Responsible Antibiotic Use | On the Banks of Squaw Creek: Responsible Antibiotic Use
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Responsible Antibiotic Use

Keeping Turkeys Healthy
responsible antibiotic use on farms
Isaac checking out one of the poults in our newest flock.
A few weeks ago, Bart went out to the brooder house and noticed the turkeys were a little noisy. I would not have noticed, but Bart is so in tune with those little guys…he can tell the minute they’re in any sort of discomfort or distress.
He suspected illness, so he considered administering antibiotics.
But before making such a decision, he consulted with other turkey “experts” to decide the best course of action.  He got online, where turkey hatcheries, breeders and growers around the country share information.  He called one of our business partners, who has decades of experience with turkeys.  He discussed the symptoms he saw with our local turkey vet. 
And this time around, he decided NOT to give the turkeys antibiotics.

Sometimes, the outcome is different.  Sometimes Bart does administer medication.  But he never makes that decision in haste.  He weighs the pros and cons and uses antibiotics only when necessary.
And Bart, like other farmers, uses other methods to prevent disease, too.  Biosecurity – or preventing disease from entering the barn in the first place - is a pretty big deal.  In fact, it’s such a big deal that it deserves its own blog post.  Vaccines are also used to prevent illnesses…our latest flock got a new vaccine for an illness we’ve had on our farm before.  And clean water is a top priority for maintaining animal health.
But when those safeguards aren’t enough, we use antibiotics judiciously to ensure that our turkeys – and our food – are healthy.
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