Drug Use in Layers and Other Livestock

By Anne Lichtenwalner, DVM, Ph.D., University of Maine Extension

Did You Know…

poultry; photo by Edwin Remsberg

Even if you can buy them over-the-counter, virtually no animal drugs (such as wormers and antibiotics) are okay to use in laying hens. Read the label carefully before you buy! If it is okay for you to use in your layers, then it will specifically state that it is for use in laying hens. If so, then it should also give you a “withdrawal time” to wait before eating the eggs. If it does not, there is no “safe” time established for use of the eggs.

What are Your Other Options?

If your vet diagnoses the problem, then he or she can prescribe the use of an appropriate “off-label” drug, with specific directions to you about its use and the right “withdrawal time” to wait. Sometimes it is worth the money to involve your vet early so that you can avoid long withdrawal times or even the loss of your flock due to disease. If you or your vet would like support from the Cooperative Extension Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in the diagnosis of poultry disease, call 207.581.2789.