Amoxicillin for Ducks: Dosage, Benefits and Risks

Currently, ducks make one of the most popular pets and livestock for farmers aiming for high returns. Though they are easy to care for because of their ability to live in different environments, they require special care to protect them from diseases and prompt intervention if they fall sick.

Thankfully, most of the conditions your duck is susceptible to can be successfully managed by antibiotics.

Unfortunately, antibiotic resistance is becoming quite common because the drugs are sometimes misused.

As such, you should be careful when using antibiotics in your duck to ensure you do not contribute to this global problem that has made several bacteria resistant to drugs that were effective in the past.

However, when used correctly, antibiotics will keep your ducks safe, reduce bacteria in the food supply chain and prevent animal suffering.

One of the most common antibiotics for duck diseases is amoxicillin. Read on to understand how this powerful antibiotic contributes to your duck rearing.

What Is Amoxicillin?

Amoxicillin is an antibiotic categorized under penicillin. These drugs made from penicillium mold were the first antibiotics to be discovered. Penicillins are bacteriocidal, meaning that they will kill bacteria by inhibiting cell wall formation.

They do this by binding proteins to hinder specific processes in a cell. In so doing, the cell wall disintegrates and releases its contents. Amoxicillin is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that can effectively treat most conditions caused by gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria.

The drug is thus commonly used to manage reproductive tract, skin, respiratory and mouth conditions in ducks.

When Is Amoxicillin Necessary For Ducks?

There are three main disease prevention approaches when keeping ducks.

You should establish a biosecurity system where sick birds are kept from healthy ones, immunize your flock against infectious diseases, and minimize environmental stressors like cramped housing that can increase the risk of infections in ducks. Unfortunately, ducks can become sick despite these measures.

Below are the common instances when amoxicillin might be necessary for your ducks:

  • Infectious serositis: This condition is also called new duck disease or Pasteurella anatipestifer. The bacterial infection is characterized by diarrhea, eye discharge, and listlessness in the acute phase. The illness associated with high mortality and weight loss often affects ducklings at 2-6 weeks old. Amoxicillin and enrofloxacin have been associated with reduced mortality from infectious serositis.
  • coli: This is the leading bacterial infection in ducks of all ages. Affected birds appear ‘’off-color’’ with their necks stretched into their bodies. Bacterial contamination of your flock’s drinking water and poor housing hygiene will predispose your ducks to E.coli. Therapy with amoxicillin is effective in combating the infection.
  • Salmonella: This often follows poor hygiene measures and commonly affects ducklings up to 14 days old. Its mortality rate can be as high as 15%, so prompt intervention is crucial. Amoxicillin can help manage the infection.
  • Streptococcal infections: These are also linked to poor hygiene and have increased mortality in ducklings around 12 days old. Streptococcus can affect almost any part of the duck. The affected flocks respond well to treatment with amoxicillin.
  • Bumblefoot: This bacterial infection affecting the footpad is caused by staphylococcus bacteria. It leads to pain, redness, and swelling of an affected foot and can affect the joints and bones in severe cases. Amoxicillin often effectively manages the condition, but surgery might be the solution for severe cases.
  • Wry neck: This condition can affect birds across all ages and causes an abnormal head position making it hard for your duck to drink or eat. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, trauma, or toxins. Amoxicillin and supportive care can effectively manage a wry neck if associated with bacterial infections.

Besides the above common conditions, amoxicillin can prevent bacterial diseases like necrotic enteritis and colibacillosis. It is also commonly administered to ducks that have been attacked by predators to prevent fowl cholera (pasteurellosis) from scratches and bites.

Amoxicillin Dosage and Administration

Amoxicillin for ducks is available as tablets, a powder, syrup, powder for injection, and suspension. It can be administered orally, as an injection, or as eye drops. The tablets, powder, and powder for injection are administered in drinking water or liquid feed.

You will prepare them with fresh tap water or feed them before use and discard any unused solution after 12 hours. If you reconstitute the powder to make an oral suspension, store this in the fridge and discard it after two weeks.

To guarantee the ducks consume the medicated water when using amoxicillin powder or tablets, do not give them any other water supplies during treatment. When administering the syrup and suspension, place them on bread, then feed this to your duck.

It is crucial to get the correct body weight for your duck to avoid over or under-dosing them on amoxicillin.

Here are the dosages of different amoxicillin preparations:

  • Amoxicillin sodium: 50-250mg/kg as an intramuscular or intravenous injection twice or thrice daily.
  • Amoxicillin/clavulanate: 125-250mg/kg orally twice or thrice daily.
  • Amoxicillin/trihydrate: 20mg/kg orally or as a subcutaneous, intramuscular, or intravenous injection three to four times daily.

Amoxicillin for ducks is administered for 7-10 days, but it can be given for more days than this in severe infections. The medication’s effects happen within 1-2 hours.

Though you might not see them outwardly, you will appreciate gradual improvements in your ducks over a few days.

Precautions and Risks

While amoxicillin is safe for your duck, here are the side effects you might notice after your bird takes it:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Reduced levels of blood potassium

Here are some drug interactions you should remember when your ducks are on amoxicillin:

  • Acetylsalicylic acid might reduce amoxicillin’s excretion rate causing a higher serum concentration of amoxicillin.
  • Amoxicillin might reduce the excretion of amikacin and lead to a higher serum concentration of amikacin.
  • Amoxicillin can lead to higher serum concentrations of acyclovir. You risk a hypersensitivity reaction in your duck when administering amoxicillin and allopurinol concurrently.

You do not need any particular monitoring test when your duck is taking amoxicillin, but your vet might monitor the bird to ensure the medication is working.

Moreover, the vet might conduct a sensitivity test before prescribing the drug to guarantee that the bacteria causing your duck’s illness can be effectively managed by amoxicillin.

The medicine should not be used in ducks that are sensitive to penicillin. Keep in mind that the drug might interact with some urine glucose tests and give you a false positive.

Consult With a Veterinarian

It is crucial that you do not play a part in antibiotic resistance when using amoxicillin for your duck.

Here are the two main steps you can take to ensure this:

  1. Always consult a vet when your duck is sick rather than linking the symptoms to a common disease and administering the antibiotic as you deem fit. Amoxicillin is a prescription-only drug and should thus only be used when prescribed by a veterinarian for your duck.
  2. Give the amoxicillin as directed by a vet. Even if your duck seems to have recovered, always finish a full course of the drug.

Other than the above, when your bird is taking the drug, report any serious side effects, such as breathing difficulty, to a vet for prompt intervention. Remember that amoxicillin does not replace any prevention measures to ward off disease.

Even as you use the medication, ensure your duck is adequately vaccinated, maintain optimal nutrition for the bird, and keep sick birds separated from healthy ones.


Ducks are hardy species, but even the most careful duck keepers might deal with diseases from time to time. Antibiotics have revolutionized the management of bacterial infections in ducks. Amoxicillin is among the most common antibiotics prescribed for ducks.

This penicillin is effective against diseases caused by gram-negative and positive bacteria. Amoxicillin is available as tablets, syrups, suspensions, and powder for injection. It should be reconstituted and administered as directed by a vet to guarantee its efficacy and prevent antibiotic resistance.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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