TUCKER, GA. — A recent report from the US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed improvement in antibiotic stewardship across the poultry industry.

The report quantifies the poultry industry’s on-farm antibiotic use, including a new section on layer production. It represents a nine-year set of data collected from 2013 to 2021 for US broiler chickens and turkeys and a six-year set of data collected from 2016 to 2021 for layer chickens. The data pool includes 150 million layer hens, 8 billion broiler chickens and 150 million turkeys.

“The Board of USPOULTRY has supported this research for a decade, and it points to the continued focus on the judicious use of antibiotics in the poultry industry,” said John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY. “We are grateful for the long-term participation of so many members in this study.”

The report noted that key changes among broiler chickens included a decrease in antibiotics received in hatcheries from 90% of chickens in 2013 to 0% in 2021.

Unlike broiler chickens, the turkey sector did not see a complete cut of antibiotics in the hatchery, but it dropped from 97% in 2013 to 40% in 2021. The report added that hatchery gentamicin use decreased almost 50% during the period.

Since most antibiotics that could be administered to layer hens have withdrawal periods that would prevent all eggs produced during this period from entering the food supply, there’s minimal antibiotic usage in table egg production in the United States. However, the report said all chicks in the dataset received gentamicin in the hatchery on day one.

The project was funded through an agreement with FDA and multiple grants from USPOULTRY.

USPOULTRY said it will continue to support the annual collection of data from the poultry industry.

“These efforts will continue to assist the poultry industry as it aims to improve antibiotic stewardship and will also document the burden of flock illness and reasons for on-farm, medically important antibiotic usage,” the association said.