Antibiotics extensively used in commercial poultry

Antibiotics have been extensively used in animal/ poultry production. Although some are used therapeutically to improve the health and well-being of animals, most are given for prophylactic purposes and to improve growth rate and feed conversion efficiency.

Antibiotics extensively used  in commercial poultry

  • Antibiotics use in poultry

Antibiotics use in commercial poultry is divided into two categories one is therapeutic antibiotics and other is growth-promoting antibiotics.

  • Therapeutic antibiotics

The therapeutic antibiotics are only used when disease has been introduced in flock. The dose and route of antibiotic is selected by poultry veterinarian. The choice of antibiotic depends on cost of drug and level of disease.

  • Growth-promoting antibiotics

The growth-promoting antibiotics are added in bird’s feed and use of these promoters depends on economic factors, whether the improvements in body weight, feed efficiency, and/or growth rates are worth the cost of the antibiotic.

Incidence of antibiotic resistance in poultry

It is generally consider that widespread use of antibiotics cause bacterial resistance. When specific antibiotics are used, especially as growth promotants, resistance to that antibiotic is commonly detected in bacterial populations from that operation.

Escherichia coli and Enterococcus sp. from poultry products to consumers put humans at risk to new strains of bacteria that resist antibiotic treatment. Resistant bacteria spoil antibiotics by interfering with their mode of action via a range of effectors’ mechanisms, including synthesis of inactivating enzymes, alteration in the configuration of cell wall or ribosome and modification of membrane carrier systems.

These mechanisms are specific to the type of resistance developed. Because of the growing global concerns that resistance bacteria can pass from animals to humans, there is an increase in public and governmental interest in phasing out inappropriate antibiotic use in animal husbandry

Public health significance

As the antibiotic has improved the poultry performance effectively but increase in number of antibiotic resistance bacterial strains like Escherichia coli, staphylococcus sp. and Enterococcus sp. did occur which can transmitted from poultry to human through food chain with serious consequences on public health.


Poultry meat consumers demanding the meat free from growth -promoting antibiotics. So we should use non-antibiotic alternatives, such as probiotics, intestinal acidifiers, natural antibacterial, and enzymes to reduce the growth of unfavorable bacteria.

Alternative growth promoters have antibacterial action that favors the growth by reducing the severity of sub-clinical infection, by reducing the growth depressing metabolites and improving nutrients absorption.

There is need for rational use of antibiotics in animal production. Use alternative to antibiotics like probiotics and prebiotics. It is important to take action to improve antibiotic resistance surveillance capacity worldwide with a view to monitoring the emerging resistance genes and their transfer in both animal and human strains.