Medicating chickens

While its not standard practice here on the farm to medicate our chickens, we realize that when you invest in a rare breed that gets sick, you want to do everything to save them.  The following should not be taken as specific medical advice.  You should always seek the opinion of a Veterinarian before treating your animals.  Remember that most drugs have withdrawal times for eggs and meat.


I'm writing this blog post primarily for those who have purchased chicks or pullets from me, and need dose references for common medications.  Most of these are available at your local farm store.  If not, I recommend you order from an online source to have them on hand before you need them.

***Drug doses are at the bottom of the page.  Scroll down if you just need that information, and skip the "whys", for the "hows". ****


Corid (Amprolium)

This treats Coccidia, a single celled organism that inhabits the GI tract.  This parasite was the reason chickens couldn't be reared in large numbers, and closely confined, for years.  In the advent of medications treating this disease causing agent, factory farming has flourished.  

Most American breeds have had years to develop a natural resistance to Coccidia. Unless stressed, they handle the natural rates of exposure well, and under normal growing conditions, they do not require treatment.  The rare breeds we keep are not nearly as fortunate.  When we grow out birds, we lose a certain percentage shortly after they move outside.  We could medicate.  We could put them on sterilized bedding.  But we choose to only keep those birds that have aquire and fought the infection naturally.  It is an expensive price to pay, but it is what we've chosen to do.

When you purchase day old chicks, they handle the shipping stress very well.  They are a clean slate.  I find no reason to treat this popularion, unless your coop is populated with older birds and stays relatively moist.  

Customers who purchase started pullets or Point-of-Lay Hens should consider giving a round of Corid upon arrival.  Re-homing birds who are more aware of their surroundings is much more stressful.  While they usually do well, this would be one instance where the preventative may be worth it.  You have a lot invested in those pullets, and we don't want them to stumble.  

****For more about care of the started chicks and Point-of-Lay Hens, look for our next blog post. ****


LA-200 (Oxytetracycline)

This antibiotic can be used for upper respiratory issues as well as joint issues.  If the organism causing trouble is Mycoplasma, (Gallisepticum or Synovae), Oxytet could help.  This drug is given parenterally  (injected), or orally in drinking water.  



This would be a superior choice for treating Mycoplasma infections.  This is given orally in drinking water.  It is available by prescripion in most states.  An exotics Vet or small animal Vet willing to see chickens should have this on hand.  



This is an antibiotic that should NEVER be used in poultry.  The issue is not about toxicity or effectiveness.  The reason it has been banned from use is because of the human health implications.  This antibiotic is a Flouroquinolone.  This class of drugs has been known to spawn resistance in the bacteria Campylobacter, which chickens cab carry without symptoms of being ill.  The resistant Campylobacter can then infect humans, causing life threatening illness.  As part of the agricultural community, we have to think about the broader picture sometimes.   



While this is a pesticide, not strictly a medication, it should be mentioned here.  Chickens who come in contact with the outside world get lice.  They will groom them off, and a healthy immune system keeps them from becoming infested.  A stressed bird can become over run and unable to fight the parasite.   I recommend using Frontline, though it is off label for chickens.  Sneak into the coop at night while they are roosting, and apply a few drops to each bird.  Just one drop at the back of the neck, base of the tail near the cloaca, and under each wing should treat the problem.  Unfortunately,  there is no information about how this effects eggs (likely might get on them topically), so use your own judgement if you provide eggs to the public.  Sometimes it is better to just cull the weak hen, than to treat the flock.



powder (20%)-  3/4 tsp per gallon.  Can be doubled in the face of sever infection.  Make fresh daily.

Liquid (9.6%)- 1 tsp (5ml) per gallon.  Can be doubled in the face of sever infection.  Make fresh daily.  



200mg/ml-  0.1ml per pound of body weight, given by injection into the muscle, repeat every 3 to 5 days.  

For drinking water-  1 tsp per gallon of drinking water, made fresh every 12 to 24 hours. 



powder form-  1 tsp per gallon of drinking water. 


Corid can be combined with one of the antibiotics if needed. 


Remember to check egg withdrawal times.   




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