( pro bios = for life )

We decided on the page Antibiotics.php that the decision to add antibiotics to the drinking water should be taken only after much soul searching. We showed on that page that there are distinct problems associated with antibiotic (ab)use and that better overall results could be achieved through the use of probiotics.

But probiotic use is not only associated with fighting the colonization of the intestinal tract by pathogenic bacteria. Some studies 1 showed increased weight gain in chickens as a direct consequence of adding a couple of strains of lactobacilli to their diet.

Another study 2 recorded increased egg production and increased immunity all due to the administration of a probiotic. Addition of the probiotic resulted not only in increased egg production but also shell weight, shell thickness and serum calcium. The serum cholesterol as well as the yolk cholesterol were reduced.

Many species of lactobacilli have been shown to prevent infections in chickens but at least one study 3 showed that Lactobacillus rhamnosus protected mice from an infection by Salmonella typhimurium.

Many studies could show that some diseases can effectively be prevented through the administration of probiotics but it certainly would be advantageous if probiotics could be administered to fight an infection already present. A recent study 4 tried to answer this very question and could find no success in the probiotic used to displace Salmonella pullorum which had become established already.

Even so, probiotic use could increase the level of general immunity and consequently could make it easier for the body to fight an already established infection. Probiotic use could also increase the tumoricidal activity of the immune system. The lower the immune status, the more pronounced were both of these effects.

It was 2 years ago that one of my female patients with a very young family was treated locally against ulcerative colitis by having much of her large bowel removed and introduced to wearing a bag. Imagine a young attractive woman facing such prospects. Lucky for her, the colon could be re-attached later, but she will only take an antibiotic as a last resort now. You see, she used to take antibiotics like candy during her late teens and early twenties.
A novel treatment 5 for 6 patients used a round of antibiotics followed by administration of fecal samples donated by volunteers who were extensively screened for parasites and pathogenic bacteria. Such treatment certainly is preferable to surgery.

The above case report as well as the study 6 on feeding chicken litter to newly hatched chicks shows that simple methods such as these are both effective and relatively easy to implement:

Various studies 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 also show a protective effect of lactose against the possible colonization by Salmonella typhimurium of the intestinal tract and the invasion of various organ systems. A possibility is that lactose acts as a prebiotic in that it provides a ready nutrient for various lactobacilli which produce lactic acid while metabolizing lactose and thus create an acidic environment unsuitable for the growth of Salmonella and various other pathogens. Some of these studies also show that lactose given with cecal bacteria was more effective than the administration of either alone.
Some concern has been raised about lactose promoting also the growth of Escherichia coli but these concerns can be laid to rest when one considers that Living yeast cells of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker's yeast) can provide significant advantages when added to the diet. High quality baker's yeast offers several important nutritional features upon the death of the cells: However Saccharomyces cerevisiae is probably even more beneficial than that while it is quietly going about its business and metabolizing in the intestinal tract, acting as a very useful probiotic.
It has been shown that active yeast (not to be confused with the dead "Brewer's Yeast" sold in feed stores): Application of the various ideas expressed above may transform the clear water in the 11 liter drinker to a soup containingand this soup certainly goes against our ingrained belief that "cleanliness is next to godliness". Nevertheless, one has to keep in mind that we know all the ingredients of this soup and therefore know what the birds are consuming, something which cannot be said about birds engaging in caprophagy. Further to that can be added that the droppings shed by the birds after prolonged treatment with this soup will very likely contain the same ingredients and one need not worry about the droppings they may find in the loft or on the roofs as long as they dry rapidly since mold spores, always floating about, can easily grow on moist feces. It would be advantageous to make this "soup" fresh on a daily basis rather than culture it. A method of culturing is explained on another page at In spite of this, it may be more advantageous to add a yeast culture as well as a bacterial and fecal culture to the feed and leave the water clear. 100% of the cultures will be consumed through this method which is not the case if they are added to the water.
While yeast can theoretically be cultured and propagated indefinitely by simple methods, contamination of this culture with pathogenic fungi is not a question of "if" but "when". It is for this reason that I use a culture for but a single day and try to multiply the yeast cells. Only the solid portion is used since I prefer to mix it into the feed and liquid is therefore less desirable. 125 ml of warm tap water (without chlorine) is mixed with 125 ml milk powder and ½ tsp of baker's yeast, all of which is kept warm (ca. 35°C)on a heating pad. In the past I tried to mix in some sugar also but that was not satisfactory. The yeast cells metabolized the sugar to form alcohol and if too much sugar was added, the resulting alcohol killed the yeast cells and the culture remained liquid.
The above system, especially if paired with feed restriction and avoidance of antibiotics, translates into healthier birds which can be seen to advantage if one uses it in 1 pen while maintaining the other pen the traditional way. One will see better droppings in just a couple of days and healthier, shining birds in a few weeks - and all of that with the cheap, "low tech" method of working with mother Nature rather than against her. Immunity against various pathogens as well as vigor should also increase and this effect should be observable in adults as well as the young.

In conclusion, let me state my position: Although the use of probiotics seems to be an excellent way to keep pigeons healthy in spite of challenges during their stay in common baskets et cetera, they are not very effective at all in treating pigeons already infected by some bacteria. Consequently, I would remove any sick bird from my loft and either destroy it or treat it with the appropriate antibiotic for the full course followed with probiotics and vitamins before returning it to the loft.

An interesting parallel:
Original article can be found at

Don't poo-poo technique: Fecal transplant can cure superbug, doctors say

More than 90 per cent of C. difficile patients are cured by fecal transplants, studies suggest.

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | 10:17 AM MT

A controversial new treatment, which involves the transplantation of human waste, can treat cases of C. difficile infection. But only a handful of physicians in Canada undertake the messy procedure.
Left unchecked, C. difficile bacteria can cause chronic diarrhea, leaving sufferers virtually confined to their bathrooms.(CBC)
Clostridium difficile is a super bug that commonly spreads in hospital settings and has been linked to the deaths of at least 2,000 people in Quebec since 2003, as well as in other provinces.
Though C. difficile can be kept in check by good bacteria in the bowel, problems can arise when the super bug is treated by antibiotics such as vancomycin. The antibiotics sometimes wipe out the good bacteria but fail to completely kill the C. difficile — leaving enough of it that it later flourishes.
"If you wipe out the normal bacteria by taking an antibiotic, then this bug overgrows and it releases a toxin which causes severe diarrhea," Dr. Mike Silverman, an internal medicine specialist from Ajax, Ont., told CBC News.
According to him, the diarrhea can become chronic day after day and month after month. "It's painful, people can't get on with their lives … and if doctors can't keep a patient hydrated and nourished, it can be deadly."
Calgary resident Dorothy Badry battled C. difficile for almost a year in 2004.
"You are going to the bathroom at least 40 times a day. And there is a lot of pain associated with that. Your skin starts to break down and the process is extremely painful."
During that time, Badry could not work and could not care for her disabled daughter. "I basically had to give up everything," she said.

Calgary doctor is one of few doing transplants

Fecal transplants have become the first-line treatment for chronic recurrent C. difficile in Scandinavia. As well, more and more doctors are using it in the United States.
Studies that have been published show that more than 90 per cent of patients are cured through fecal transplants — most of them after just one treatment.
But only a handful of doctors in Canada are willing to undertake the unpleasant procedure which involves taking a healthy person's fecal matter and transplanting it into a person infected with C. difficile.
They cite sanitation reasons for their hesitation.
Calgary physician Dr. Tom Louie, head of infection control at Foothills Hospital, is one of the few physicians in Canada who treats patients with chronic C. difficile with fecal transplants, or fecal therapy. He has done 38 procedures to date.
The procedure involves getting a close relative of the patient, such as a sibling, to donate several days-worth of stool. Louie tests the stool for diseases such as hepatitis and HIV and then mixes it with saline to create liquid feces. He then administers the stool to the patient through a barium enema.
Louie said the technique allows good bacteria from the transplanted stool to reduce the number of C. difficile bacteria in the intestines and to restore normal intestinal function.
He said the process is fairly quick. "It takes me about an hour and I leave it in there overnight. I'm hoping that some of these normal bugs will come and find a home, and when they find a home it will kick out the C. difficile."

'It cured me,' Toronto woman says

Marcia Munro, a Toronto resident, received a fecal transplant from her sister Wendy Sinukoff after suffering from C. difficile for 14 months several years ago.
'This procedure cured me.… I know many people die from C. difficile and I want people to know there is hope when you have this illness.'—Marcia Munro
"I had to collect stool samples for five days prior to our leaving Toronto, and I collected it in an ice cream container and kept it in the fridge," said Sinukoff.
She had to then fly the samples to Calgary so that Louie could transplant it into her sister — a process that involved getting the sample through airport security.
"My biggest fear was that my samples were not allowed to be frozen, so I had to take them as carry-on luggage in the airplane and I was terrified that I was going to be asked to have my luggage searched," she said.
Munro said the transplant was a success.
"It cured me. This procedure cured me and one of reasons I agreed to do this story — because it's difficult to talk about — is I know many people die from C. difficile and I want people to know there is hope when you have this illness."
This page was last up-dated on January 4, 2004

Below are your comments:
Sunday January 4, 2004
Robert Lynch
Tifton, GA, USA
An excellent article on the use of probiotics to help maintain health. It also gave several suggested new methods, i.e., lactose, Bakers yeast, to help improve health without the use of antibiotics.
Wednesday March 3, 2004
Hi, A replacement note concerning probiotics & bakers yeast. Despite Dr. Karl's good instructions I managed to mix a soup as a carry over. Please mix your probiotics seperate to carry over probiotic mixture, do not carry over yeast longer than overnight, then wash container before new batch as it will infect & produce a noxious gas in less than 48 hrs! By carrying over I refer to 2 cups of non chlorinated preferably boiled then cooled water, to this add 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered skim milk, next add probiotics & let stand overnight at room temperature, be sure container is prior sterilized by boiling it or at least adding boiling water, do not add probiotic to water much warmer than room temperature. Each day add 1 cup of this mixture to your seperate bread yeast mix, now add a few tablespoons or so of powdered milk, to this add a gallon of water & give to flock. Now add back 1 cup of boiled cooled non chlorinated water to probiotics & 1/2 cup of powdered milk let stand again repeat process. I have had an improvement of ranging out followed by longer time spent loft flying & a substantial reduction in feed consumption despite it being winter. The reason to carry over is simply economics as probiotics grow in the mixture. You can substitute by simply adding probiotics each (prior day ) to watering & it is a good idea to freshen mix weekly, if it smells like buttermilk your on the correct track, if a bad odour occurs toss it. Yeast mix should smell like fresh bread a bit if not toss it. In hot weather I would give this at feeding alternating with fresh water.
Friday June 10, 2005
ajanaku afolabi
nigeria, ekiti -state
i want you to give me more information thanks.
Sunday November 26, 2006
amjad barlas
rawalpindi, punjab/pakistan
i found it a better way to keep our pigeons healthy here in pakistan because probiotics can help more than antibiotic.
Monday February 5, 2007
Adam M
Maywood, nj
I never knew probiotic could aid in prevention of salmonella and E. Coli. Only that they could be used to combat GI side effects of anti-biotics. Very interesting
Friday June 15, 2007
Dr.Vicky Ganvir
Nagpur, Maharastra
sir, i want information about the "effect of different leval of probiotic feeding in broiler. thanking you
Saturday July 18, 2009
vinaya sree chetla
hyderabad, andhra pradesh
Sir,i need information about usage of saccharomyceis boullardi, and peadicoccus as probiotic in poultry especially their effects on immunity ,carcass qualities,serum levels of cholesterol,proteins.Ur work was really helpfull for me,hope to see much information from u Sir,thank you
Friday September 24, 2010

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