Can Chickens Take Cephalexin?

Chickens can use Cephalexin because it’s one of the safest and most effective antibiotics for these birds. You can use Cephalexin to treat several poultry diseases, especially bacterial diseases. This drug is safe if you use it on your chickens at the right dosage.

What is Cephalexin Used For?

Chicken owners use Cephalexin as a veterinary antibiotic to treat multiple bacterial infections. The active ingredients in this antibiotic make it easier for chicken farmers and veterinarians to treat chickens. Cephalexin works by targeting bacteria’s cell wall synthesis, ultimately countering the growth of bacteria.

The antibiotic fights bacterial infections in chickens by blocking the cell walls in these infections from building into new bacteria. Although the FDA doesn’t approve the use of Cephalexin in chickens and other animal species, poultry farmers have used it for decades to treat their chickens.

Is Cephalexin Safe for Chickens?

Yes, Cephalexin is safe for chickens. Like other drugs, you must use this antibiotic on your chickens in the right dosage. Cephalexin is safe for treating bacterial infections in chickens, such as bumblefoot.

This drug is also safe for protecting your chickens against prospective bacterial infections. Moreover, Cephalexin is only safe for chickens over three weeks old. Although Cephalexin is overly safe for chickens, this medication has some potential side effects like other medication people use to treat their birds.

For instance, dependence on Cephalexin in chicken can lead to digestion issues, such as constipation. In the long run, some chickens using this drug can also have light-coloured droppings.

Furthermore, Cephalexin can cause red lesions on a chicken’s comb and wattles. Younger chickens usually experience weakness and lethargy after using Cephalexin. Excessive use of Cephalexin on chickens can cause feather loss.

This medication can also cause dehydration if a chicken doesn’t take plenty of water after using the drug. Nonetheless, Cephalexin is safe and has minimal effects if you use it on your birds in its right dosage and according to usage instructions.

However, there are some exceptions regarding chickens that can use Cephalexin. For example, a bird with kidney disease shouldn’t use this drug because it can increase its risk of developing chronic side effects.

If one of your birds in the flock has kidney disease, it’s good to consult your avian pet to establish whether the drug is safe for the bird. Also, it would help if you crushed up Cephalexin before administering it orally to your birds.

Dosage of Cephalexin for Chickens

Cephalexin can only be safe for your birds if you use it in the correct dosage. To prevent early chick mortality while using this drug, you should use 20 gm of Cephalexin for 3,000 baby chicks. Please adhere to this dosage for five days and administer it to your birds through drinking water.

Use 20 grams of Cephalexin daily to treat baby chickens with bacterial infections such as Fowl Cholera, Fowl Typhoid and Coryza. Twenty grams of this drug is enough to treat about 1500 baby chicks with bacterial infections.

For adult chickens, you should use 10 mg of Cephalexin per bird. Mature chickens with severe conditions, such as bronchitis, pyrexia and nephritis should use at least 20 grams of Cephalexin per bird. You can dissolve 20 grams of this drug into your birds’ drinking water.

How to Administer Cephalexin to Chickens?

You can administer Cephalexin to your chickens in two different ways. Below are the two common methods of administering Cephalexin to your chickens.

– Injection

This method of administering Cephalexin to chickens entails using a syringe and a needle to inject the drug into a chicken’s bloodstream or muscle tissue. Injecting Cephalexin into chickens through injection is suitable for treating chickens with severe bacterial infections.

You can administer Cephalexin to your chickens if they show symptoms such as inflammation, swelling or pain due to injuries. You must ensure you inject Cephalexin right into your chicken’s bloodstream or muscle tissue. Furthermore, you must mix the drug with water before injecting it into your chickens because the medication comes in powder form.

– Oral Administration

This method of administering Cephalexin to chickens entails giving the medication to your chickens through their mouth. Mix Cephalexin with water and then administer it to your chickens orally through a feeding tube. The feeding tube should go right into a chicken’s stomach cavity.

Besides using a feeding tube to orally administer Cephalexin to your birds, you can also mix the drug with their feed. Nonetheless, this method may not work for all chickens because chickens detest the taste of Cephalexin, and it is easy for your birds to detect the drug in their feed.

Thus, the most effective method of administering Cephalexin orally to your chickens is using a feeding tube.

Will Cephalexin Affect the Eggs?

The major concern with using Cephalexin on egg-laying hens is that the drug could make the eggs unsafe for consumption. Cephalexin can affect the quality and safety of chicken eggs. Thus, egg consumers should withdraw from eating eggs after treating their birds with this drug because it can enter into chicken eggs.

Cephalexin Alternatives for Chickens

Cephalexin is one of the antibiotics you can use to treat your birds from multiple bacterial diseases. There are other antibiotics you can use for treating your birds. Here are some good alternatives for Cephalexin you can use on your chickens.

  • Aminoglycosides– These are a group of antibiotics chicken owners and vets use for treating severe bacterial diseases in chickens. They are mainly suitable for treating intestinal infections in fowl.
  • Lincosamides-These antibiotics are also safe alternatives to Cephalexin. The drugs are ideal for treating bone infections and joint problems in chickens.
  • Macrolides– The antibiotics are effective in treating chickens with necrotic enteritis, a condition that occurs in chickens due to overeating. They are more effective than Cephalexin in treating this condition because Cephalexin can only treat chickens with mild necrotic enteritis.
  • Sulfonamides– These are some of the most potent antibiotics for chickens. They are an excellent alternative to Cephalexin because they can help treat chickens with severe Salmonella.


Cephalexin is safe for your chickens. You can use this antibiotic to treat several bacterial diseases in chickens. However, please adhere to the right dosage of Cephalexin when administering it to your birds. You can also try other alternatives if the drug doesn’t work for your chickens.

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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