Denagard for Chickens: What It Is for and Dosage

Chickens are susceptible to many diseases and ailments, and as a chicken owner, you will quickly realize how important it is to stay up to date on potential health issues to keep your flock happy and healthy.

If you have heard the name Denagard as a treatment for chickens but need more information, you’ve come to the right place. 

Denagard is the brand name for the antibiotic treatment tiamulin, used to treat chronic respiratory illnesses in chickens. It is administered orally as a diluted solution in chickens’ drinking water over 3 to 5 days. 

Before you start using this medication on your farm or homestead, it’s important to understand what Denagard is intended for and how to provide the appropriate dosage for your birds. 

The rest of this post will give a thorough overview of the medication so are confident in when and how to use it yourself. 

Disclaimer: Always consult a vet for advice before administering medicine unless you’re an expert yourself. 

denagard chickens

What Does Denagard Treat In Chickens?

Denagard is an effective treatment for Mycoplasma Gallisepticum and Brachyspira-related diseases in chickens. The bacteria Mycoplasma Gallisepticum causes a chronic respiratory illness in chickens.

It is the most common upper respiratory infection in domestic chickens, and it should always be taken seriously.

Once a chicken is infected, the chicken will stay infected for the rest of its life and pose a risk for transmitting it to others. 

There are currently no treatments to eliminate this disease.

However, Denagard is the most effective treatment to help reduce the risk of disease transmission from parent to offspring and improve the symptoms in the infected chickens. 

This disease will often cause uncomfortable to severe symptoms in untreated birds, but it is sometimes fatal. 

Younger birds have more severe cases compared to fully mature birds. 

Chickens with Mycoplasma Gallisepticum will have lower egg production, lower feed consumption, and subsequent weight loss. 

Other symptoms of this disease include the following:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Rales
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Swollen Eyelids
  • Watery Eyes
  • Nasal Discharge
  • Loss Of Sight

Mycoplasma Gallisepticum can spread both vertically from parent to offspring and horizontally through aerosol transmission or a contaminated environment (such as shared food, water trough, or bedding). 

What Exactly Is Denagard?

Denagard is the brand name for the antibiotic tiamulin hydrogen fumarate. It is used to treat respiratory infections in poultry and Brachyspira-related swine dysentery in pigs.

Denagard liquid concentrate is usually given to chickens through their drinking water.

The active compound is then absorbed through the chicken’s gut and goes into the chicken’s bloodstream within 30 minutes. 

Can You Use Denagard For Chickens?

Although Denagard currently only has FDA approval for use in swine, it is accepted as a safe treatment in birds. This product is available for over-the-counter purchase and is a widely used treatment for domestic birds. 

What Is The Right Dosage Of Denagard For My Chickens?

A preventive dosage for healthy birds is 12.5 mg Denagard/kg of body weight. The treatment dosage for chickens is 25 mg Denagard/kg of body weight. 

When using Denagard for chickens, purchase the 12.5% solution in a bottle. 

A 1 L bottle of this form of Denagard contains 125 g of the active substance.

Administer Denagard as an oral treatment regime at a concentration of 0.025% in the chickens’ drinking water for 3 to 5 consecutive days.

Since this is a contagious respiratory illness, it is more sensible to treat the entire flock rather than only chickens showing symptoms. 

It is not recommended to give chickens undiluted Denegard or the daily dose all at once.

Dilute the solution in drinking water to ensure the birds ingest the medicine gradually, avoiding gagging and strong reactions. 

A later section of this post will give you some tips on making the Denagard more palatable to your birds. 

Based on the above dosage guidelines and the 12.5% solution, add the following volumes of Denagard to the drinking water for 3 to 5 days:

  • Preventive: 8 cc/mL (1.5 teaspoons per gallon of water) 
  • Treatment:16 cc/mL (3 teaspoons per gallon of water) 

Although the average Denagard dosage for chickens is 25 mg/kg of body weight, the following chart breaks down approximately how much Denagard your chickens are receiving based on the guidelines above and the chickens’ life stage:

Chicken age/typeDosage (mg/kg body weight)
Day-old chick125 – 150
4-week-old broiler30 – 50
10-week-old pullet30 – 45
Layer25

With proper dosage, Denagard effectively curbing the symptoms after 4-5 days of treatment. Some birds will start to show improvement after only 1-2 days. 

Treatment with Denagard has not been shown to lead to treatment-resistant strains. 

Medicine and vet trips are part of the cost of owning chickens and roosters.

Is There Egg Withdrawal For Denagard?

There is no egg withdrawal period for Denagard treatment. Eggs are considered safe for consumption even while the bird is undergoing treatment.

However, it is recommended to wait at least 3 days after the Denagard treatment is complete before slaughtering any treated chickens for food. 

How To Get Chickens To Drink Denagard

One way to make it more appealing is to reduce the bitterness of the medicine by adding a sweetener to the liquid. In addition to adding the sweetener, remove all other untreated water sources from the chickens. 

The Denagard, frankly, will not be tasty for your chickens.

This will help ensure your chickens get enough water and get their full dosage. 

Here are some of the best sweetener options to add to the water:

  • Xylitol: This is a natural, plant-derived sugar. It is available for purchase as a dry crystalline powder online or from grocery stores. 
  • 100% juice: Any type of fruit juice will work. Apple juice is a popular choice since it does not cause an extreme change in the water’s color and consistency. 
  • Regular table sugar: Start by adding 1/2 cup per gallon of water; increase the sugar concentration if the chickens still won’t go for it. 

Contraindications

Do not administer Denagard to chickens if they are currently receiving or have recently received Monensin, Narasin, or Salinomycin. 

Wait at least 7 days after treatment with these medications to give them Denagard to avoid adverse interactions between these medicines.