Originally Posted by BGinVA
I was trying to keep them medication free not that I thought it would hurt them, but more so that I try to keep my food chain clean for my kids like any eggs and or potential poultry we might eat, along with my fruits and veggies. But I THINK being this young and a long way away from being any source of food (eggs or meat) that one bag of medicated feed to wipe out anything any of them might have might be a good idea. What I don't know is if the medication is like an antibiotic that would clear their system before they are of food producing age, or if its like an immunization and something sticks around long term?
I have raised 3 of my own hatches and 1 bunch I got from Ideal, trying to avoid meds, for the same reason as you. The first went great, until I moved them to the coop where the promptly caught Coccidia. Only 1 died and thankfully I was able to put them on meds immediately and the rest were fine. I gave them Kefir (like yogurt, it has good probiotics and is a great cocci preventative.) and put wormwood in their water. (a natural wormer) I slacked off though, when I put them in the coop. (dumb idea)
The second hatch, I decided to try again. I ditched the wormwood and went with kefir only. Not medicated feed, water and kefir. They did great. They are still great. They are free ranging my yard and starting to lay me eggs now. :)\
The third hatch, I did a little kefir, but I got tired of caring for it and they didn't get much. I figured out that you don't really have to give preventatives. Though they help, they aren't necessary. You have to build their resistance to coccidia. Expose them to small amounts at a time. Don't give them a totally sterile brooder. Give them access to the dirt from you coop. It has cocci in it. A little at a time until they are basically living in it all the time, and they are ready to go outside. I have raised 3 hatches successfully this way, counting the ones I got from Ideal.
The med in Medicated feed is called Amprolium. There is a debate over whether it's an antibiotic or not. It is an antiparasitic or sorts. It does flush out of the body after a while, unlike an immunization. But every drug leaves residue, and I don't like the thought of that. I like mine as organic and homegrown as possible. It's super easy to raise them without meds. It's barely more work than feeding them medicated food. It's totally worth it to me.
I'm sorry you lost a chick. That's always the saddest part of raising chickens for me. If it is coccidia, then you will see blood in their poop. Like, a LOT of blood. You can't miss it. Especially if they are already dying from it, there should be bloody poop. If there isn't, I wouldn't think it is cocci. Medicated feed only prevents coccidia (and maybe other parasites) but it won't do much, if anything for other illnesses. If you don't see blood, I wouldn't give them medicated feed. Electrolytes and vitamins are a good idea. If they aren't showing symptoms, then it probably wasn't a big deal. Sometimes they die for no apparent reason. I had one that was fine, then all the sudden he was breathing funny and wouldn't move. He died that night. I still don't know what was wrong with him, but his brothers/sisters are fine.
Hopefully your other babies are okay and you have some more girls than you think. ;) Good luck and keep us posted.