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Drenching is the forced pouring of liquid medicine down the throat of an animal to ensure their good health

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A pig in Gatete Village, Kirundo, Burundi. Photo: Paul Mbonankira/Tearfund

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From: Animal health – Footsteps 34

Different ways to improve and maintain animal health

Drenching is the forced pouring of liquid preparations down the throat of an animal.

Drenching can be used for all livestock. During drenching, the animal’s head must be raised so that the liquid does not enter the lungs. A bamboo tube, gourd or bottle (glass or plastic) can be used for drenching ruminants and pigs.

If a bottle is used it must be strong and unlikely to break and hurt the animal. For chickens, use a syringe without the needle, a dropper or a straw (rice, sorghum or plastic).

Ruminants – cattle, sheep, goats etc

1 Tie the animal to a tree or pole. 

2 Lift the nose until it is level with the animal’s neck. Do not raise the head too high as this may interfere with swallowing. 

3 Drench the medicine slowly. Do not pour the liquid too quickly into the animal’s throat. 

4 Allow time for the animal to swallow and breathe in between drenching. Do not pull the tongue out of the mouth; it needs to be free for swallowing. Lower the head immediately if the animal starts coughing. 


You can either set the pig on its side on the ground and have an assistant hold it down while drenching, or tie its upper snout with a piece of rope to a post. Hold the snout firmly and drench. 


1 If no assistant is available to hold the chicken, you can restrain the animal by holding it firmly with one arm against your body. 

2 Hold the beak open and give the medicine.

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