Are you planning to feed your chickens with yogurt? Or are you simply wondering if yogurt is good for chickens?
Well, chickens can have yogurt though it is a controversial topic.
I’ve occasionally fed my chickens yogurt, usually mixed with chicken scratch, veggies, oats, or fruit. Happy to say that they love devouring each piece of yogurt-soaked grain or blueberry.
As with any animal that relies on us for feed, especially during winter, providing a well-balanced diet is important to happy, healthy birds.
Therefore, yogurt is often added as a treat rather than a regular chicken menu item.
Learn whether you can feed yogurt to your chicken and the effects of this dairy product on your flock.
Can Chickens Have Yogurt?
Most people love a cup of yogurt, and it’s a good source of probiotics. But is it the same thing for chickens?
It’s safe to say that yogurt offers health benefits to your chickens because of its probiotics and other nutrients like vitamin D.
However, know that yogurt is a fermented milk product, and chickens are quite lactose-intolerant. Still, this shouldn’t be a reason not to give them yogurt.
With the proper amounts, your chickens can enjoy this treat and nutritionally benefit from it without you having to worry every time.
Why is Yogurt Good For Chickens: Nutritional Benefits
Most chicken keepers will tell you they add a dollop of yogurt to their chicken treat list due to the protein, calcium, nutrients, and fats.
Let’s take a closer look at each nutrient and how they affect your flock:
Within the chicken’s body, proteins are responsible for developing muscles, sturdy legs, picture-worthy plumage, and beaks.
As with humans, healthy fats are sought after to help absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K.
In most commercially designed chicken feeds, these vitamins are added to make the feed more palatable for our feathery friends.
Owning chicken’s number one rule is to ensure your flock receives the proper amount of calcium, which plays a vital role in proper egg development and carcass growth.
Good Bacteria and Probiotics
Healthy gut bacteria ensure your flock continues to lay, produce feathers, and encourages proper exercise.
A sick chicken may benefit from the probiotic boost!
In small amounts, we see nutrients such as phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, and potassium in yogurt.
While these components exist in yogurt, it is important to consider what is bioavailable to your chicken and decide whether or not it is worth providing to your flock.
Bioavailability of Yogurt for Chickens
Akin to the realization a chicken does not register hot from their taste buds, the discovery that we vary from chickens in the absorption of nutrients and components within the body is equally important.
Interestingly, chickens do not possess the necessary enzymes to hydrolyze lactose into glucose and galactose.
However, a study published in the Pakistan Journal Of Biological Sciences concluded that adding kefir and yogurt to the water of broiler chickens did increase carcass size and growth rates in broiler chickens.
This study was conducted by feeding a basal diet (as a control) formulated by the National Research Council recommendations with yogurt and kefir as supplementary additives to the water.
So, while the chickens may not be converting lactose into useable energy, could it have other beneficial effects on the body?
Studies are being conducted, as per usual, to generate a solution for large-scale farming. Still, the findings could benefit your backyard flock.
The protein and calcium levels in yogurt may be lower than those in the grass and commercial feeds.
It stands to reason that if you are keeping chickens where snow covers the ground a good portion of the year, a small amount of yogurt won’t hurt your flock.
Type of Yogurt Chickens Can Eat
As mentioned, chickens can have yogurt, which is beneficial if given in moderate amounts.
However, you may be asking, “What type of yogurt can you feed your chickens?”
You’ve probably checked in the supermarket and seen a variety of yogurts. And you’re wondering which one you should give to your chicken.
Well, plain yogurt is the best type to give to your chickens. The most recommended variety is plain Greek yogurt.
This is because Greek yogurt is strained and doesn’t contain whey. They don’t have as much lactose as other plain yogurts and are packed with nutrients.
You may be tempted to give homemade yogurt or flavored ones to your flock as well.
As much as you want to, it’s advised to keep these from your chickens since it causes diarrhea and poor gut health.
And if ever you have spoiled yogurt and thought about giving it to your chickens instead, think again.
A rotten yogurt contains harmful ingredients that will not only negatively affect your chicken’s health but may also become fatal for them.
Here are some of the healthiest brands of yogurt that you can give to your chickens:
- Dannon All-Natural Plain Greek Yogurt
- Chobani Plain Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
- Fage Total Plain Greek Yogurt
How to Feed Yogurt to Your Chickens
Chickens will love it if there is a variety in their meals. Adding yogurt to their menu can definitely do the trick!
If you plan to feed your chickens plain yogurt, you can place a small amount into a clean, shallow, heavy bowl. Your chickens will peck at it, so expect messy yogurt splatters everywhere.
If this is not the ideal scenario for you, there are other ways to prepare a yogurt treat.
You can put yogurt in a mold or ice cube tray and freeze it overnight. You can then toss these frozen treats to your chickens.
Some chicken owners go a little extra and dip berries and fruits into yogurt before giving them to the flock. That way, your birds will get a double treat and will love you for it!
FAQs On Feeding Chickens Yogurt
How much yogurt can I give my chickens? How much is too much of a good thing?
As previously stated, for backyard chicken keepers, a small amount of yogurt at random intervals should be fine for your flock.
A ¾ cup per serving would be sufficient, depending on the number of birds.
Chickens’ digestive systems struggle to use the lactic acid that yogurt contains. Therefore, in excess, yogurt could cause diarrhea or compacted crop issues.
What kind of yogurt can chickens eat?
Chickens will devour most of what is put in front of them, regardless of the benefit or, in the worst cases, as a detriment to themselves.
As enticing as it may be to provide your flock with your favorite flavored yogurts, it is not advised to do so.
Flavored yogurt contains added sugars, artificial flavors, and syrups that chickens can not digest and could cause illness.
Does yogurt fight bad bacteria like salmonella?
Probiotics are known to populate the GI tract with good bacteria, preventing bad bacteria from taking hold.
Bad bacteria include salmonella, escherichia coli, and clostridium.
Can you use yogurt to flush a chicken’s crop?
Some chicken owners use both yogurt and apple cider vinegar to manage a case of the sour crop.
However, probiotics are a better option. When it comes to an impacted crop, you can use water and the olive oil only.
Still, it’s best to consult your vet whenever these situations occur in your flock before administering any of these home remedies.
Will chickens lay better eggs after eating yogurt?
No scientific evidence shows that adding yogurt to their diet can result in better eggs.
Still, it could be a good source of calcium, but it’s not ideal for overfeeding them with it.
Many factors contribute to egg production in chickens, making it difficult to pinpoint the direct effect of yogurt on their diet.
Can Chickens Have Yogurt: Conclusion
In conclusion, as for most things in the farming world, there is no hard-fast rule when feeding your chickens yogurt.
Many will argue that it is an ineffective food source and not all that economically friendly for little benefit.
If fed as a treat, most flocks will happily gobble up the added treat (especially frozen in summer months!) without issue.
However, more research should be conducted if you intend to provide above and beyond the occasional treat.
Either way, it’s important to feed yogurt to chickens in moderation. And if you have doubts about its effects, you can always consult a vet before giving one.