Antibiotic Overuse in Our Farm Animals - important story


12 Years
Jan 2, 2008
western mass
This is the link to the second in Nick Kristof's excellent series in the NYT on the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogens - in us humans - aand its relationship to how we treat our livestock.

Please, let's all think twice before urging each other, as so many of us do, to dump some antibiotics in the water or feed just because a bird has a runny nose.

This is genuinely urgent business. Please do read. Here's the link.



12 Years
Jan 2, 2008
western mass
Thanks, Speckled Hen. I regard you as the voice of wisdom anyway. I have never given antibiotics to a bird, ever. And I never would as a "preventative." How do we get others to talk about this?



11 Years
Apr 9, 2008
Minneapolis, MN
My Coop
My Coop
I saw this article yesterday, linked from Ethicurean. MRSA is NOT something to be toyed with.

I forward links to these types of articles to my family and friends. Who knows, maybe they curse me behind my back. Whatever, they can always just delete it. I think that the vast majority of us don't have ANY clue about our food supply. After a scary onset of allergies a few years ago, I spent a fair amount of time researching "industrial" food and was horrified at what I learned. It had a lot to do with the acquisition of my own laying hens.

Thanks for sharing!


11 Years
Aug 17, 2008
New England
We should also remember that antibiotics don't cure a viral infection. They have to run their course. My daughter woke up one Saturday with a fever and headache. The little girl who sits beside her at school also came down with a fever. Her mother ran her to the doctor and found out it was the flu. She was given an antiviral so she would be able to return to school the next Tuesday. My daughter was able to tolerate the headache without tylenol, ibuprophen, or anything else. I pushed fluids and she went back to school on Tuesday but the other little girl did not. The body is an amazing thing. It was built to attack intruders and does it quite well most of the time without any help.

So long story short, I agree. When we give antibiotics willy nilly we just set ourselves us for problems later. I won't even use antibacterial soaps in my home for the same reasons. All it does is wash away the good bacteria leaving an opening for the bad. Okay, off my second soap box of the day.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
Kansas~50+ yrs of chickens
I've never in all the years I've had chickens given antibiotics to any of them.

We only use antibiotics with our cattle when it's absolutely necessary.

I agree they're over prescribed and overused in both humans and animals.


Free Ranging
14 Years
Feb 14, 2008
This world is not my home.
That goes double for taking ATBs for any runny nose, cough and sniffle we may get. Why do the docs prescribe an antibiotic for these symptoms? Wanna know the truth? Placebo.

They get seriously courted by the drug representatives with treats, vacations and cash to promote a particular drug...usually antibiotics. They know that most colds are viral and will run their course in 2-3 wks, but symptoms are usually subsiding around day 10-14. Antibiotics usually are prescribed for 10 days. They aren't doing any good but they appear to be doing so, as your cold symptoms slowly dissipate anyway from your own body's defenses.

This is why most people feel it was the antibiotic that "cured" them of their cold. Timing...simply timing.

I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV......
Nah! I've worked with them for 16 years and this info came straight from the horse's mouth!

Autumn Mama

10 Years
Mar 15, 2009
British Columbia,
Thanks for posting that.

I don't want to hijack the thread, though this raises a question for me:

Should a newbie (myself) use a medicated starter feed for chicks?

I keep hearing how they will all die if I don't, and yet, many organic hens never receive medicated feed.

I opted for a natural, locally made, non-medicated feed for my 12 new chicks. Am I making a mistake? They arrive on Tuesday...


10 Years
Mar 1, 2009
outside Dallas
As far as medicated feed, I don't use it. I am sensitive to many drugs/additives and I figure that whatever goes into my chickens goes into me. If you keep your chicks nice and clean (NOT sterile), you shouldn't need medication in their feed. The biggest reason for medicated feed is coccidia. Keep them clean, change litter daily, keep it nice and dry. Their own little immune systems will pitch in and take care of the parasite issue. The immune systen is almost like a muscle, use it or lose it. I have proof living in my own home about excessive medicating. My children were allowed to grow up naturally on a little farm, they nibbled grass and flowers, played in the dirt, etc - they are and always have been exceptionally healthy. I, on the other hand, was raised to get antibiotics for every last sniffle, headache, whatever. I now suffer from autoimmune issues. Since moving away from all of the excessive medications, I have been healthier, happier and just feel better (except for occasional bouts with whatever it is I must deal with now.)
Keep your chicks/chickens clean and throw away the medicated feed.
Good wishes to you for a long, healthy life.

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