Small-scale food animal production has been celebrated as a means of economic mobility and improved food security but the use of veterinary antibiotics among these producers may be contributing to the spread of antibiotic resistance in animals and humans. In order to improve antibiotic stewardship in this sector, it is critical to identify the drivers of producers’ antibiotic use. This study assessed the determinants of antibiotic use in small-scale food animal production through simulated client visits to veterinary supply stores and surveys with households that owned food animals (n = 117) in Ecuador. Eighty percent of households with food animals owned chickens and 78% of those with chickens owned fewer than 10 birds. Among the households with small-scale food animals, 21% reported giving antibiotics to their food animals within the last six months. Simulated client visits indicated that veterinary sales agents frequently recommended inappropriate antibiotic use, as 66% of sales agents recommended growth promoting antibiotics, and 48% of sales agents recommended an antibiotic that was an inappropriate class for disease treatment. In contrast, few sales agents (3%) were willing to sell colistin, an antibiotic banned for veterinary use in Ecuador as of January 2020, which supports the effectiveness of government regulation in antibiotic stewardship. The cumulative evidence provided by this study indicates that veterinary sales agents play an active role in promoting indiscriminate and inappropriate use of antibiotics in small-scale food animal production.