**This article is the opinion of the author and is not veterinary advice.**

All antibiotics for chickens (approved and off label) have been pulled from  OTC sales.  BUT there are still places to purchase them if you know where to look.

The reason that they were pulled from OTC sales in the US was because of misuse.  I will try to help you understand when and why we use them.

Chickens have a very rudimentary pulmonary (lungs) system, called lobes and because of that it is easy for them to get respiratory infections

Antibiotics are for respiratory infections only!  There is an exception as penicllian G can be used for bumblefoot and possibly internal laying problems.

Respiratory infections will present with any/all of these general symptoms:  Wheezing/raspy breathing/rattles in the lungs/discharge from the nostrils/swelling around the eyes/ watery eyes and general listlessness.

Separate bird and if possible bring in the house to keep him/her warm.  Add vitamins to their water (polyvisol with NO iron is the best one to use). If they are not drinking syringe water at the rate of 5ccs every  few  hours and don’t forget to add polyvisol to the syringe, 2 drops every syringe.  If they are not eating their regular food try something known to be a favorite, mealworms/cooked eggs are a good bet. You can also use VetRX (like we use Vicks vaporub) externally, under the throat/on the nostrils to help with breathing.

Since we are not vets and do not have access to culturing what specific bacteria the bird has. we have to think smart to figure out what drug to use. 

Baytril 10% is a newer broad spectrum drug (able to kill a wide variety of bacteria) and is your first defense against respiratory infections;


Amoxicillin is another useful drug;


Tylan50 or 200 works for certain bacteria but I have not found a place to get it OTC. Tractor Supply Company sells the 200 at some stores. You can try there;


The other drugs on the market I have found are not even worth mentioning as these drugs listed do the job quite well.

All these meds are given ORALLY, yes even the injectables.


Baytril 10%: LF (large fowl) rate of 0.30cc/mL and Banty 0.15cc/ml  ORALLY 2Xs a day for 7 days 

Amoxicillin 250mg:  LF one capsule dissolved in 1cc of water ORALLY 2Xs a day for 7 days

                         Bantys:  split one capsule and give ½ 2Xs a day for 7 days.

Tylan200:   LF 0.50cc/mL 2xs a day for 7 days   Bantys  0.25cc/mL 2xs a day for 7 days.

PLEASE NOTE:  Tylan is VERY light sensitive so use a needle to draw up only what you need for each dose.  Yes it’s a pain but it will keep the drug useable. Rinse needle with 70% alcohol after each use and put back in its little storage container.

Baytril should clear up your problem. Now if the bird presents with swollen eyes and a lot of weeping of the nose try Tylan first. IF there is no improvement in 4 days that drug will not work so them switch to Baytril 10% for another 7 days.  This goes to all the drugs, if there is no improvement within 4 days switch drugs.

SO in conclusion have these drugs on hand so you don’t have to scramble to get meds if one of your birds gets sick. Also keep your drugs in a cool dark place.

Author Susan of Second Chance Ranch in California with her late Serama Pal "Peanut"