, it won't kill your bird. But as a matter of fact, avian vets will advise you NOT to give any bird dairy products. Ever. I've had the same discussion with 4 different avian vets and they all say stick with a good probiotic like Probios or Avi-Culture and ACV.

    Yogurt maybe a quick and dirty (easy to get) food item to give, but I would never advise giving yogurt. Also, as a source of good bacteria, you will get a lot more using a probiotic. You'd have to feed them too much yogurt to get the same amount of beneficial bacteria...even for people. The dairy industry has done quite a job convincing people a little yogurt a day does the trick. Maybe for someone who wants to maintain good gut flora, but NOT for someone who lacks enough in their gut (which is most people given the usual American over-processed diet).

    If you've given yogurt to your birds and had no ill effects, congratulations but would not advise it.

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