An antibiotic is a drug that kills or slows the growth of bacteria. (Drugs that kill bacteria are referred to as bacteriocidal; those that slow the growth of bacteria are referred to as bacteriostatic.) Antibiotics are chemicals produced by microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi. Concerns over the development of antibiotic resistance in human medicine have led to the development of new regulations controlling the use of antibiotics in animal feed.  Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) drugs are medically important antibiotics whose use is regulated. New guidelines for these drugs become effective on January 1, 2017. Some of these drugs have been used in poultry medicine.

How will these changes affect small-scale poultry producers? After the end of 2016, a veterinarian prescription will be required to get medicated feed as well as purchase what were over-the-counter drugs. Over-the-counter drugs that were previously available online or in feed stores will no longer be available without a VFD. The VFD must be issued by a licensed veterinarian and there must be a veterinarian-client relationship. Small-scale poultry producers need to develop a relationship with a veterinarian so if their birds get sick they can obtain the needed drugs.

Major classes of antibiotics

There are many different kinds of antibiotics, and they destroy bacteria in different ways. The antibiotics within a class generally have similar effectiveness and mechanisms of action and resistance and they tend to attack the same types of bacteria. Some antibiotics, referred to as broad-spectrum antibiotics, treat a wide range of infections. Others, called narrow-spectrum antibiotics, are effective against only a few types of bacteria. Although antibiotics are sometimes used in conventional animal feeds, some of the antibiotics discussed below can be used only under the supervision of a veterinarian.

  • Aminoglycosides (e.g., gentamycin, neomycin, spectinomycin, and streptomycin)
  • Bambermycins (e.g., bambermycin, flavophospholipol)
  • Beta-Lactams
  • Penicillins (e.g., penicillin and amoxicillin)
  • Cephalosporins (e.g., cefotaxime)Glycopeptides (e.g., vancomycin—not approved for animal use)
  • Ionophores (e.g.,  monensin)
  • Lincosamides (e.g., lincomycin)
  • Macrolides (e.g., erythromycin, tylosin)
  • Polypeptides (e.g., bacitracin)
  • Quinolones (e.g., fluoroquinolones)
  • Streptogramins (e.g., virginiamycin)
  • Sulfonamides (e.g., sulfa drugs)
  • Tetracyclines (e.g., chlortetracycline and oxytetracycline)

Features of Broad Spectrum Antibiotics For Chickens

  • E.coli (Enteritis)
    • E. coli is normally present in the birds and the disease can be triggered by numerous events. For instance, an E. coli infection may appear if your chickens do not have regular access to feed or if their bedding is too wet or if they are exposed to another disease. Generally, anything that causes stress in the bird may provide E. coli with the opening it needs.
    • Chickens will appear unthrifty and have ruffled feathers
    • Chickens may also be depressed
    • Decreased appetite
    • During the acute phase of disease you may also notice yellowish colored droppings and your chickens may be soiled in the vent region
  • Mycoplasma (Chronic Respiratory Disease)
    • Eye problems – donut” shaped swelling around the eye, pussy eye discharge, sticky eyelids, pasted eyelids
    • Inflammation around the face and cere (the waxy, fleshy covering at the base of the upper beak)
    • Open mouth breathing and gurgling throat sounds
    • Coughing, sneezing
    • A marked reduction in egg laying
  • Chlamydia (Psittacosis)
    • Symptomatic birds often become lethargic, show breathing difficulty, present eye infections and inflammation, and have runny, watery droppings
    • CALL A VETERINARIAN if you suspect your chickens have Chlamyidia as it is HIGHLY INFECTUOUS to humans.


  • Treatment of bacterial infections in chickens including E.coli (Enteritis), Mycoplasma (Chronic Respiratory Disease) and Chlamydia (Psittacosis)
  • Effective when administered in both food & water
  • Ideal “first line” antibiotic where a definite diagnosis is not available

Prices of Broad Spectrum Antibiotics For Chickens

 $18.91 – $44.95

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!