Learn about the potential side effects of ivermectin in chickens, including diarrhea, loss of appetite, and decreased egg production. Understand the importance of proper dosage and administration to minimize these risks and ensure the health of your flock.

Side effects of ivermectin in chickens

When it comes to raising chickens, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects of any medications or treatments that are used. One such treatment that is commonly used is ivermectin, a medication that is effective against a wide range of parasites. While ivermectin can be helpful in controlling parasites in chickens, it is important to understand the potential side effects that can occur.

One potential side effect of ivermectin in chickens is neurotoxicity. Neurotoxicity can occur if the dosage of ivermectin is too high or if the chicken is particularly sensitive to the medication. Symptoms of neurotoxicity may include tremors, muscle weakness, incoordination, and even paralysis. It is important to carefully follow the recommended dosage instructions and monitor chickens for any signs of neurotoxicity.

Another potential side effect of ivermectin is egg withdrawal period. In some cases, ivermectin may have a withdrawal period, meaning that eggs from treated chickens should not be consumed for a certain amount of time after treatment. This withdrawal period is necessary to ensure that any residues of the medication have cleared from the chicken’s system and will not be present in the eggs. It is important to check the packaging or consult with a veterinarian to determine the correct withdrawal period for ivermectin.

Lastly, ivermectin can also have side effects on beneficial insects and other non-target organisms. Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum medication, meaning that it can affect a wide range of organisms, not just parasites. This includes beneficial insects such as bees and other pollinators. It is important to consider the potential impact on non-target organisms before using ivermectin in a chicken flock, especially in an outdoor or free-range setting.

In conclusion, while ivermectin can be an effective treatment for parasites in chickens, it is important to understand and consider the potential side effects. Monitoring for neurotoxicity, observing the correct withdrawal period for eggs, and considering the impact on non-target organisms are all crucial in ensuring the health and well-being of your chicken flock.

What is Ivermectin?

Ivermectin is a medication commonly used to treat parasitic infections in animals, including chickens. It belongs to a class of drugs called macrocyclic lactones, which work by paralyzing and killing parasites.

Originally discovered in the 1970s, ivermectin has since become a widely used and effective treatment for a range of parasitic diseases. It has been particularly successful in controlling parasites such as roundworms, mites, and lice in chickens.

When administered orally or topically, ivermectin is absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body. It targets the nervous system of parasites, causing paralysis and death. The drug is relatively safe for chickens when used as directed, but it is important to understand the potential side effects and proper dosage to avoid any adverse reactions.

Mode of Action


Ivermectin works by binding to certain receptors in the nerve and muscle cells of parasites, leading to an influx of chloride ions and hyperpolarization of the cell membrane. This disrupts the normal functioning of the parasites’ nervous system, resulting in paralysis and death.

Dosage and Administration

The appropriate dosage of ivermectin for chickens depends on the type of parasite being treated and the weight of the bird. It is typically administered orally or topically, following the instructions provided by the manufacturer or a veterinarian.

It is important to accurately measure and administer the correct dosage to chickens, as underdosing may be ineffective and overdosing can lead to toxicity and adverse effects.

Roundworms 0.2 mg/kg Oral
Mites and Lice 0.3 mg/kg Topical

It is recommended to consult with a veterinarian or poultry expert for specific dosage instructions and to ensure the safe and effective use of ivermectin in chickens.

The Mechanism of Action

Ivermectin is a broad-spectrum antiparasitic medication that is commonly used in veterinary medicine, including for the treatment of parasites in chickens. It works by disrupting the nervous system of parasites, leading to their paralysis and eventual death.

The active ingredient in ivermectin, called ivermectin, binds to specific receptors in the nerve and muscle cells of parasites. This binding interferes with the normal function of these cells, causing paralysis and ultimately death of the parasite. Ivermectin targets a wide range of parasites, including mites, lice, and various types of worms.

The mechanism of action of ivermectin is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve the inhibition of certain neurotransmitters in the parasites’ nervous system. This disruption in the neurotransmission leads to the paralysis and death of the parasites.

It is important to note that ivermectin is not selective in its action and can affect other organisms, including beneficial insects and non-target animals. Therefore, it is crucial to use ivermectin judiciously and follow proper dosage instructions to minimize any potential negative impacts on non-target species.

Common Uses in Chicken Farming

Ivermectin is commonly used in chicken farming for the treatment and prevention of various parasitic infections. It is effective against external parasites such as mites, lice, and ticks, as well as internal parasites like roundworms, tapeworms, and gapeworms.

Some chicken farmers use ivermectin as a preventive measure, regularly administering it to their flocks to keep parasites at bay. Others use it as a treatment when chickens show signs of infestation or illness caused by parasites.

When used correctly, ivermectin can be a valuable tool in maintaining the health and well-being of chickens in a farming environment. However, it is important to follow the dosage instructions provided by veterinarians or poultry experts to avoid potential side effects and ensure the safety of the chickens.

  • Mite and Lice Control: Ivermectin can be applied topically or administered orally to control mites and lice infestations in chickens. It effectively kills these external parasites and helps alleviate the discomfort and potential health problems they can cause.
  • Worm Control: Ivermectin is also effective against various types of internal parasites, including roundworms, tapeworms, and gapeworms. Regular treatment with ivermectin can help control and prevent these worm infections in chickens.
  • Preventive Measures: Some chicken farmers use ivermectin as a preventive measure to keep their flocks free from parasitic infestations. Regularly administering ivermectin can help reduce the risk of infestations and maintain the overall health of the chickens.

It is important to note that ivermectin should not be used as a substitute for good hygiene and biosecurity practices on the chicken farm. These measures, such as keeping the environment clean and providing proper nutrition, are crucial in preventing parasitic infestations and maintaining the overall health of the flock.

Potential Side Effects of Ivermectin

Ivermectin is a widely used medication in the poultry industry to control and treat parasite infestations in chickens. While it is generally considered safe and effective, there are potential side effects that chicken owners and farmers should be aware of.

One of the most common side effects of ivermectin is gastrointestinal upset. Chickens may experience diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite after receiving the medication. These symptoms are usually mild and self-limiting, resolving on their own without treatment.

In some cases, chickens may develop an allergic reaction to ivermectin. Signs of an allergic reaction may include itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If any of these symptoms occur, it is important to discontinue the use of ivermectin and seek veterinary advice immediately.

Another potential side effect of ivermectin is neurotoxicity. While rare, it is possible for chickens to experience neurologic symptoms such as tremors, incoordination, or seizures after receiving the medication. If any of these symptoms are observed, it is crucial to stop the administration of ivermectin and consult a veterinarian.

It is important to note that the risk of side effects can be minimized by following proper dosing instructions and guidelines for administering ivermectin. Additionally, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian before using ivermectin or any other medication in chickens, as they can provide specific advice based on the individual needs of the flock.

In conclusion, while ivermectin is generally safe and effective for controlling parasites in chickens, there are potential side effects that should be considered. Gastrointestinal upset, allergic reactions, and neurotoxicity are among the possible side effects, and it is important to monitor chickens closely after administering the medication. Veterinary guidance should be sought if any concerning symptoms arise.

Neurological Effects

Ivermectin can have neurological effects on chickens if administered in high doses or if the birds are more sensitive to the drug. These effects can include:

Ataxia Loss of coordination and balance
Tremors Involuntary shaking or trembling
Seizures Abnormal electrical activity in the brain leading to convulsions
Paralysis Inability to move or control muscles
Coma Unconsciousness and inability to respond to stimuli

These neurological effects can be life-threatening and may require immediate veterinary attention. It is crucial to use ivermectin according to the recommended dosage and to closely monitor the chickens for any signs of adverse reactions.