Home > Poultry Medication
Information on common poultry medicines.
The UK has four classifications of veterinary medicine. Prescription Only Medication (POM) can only be supplied with a veterinary prescription:
POM-V – Prescription Only Medicine – Veterinarian.
POM-VPS – Prescription Only Medicine – Veterinarian, Pharmacist, or Suitably Qualified Person (SQP)
NFA-VPS – Non-Food Animal – Veterinarian, Pharmacist, Suitably Qualified Person (SQP)
AVM-GSL – Authorised Veterinary Medicine – General Sales List.
You can also check the category in the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s Product Information Database.
We all hope our birds will never become ill, but even with good biosecurity and the best care, occasionally we may end up needing medicine for our poultry, some of which can only be prescribed by a vet.
It might be that we need to use a wormer after receiving a positive test result from a faecal worm egg count kit, or something more serious like Mycoplasma Gallisepticum that requires diagnosis and antibiotics from a poultry vet.
Whatever it is, it’s useful to know about some of the more common poultry medication used, especially considering the lack of veterinary knowledge when it comes to poultry and waterfowl.
Out of all the poultry and waterfowl kept in backyards, gardens and smallholding, chickens are the most prone to picking up health problems, followed by turkeys. Waterfowl are more resilient, although this should not be used as an excuse for lower standards of welfare.
Preventing is always easier than curing problems, so if you’re looking for poultry medication and a cure to a problem, I would also encourage you to look back and try to understand how the problem occurred in the first place and what steps you can take to prevent it happening in future.
Here are some suggestions:
Quarantine new birds for at least two weeks (preferably three) to look for signs of problems.
I learned my lesson the hard way. Some years ago, a family friend had one chicken left and asked if I could take it into my flock. It seemed well, but after a few weeks, it was clear that it had a respiratory disease. Two months later, I had lost twenty birds and had to disinfect and start my entire flock again to prevent further disease transmission.
It was heartbreaking, as well as a costly lesson.
Without a doubt, the higher your stocking density is, the more health problems you are likely to see with your birds. For example, if you keep chickens in a small run, it soon turns to mud and becomes a perfect environment during warm, wet weather for parasitic worms.
My approach over the last decade has become more holistic. Birds that can free range will often self-medicate, and there are several health products I will use, such as Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic, Verm-X, and Diatomaceous Earth.
I also check for worms using a worm egg count kit instead of routinely worming with Flubenvet, so I can be sure my approach is working, and so far, it seems to be.
I have included some articles on these natural products for good health below, so you can make your own decision about whether to use them. I have certainly seen a positive difference in the health of my flock and had fewer problems since taking a more holistic approach with my birds.
I also encourage you to give your chickens some free-range time, even if it’s only letting them out of their run for a few hours during the afternoon. This will help them to find anything that’s missing in their diet and stay healthy.
Prevention is better than cure, so we can keep our birds healthy and avoid many poultry diseases with good biosecurity and care. I believe natural products can help build up the immune system and improve overall health, which is half of the battle to avoid disease in the first place!
We should approach health claims with care. For example, you may avoid using a chemical wormer, but a worm count kit can confirm your holistic approach is working.
I have been giving Apple Cider Vinegar to my chickens for many years, and combined with good husbandry, I have seen a positive difference in my flock’s health.
In European countries where they consume large amounts of garlic in their diets, they have a lower risk of cancer and are less likely to suffer from heart disease, but what about garlic for chickens?
Jeremy Hobson, the author of Success With Chickens, tries to uncover the truth behind some long-held chicken health myths and potions used as natural remedies.
If you would like a good reference book on poultry health, that’s aimed at backyard poultry, then these are the books I would recommend.
In this article, you will learn about the purposes of the two different types of poultry grit and how you can feed these together as
How good is Verm-X for chickens? Verm-X comes in a liquid or pelleted formulation and I tried it out over 6 months, but how can you be sure it’s working?
Guide to using diatomaceous earth for chickens: parasite prevention, benefits as a feed supplement for health & better eggs, worming & tips for safe use.
If you don’t want to use a wormer indiscriminately or need reassurance that a herbal product is working, then a Worm Egg Count Kit could be the answer!