The purpose of this study was to determine the rate at which resistance developed in avian coliform bacteria when exposed to nalidixic acid, sarafloxacin, or enrofloxacin. In in vitro studies, the rates of mutation of avian isolates of Escherichia coli and Salmonella were determined following nalidixic acid, sarafloxacin, or enrofloxacin pressure. The rates of mutation were similar for nalidixic acid and sarafloxacin, whereas a lower rate of mutation was seen after enrofloxacin pressure. In in vivo studies, the quinolones were administered in the drinking water to broiler chickens at a concentration of 40 ppm for five consecutive days. Samples of feces were inoculated onto appropriate media and the frequency of resistance was determined. The frequency rates of resistance to nalidixic acid and sarafloxacin were similar. Enrofloxacin-medicated birds did not develop enrofloxacin-resistant coliform bacteria. The in vitro and in vivo data appear to correlate.