Poultry farming is a popular and profitable business throughout the world, yet various drugs are used in the feed to promote growth and to prevent disease. Consumption of these products can affect humans, misbalancing hormone levels (especially testosterone levels in women) and creating antibiotic resistance. Traditional farming methods did not require the use of such supplements as the chickens were provided with proper nutrients from their surroundings.
When chickens are found to have pollen in their diet from natural sources, their eggs are more vibrant, the skin of the egg becomes tougher, and the chickens have a higher level of immunity to disease. Currently, chickens found in man-made, artificial conditions are found to have lower levels of immunity. This is due to a poor diet, thus requiring supplementation.
When bee pollen is fed to chickens, they receive an array of vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, fulfilling their nutritional needs.
Adding propolis to the pollen-feed provides resistance to infection, preventing the need for certain antibiotics.
Four different poultry groups were tested with different feeds and the results were observed. One group was supplemented with bee products, one group was given conventional chicken antibiotics, one group was given no supplements (control), and the last group foraged for their own food, consuming mostly insects.
The group that consumed the bee products was found to have a greater weight and a higher rate of survival. This is a potential option for organic chicken farmers, with possibilities for fish as well. The only concern is the cost of the bee products, which are expensive when compared to conventional antibiotics and other supplements. The consumer will pay less when buying the cheaper poultry rather than the ones supplemented with bee products, but consuming this meat can create many more negative side effects, costing much more in the long term.
Source: Apimondia Apimedica-Apiquality International Forum