Chicken diseases and their best drugs

Chicken diseases and their best drugs

Written by: Dr. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky

NOTE Drugs may not be used in organic poultry production. However, organic producers may notwithhold medical treatment from a sick animal in an effort to preserve its organic status. All appropriate medications must be used to restore an animal to health when methods acceptable to organic production fail. Livestock treated with a prohibited substance must be clearly identified and shall not be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced.

There are many different types of drugs available that can be added to poultry feed to prevent and treat illnesses and parasites.


Antibiotics acceptable for use in conventional poultry production include the following:

  • Bacitracin (e.g., BMD, Pennitracin MD, Albac)
  • Chlortetracycline (e.g., Chloratet, Aureomycin)
  • Lincomycin (e.g., Lincomx)
  • Oxytetracycline (e.g., Terramycin)
  • Penicillin
  • Tylosin (e.g., Tylan)
  • Virginiamycin (e.g., Stafac, V-Max)
  • Ionophores

For more information about antibiotics, refer to the article “Antibiotics Approved for Use in Conventional Poultry Production.”


Coccidiosis is a common parasitic disease of poultry. It is the result of an infestation of coccidia in the intestines. A number of different drugs, called coccidiostats, are available for use in conventional diets to control coccidiosis in poultry.

Coccidiostats that can be used in conventional poultry production include the following:

  • Amprolium (e.g., Amprol, Corid)
  • Bambermycin (e.g., Flavomycin, GAINPRO)
  • Decoquinate (e.g., Deccox)
  • Diclazuril (e.g., Clinacox)
  • Halofuginone hydrobromide (e.g., Stenorol)
  • Lasalocid (e.g., Avatec)
  • Monensin (e.g., Coban)
  • Narasin (e.g., Monteban)
  • Nicarbazin (e.g., Nicarb 25%)
  • Salinomycin (e.g., Bio-Cox, Sacox)
  • Semduramicin (e.g., Aviax)
  • Sulfadimethoxine and ormetoprim 5:3 (e.g., Rofenaid)

For more information about coccidiostats, refer to the article “Use of Anticoccidial Medications and Vaccines in Poultry Production.”

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Medications for Controlling Intestinal Worms

There are several types of parasitic worm that can infest poultry, including roundworm, tapeworm, cecal worms, and capillary worms. There are only a few products that can be added to conventional poultry feed to control internal parasites. No products are approved for use with egg-laying hens.

Acceptable products for worm control include the following:

  • Fenbendazole—for turkeys only (e.g., Safe-Guard)
  • Hygromycin B—for chickens only (e.g., Hygromix-8)

For more information about intestinal worms, refer to the article “Internal Parasites of Poultry.”

Products for Controlling External Parasites

There are several types of external parasite that can infest a poultry flock. Typical pesticides used for control of external parasites include:

  • Permethrin-based medications (e.g., Prozap Garden and Poultry Dust)
  • Tetrachlorvinphos-based medications (e.g., Rabon)
  • Carbaryl-based medications (e.g., Sevin) Voluntarily withdrawn for use with poultry

For more information refer to the “Insect Control on Poultry” fact sheet by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension.

Products for Controlling Darkling Beetles

Darkling beetles are a common problem in poultry facilities. The adults are black with hardened front wings and antennae that start under a ridge near the eyes. The larvae (referred to as mealworms) are worm-like and slightly hardened for burrowing. Both the larvae and beetles eat decaying leaves, sticks, grass, dead insects, feces, and grains.

Brand-name products that can be used to control darkling beetles include the following:

  • Credo
  • Tempo

​For more information about darkling beetles, refer to the article “Darkling Beetles.”

Products for Fly Control

Compounds that can be added to conventional feed to aid in fly control in poultry houses include the following:

  • Cyromazine (e.g., Flyzine, Larvadex, and Solitude IGR)
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NOTE Brand names appearing in this article are examples only. No endorsement is intended, nor is criticism implied of similar products not mentioned.

Current update on drugs for game bird species (FARAD)

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