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Feeding medicated chicken feeds
Poultry feeds are available with several types of medications for preventing or treating diseases. Coccidiostats and/or antibiotics are the two most common medications added to feeds.
Coccidiosis is hard to control by sanitation practices alone. It is best prevented by feeding a coccidiostat, which is a drug added to feed at low levels and fed continuously to prevent coccidiosis. Feed broilers a ration containing a coccidiostat until the last week before slaughtering. Feed an unmedicated feed during this last week.
Mature chickens develop a resistance to coccidiosis if allowed to contract a mild infection of the disease. Birds raised for placement in the laying flocks are fed a coccidiostat feed until about 16 weeks of age. The medicated feed is then replaced with a nonmedicated feed. Spotty outbreaks of the disease can be controlled by treating in the water with an appropriate coccidiostat. Examples of coccidiostats added to the ration include Monensin sodium, Lasalocid, Amprolium, and Salinomycin.
Antibiotics may also be added to some poultry feeds. Antibiotics aid broiler performance and maintain healthy birds. They are usually added at low (prophylactic) levels to prevent minor diseases and produce faster, more efficient growth. Higher (therapeutic) levels are usually given in water or injected into the bird. Examples of antibiotics fed in the feed are Penicillin, Bacitracin, Chlortetracycline, and Oxytetracycline.
Follow the recommended medication withdrawal periods before eating meat or eggs from the treated birds. Follow all warning instructions listed on the feed label.
By the Mississipi State University Extension