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Quail Feed Medications

Game bird feeds are available with several types of medications for preventing or treating diseases. The two most common medications added to feeds are coccidiostats and/or antibiotics.

Coccidiosis is a parasitic disease of the digestive tract. It is difficult to control by sanitation practices alone. The best prevention is to include a drug or coccidiostat in the feed. This coccidiostat is added to the feed at low levels and fed continuously. Some coccidiostats can be given at higher levels to treat the disease after the birds show symptoms. Before increasing the drug level, check with someone who is familiar with the proper use of the coccidiostat in question since some coccidiostats can be toxic at higher levels.

Feed growing birds a ration containing a coccidiostat from hatch until the last week before slaughter. Feed an unmedicated diet during this last week to assure that no drug residues remain in the tissues of the birds. This feeding of unmedicated diets prior to slaughter is recommended when using any dietary drug, regardless of whether the restriction is required or not.

As birds mature, they develop a resistance to coccidiosis if a controlled exposure to the parasite is allowed. Birds grown for breeder replacements are fed a coccidiostat until about 16 weeks of age. The medicated feed is then replaced with a feed not containing a coccidiostat. Spotty outbreaks of the disease can be controlled by including drugs in the water. Two coccidiostats with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for use in game bird feeds are monensin sodium (Coban) and amprolium.

Antibiotics may also be added to some feeds. Antibiotics aid performance and maintain healthy birds. They are 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 FDA approved antibiotics in game bird diets are bacitracin and penicillin.

Addition of bacitracin to game bird diets is recommended at the rate of 50 grams per ton as a preventative of ulcerative enteritis (quail disease). Higher levels in the diet is not recommended nor permitted by FDA. If higher levels are needed for treatment, it is best to give the antibiotic in the bird's drinking water. This practice is also more effective since sick birds will usually drink water but will not always consume feed. Including bacitracin in diets of all game birds is recommended to maintain healthy, productive birds.

When using any drug, whether the drug is or is not mixed with the feed, follow all warnings and instructions on the label. Always comply with all instructions that require a medication withdrawal period prior to bird slaughter or saving eggs for human consumption.

Additional information on feeding of game birds can be found in Feeding Quail.

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Dressed in a pink T-shirt and blue jeans, broiler grower Teresa Dyess stands next to two wagon wheels in front of a barn on her family farm.
Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Poultry October 20, 2017

In three days, Teresa Dyess shifted her business focus from produce to poultry.

The change began two years ago with an offhand remark from her husband, Joe Dyess.

 “He told a broiler grower in Wayne County we wouldn’t mind building pullet houses because we wanted to diversify our farm,” she said. “We didn’t think any more about it, and then the next day a poultry processor called and offered us a contract. A banker came the next day, and everything fell into place.”

Lanette Crocker, coordinator for the MSU Extension Service in Wayne County, said Teresa Dyess’ adaptability has helped her maintain success through the farm’s transition.

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Filed Under: Poultry August 4, 2017

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Filed Under: Avian Flu March 30, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- All Mississippians who raise any species of poultry are being urged to follow strict biosecurity practices and review new requirements regarding sales and exhibitions.

Tom Tabler, poultry specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said that while avian influenza is not a threat to human health or food safety, an outbreak would endanger backyard flocks and the state’s nearly $3 billion commercial poultry industry.

Choosing the right breed of chickens for a backyard flock is an important decision. From left, Tripp, Luna and Charlie Sanders examine chicks for sale March 8, 2017, in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kat Lawrence)
Filed Under: Poultry March 16, 2017

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Families willing to host a flock of feathered friends reap the benefits of fresh eggs delivered daily just outside the door.

What started several years ago as an underground "urban chicken" movement has become much more common and widely accepted. Today, raising backyard chickens has gained popularity nationwide, boosted by interest in locally grown foods that avoid the energy use and carbon emissions typically associated with transporting food.

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