ATV - Friendly Bacteria

Voice Card  -  Volume 20  -  Drury Card Number 6  -  Sat, May 18, 1991 3:05 PM

So far so good with the reviews - here is another.

Ask the Vet
May 1, 1991
Drury R.

Q: Under what circumstances would it be necessary or beneficial to administer friendly bacteria to a captive bird? How would this relate to incubator hatched, hand-fed babies?

A: The friendly bacteria are a species of lactobacillus and streptococcus. These bacteria occur normally in many groups of adult animals, including poultry and exotic birds. They are found attached to the lining of the gut and they prevent the growth of disease-causing bacteria and yeast.

Replacement bacteria could be used whenever a bird is experiencing some stress, such as long-term antibiotic therapy, recovering from an illness, moulting, breeding, weaning, or being transported. For years the poultry and livestock industry have fed live cultures of lactobacillus and streptococcus to animals in the hopes of reducing death and disease. There have even been a few controlled studies that indicate this practice is beneficial.

The one study performed on a variety of hand-fed psittacine chicks demonstrated no benefits to feeding friendly bacteria. However the use of replacement bacteria may be of benefit in situations where the management, sanitation, and diet are lacking in various factors. Using replacement bacteria is not harmful and some preparations may even provide small amounts of vitamins and minerals. It can be safely added to the handfeeding diets of incubator hatched birds.