Antibiotic Overuse/Resistance

Matilda Belle

Crowing
May 16, 2018
2,007
3,019
346
SE Minnesota
My Coop
My Coop
1. Is it necessary to treat your flock with antibiotics every time there are respiratory issues (sneezing, discharge, bubbly eyes)?

2. If you answered "no" to question 1, how do you decide whether it is necessary to treat with antibiotics? What do you recommend as alternative treatment?

3. What is the maximum frequency antibiotics should be used (yearly) in order to prevent resistance?
 

BantyChooks

Pullarius
Project Manager
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Aug 1, 2015
59,080
210,363
1,737
My Coop
My Coop
1. Is it necessary to treat your flock with antibiotics every time there are respiratory issues (sneezing, discharge, bubbly eyes)?

2. If you answered "no" to question 1, how do you decide whether it is necessary to treat with antibiotics? What do you recommend as alternative treatment?

3. What is the maximum frequency antibiotics should be used (yearly) in order to prevent resistance?
I rarely use antibiotics. I used them once on a duck with a bad case of bumblefoot, but that's because they're pets and won't be bred or eaten.

My flock is the carrier of a respiratory disease, I suspect MG. It's mostly a very mild form that occurs only in young or new birds for a short period of time before resolving itself. I manage it by breeding only the healthiest birds and culling all that are sicker than they should be. Due to the nature of mycoplasma, I believe it is quite possible to manage or even eliminate it through breeding alone. I haven't and won't cull my whole flock because I am certain any new birds would catch it again within months. It's extremely common in my area. I don't use any treatments because I am not interested in symptom suppression, I am interested in a flock with health built from the ground up.
 
Last edited:

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
60,198
52,259
1,322
southern Ohio
Knowing what respiratory disease through testing sick birds is best. Several diseases are caused by viruses, such as infectious bronchitis, and antibiotics will not treat or prevent them. MG and coryza are caused by bacteria or mycoplasma, a bacteria-like organism, and may respond to certain antibiotics. Giving the right one for each disease is best. Fungal diseases are difficult to treat, and do not repond to AB’s.

If I had to constantly treat sick birds with antibiotics, I would consider culling sick birds. The only antibiotic approved for chickens is Tylan (tylosin) which may be found sometimes as injectable in feed stores, and the powder used in the water from a vet, and from some pigeon suppliers online. Other antibiotics are used off label, and vets are not allowed to prescribe enrofloxacin (Baytril.) Some will prescribe it quietly for pet birds occasionally. We have several vet members on BYC who are very vocally against that. There are ways to purchase antibiotics online for fish or pigeons, but those should not routinely be used if at all. I would first identify what is wrong, and try to treat without antibiotics first.

Usually culling birds with chronic infections that may spread to the rest of the flock, is good practice, but it can be hard to convince a young teen or any other to kill their pet. It is a personal issue, another hotbed issue here, but it can be sad when someone tries to keep a sick bird alive when they are suffering. Years ago when people ate their own chickens for Sunday dinner, people just weeded out sick chickens that way.
 

townchicks

Free Ranging
Dec 1, 2016
1,999
6,516
676
Contra Costa county, Ca.
3. What is the maximum frequency antibiotics should be used (yearly) in order to prevent resistance?
It is not the frequency of use, but the misuse, that causes resistance. Vets run cultures to find out what type of bacteria they are treating, and sensitivity tests (run in conjunction with cultures) tell them which antibiotic that particular bacteria is suseptable to. Just throwing any antibiotic at an unknown bacteria, can cause resistance, because it exposes the bacteria to an antibiotic that may not kill it. Sort like a vaccine. The other way resistance is built, is by not giving the full course of antibiotic, thus leaving some bacteria still alive, but exposed to that antibiotic. That is why vets recommend follow up cultures, to be sure all the bacteria are gone. Just because symptoms go away, does not mean all the bacteria have.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom