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What is an Implant?

Reproductive illness is the leading cause of death in egg-laying hens. The single best medical therapy option for mitigating this risk is by having a hen implanted, which decreases reproductive productivity in chickens, giving their bodies a much-needed break.

A hormonal implant is inserted under the skin, slowly releasing the drug Deslorelin (brand name Suprelorin) which controls the secretion of other hormones involved in egg production, temporarily stopping the laying of eggs. 

In Canada, implants must be prescribed and administered by a veterinarian. In fact, until recently, an emergency drug release form was required to be sent to Health Canada to be allowed permission to give this drug to any particular animal. A new form was required for every dose - one for each chicken, each time.

Did you know? Implants were created for ferrets! They are currently only used ‘off-label’ in birds, despite numerous studies proving their safety and efficacy in chickens. This year we plan to work behind the scenes to advocate for its approval (and thus, wider accessibility). Suprelorin implants are imported and distributed by Virbac in two strengths - 4.7 and 9.4. The recommended dose for maximum efficacy is a 9.4-strength implant,  however, only 4.7 mg implants are currently available. Upon veterinary recommendation, Secondhand Stories purchases two implants for each hen and arranges for their placement whenever a hen showcases signs of reproductive illness. The implants last on average 4-8 months.

Today, one of our beloved chickens, Gunta was implanted. For a couple of years now Gunta has been having soft-shelled eggs. Soft-shelled eggs have a higher probability of breaking in the oviduct, causing severe infection which can lead to death. The best thing we can do to protect Gunta's health is to have her implanted, preventing these soft-shelled eggs from being developed. (Check out the cutest Instagram Reel of her big day here!)

A very special thank you to Microsanctuary Resource Center for providing a grant to cover the full cost of Gunta's implants!!!


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