I came across Happy Tummy at the National Poultry Show 2010 where I met Dr. Keith Foster, a retired Scientist who used to work with fullerenes (any molecule composed entirely of carbon). With his knowledge of carbon, he developed Happy Tummy, a feed additive for animals such as horses, cats, dogs and hens.
Happy Tummy is produced from a natural hard wood charcoal that is highly beneficial to chickens and other animals. Classed as a feed additive (not a medicine), it adds nothing to the body since charcoal is neither absorbed nor metabolized, so it performs no medicinal function. Charcoal simply captures a wide range of toxins (there are over 4000 known) by adsorbing them (To adsorb is a process in which a substance attracts particles and binds them to the surface) and carrying them out of the animal's system in the normal way. Just one teaspoonful of charcoal has a surface area of greater than 10,000 square feet which is why charcoal can adsorb such large amounts of poisons effectively.
There are numerous uses for activated charcoal and the use of charcoal in medicine is already well documented. It is mainly used by doctors to adsorb poisons in the body (in attempted suicide for example) and vets use it in cats (if they ingest rat poison for example) and in dogs (if they eat chocolate which contains theobromine and is poisonous to dogs). Charcoal is also well known for removing excessive gas in the digestive tract to reduce discomfort.
The type of charcoal used in Happy Tummy is known as 'Activated Charcoal', which is a naturally produced carbon that has no carcinogenic properties. It is a tasteless powder (yes, I tried it.... and according to Dr. Foster, many other people have done the same which is why Happy Tummy is now available for humans in easy to swallow vegetable capsules!) and the hens seem to instinctively know it is good for them and will eat it when mixed with their normal feed.
So what are the benefits of using Happy Tummy with Chickens?
Happy Tummy adsorbs ammonia which (as many chicken keepers and books will tell you) is the reason for needing good ventilation in the chicken coop at night.
It is very difficult to test a feed additive without veterinary and laboratory analysis, however I was certainly able to see my birds thriving and in good health when adding Happy Tummy to their diet. I could see a marked improvement in their droppings that were certainly much drier.
A crude test for ammonia is to put your head into the coop first thing in the morning before letting the hens out when you can usually get a whiff of ammonia. For me, this was a Saturday morning before the weekly clean and I couldn't smell ammonia at all after using Happy Tummy.
I use pellets to feed my chickens and I found Happy Tummy would drop through these to the bottom of the feeder so I did mix it with a little Cod Liver Oil before mixing it with the pellets. This way it stuck to the pellets and was more evenly distributed.
I would certainly recommend you try Happy Tummy to see for yourself how valuable it can be.