Probiotics have been used in poultry for decades and have become common in the pet bird industry. Desirable characteristics of probiotic organisms are that they are nonpathogenic, have the ability to adhere to intestinal epithelial cells, have the ability to colonize and reproduce in the host, have the ability to be host-specific, survive transit through the gastrointestinal tract and exposure to stomach acid and bile, produce metabolites that inhibit or kill pathogenic bacteria, modulate gastrointestinal immune responses, and survive processing and storage. Purported benefits in birds are disease prevention and promotion of growth. Recommendations for use in avian species are for periodic use to replenish normal flora, use after antibiotic therapy to reestablish normal flora, and use during periods of stress to counter effects of immunosuppression.
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