Poultry Medications: Routes Of Administration Of Poultry Drugs


Vaccination and drug administration are parts of the poultry medications. Vaccines are applied to chickens to build their immune system against an impending disease. One of the best ways to control poultry disease is through vaccination. In poultry production, either: broiler production, turkey or layers production; vaccination program should be included in the chicken medicine chart.

Vaccines are different from drugs; vaccines are used for prevention while drugs are used for treatment. Vaccination is periodic; drug can be administered at any particular time, provided the chicken is unhealthy.

Vaccines are commonly administered when the chickens are healthy; it is to complement and build resistance against any deleterious diseases that may want to distort the healthy living of the bird in the future. Once your chicken shows symptoms of diseases; apply drug and not vaccines.

Poultry medications are timely operations. Various material or substances to improve the health status of your chicken must be included in your poultry medicine list; part of the materials is a vaccination schedule. A vaccination schedule is a program that clearly states when and how a vaccine is to be administered.

A farmer is always advised to strictly follow the vaccination schedule to ensure the chickens benefit from the vaccines when due. Failure to administer a vaccine when due, may prone the animal to future breakdown on a particular disease.

The use of drug and vaccine as part of medications in poultry production require adequate care and attention. As humans, we can be treated in various ways: drugs, injection, etc. This also applies to livestock. There are means of drug and vaccine administration; it is called ROUTE OF ADMINISTRATION.

This clearly states how a drug or vaccine should be administered to ensure its efficiency. The route of administration is normally demoted with abbreviations on the label of the drug. These abbreviations are:

  • I/V: This means INTRAVENOUS, it means the drug must be given to the animal through the vein. It is used for early or acute emergence of an infection or disease.
  • I/M: This means INTRAMUSCULAR, it means the drug or vaccine must be given to the animal through the muscle. This is common in all livestock.
  • S/C: This means SUBCUTANEOUS, it means the drug must be given to the animal through the skin. It is common in poultry and farm animal too. The example is the Fowl pox vaccine for chicks.
  • TOPICAL: This means the drug must be applied through rubbing on the skin of the animal. It is common in farm animal to treat skin infection.
  • ORAL: This means the drugs must be given to the animal through drinking water or mixing with feed. This is the most common route in poultry production.
  • LA: This means LONG-ACTING; it means the drugs will stay longer in the animal system.


A good livestock farmer must always look out for this instruction before the use of the drug or starting the process of vaccination on any livestock. These codes are usually embedded by the manufacturer of the vaccine or drug to aid the medications.

Also, very important is human safety in the consumption of livestock. Poultry medications have certain rules and regulations. Every vaccine or drug meant for chickens has withdrawal periods.

The withdrawal period is the period when these chickens are unproductive; they are unproductive not because they do not produce but because their by-product: egg and meat; cannot be consumed during these medications.

It is believed that by-products of livestock (egg, milk, meat) during this withdrawal period are contaminated and should be eaten by humans during or after medications. They are more or less like wastes coming out of the chickens.

The withdrawal period of a vaccine is about 3 weeks; this implies that, within the three weeks of medication, the by-products of the chickens should not be consumed but discarded. Withdrawal period for vaccination and deworming should be strictly followed to avoid health issues.

Drugs administered to chicken usually have residue in the chickens within the withdrawal period. Consuming chicken or its products while on drug or other medications is highly detrimental to human health. Most of the baleful diseases affecting humans today are as a result of indiscriminate consumption of animals and its byproduct at any period.

Organic chicken production is the only viable solution to indiscriminate consumption of chickens and their by-product. In organic poultry production, your poultry medicine book should contain herbs and other natural materials that have been proven to be very effective at keeping chicken healthy always.

Medically, it is advisable to eat organic food as it is more tasty and free from health-threatening residues. Aside from its health benefit, organic poultry production is cheaper and its products control good market price.

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