What is cocci?
Also, why do you have to feed chicks a special feed? What do similar baby birds eat in the wild? Can they be raised without buying food from the big, bad corporations? Is cracked corn too hard for them to digest?
They need chick starter with its appopriate amount of protein, vitamins and minerals to grow.
THey need layer feed with it appropriate amount of calcium, vitamins and minerals in order to lay strong healthy eggs.
Wild birds are different and we do not rely on them as a healthy source of food, or to supply us with eggs.
They can free range in your yard but you cannot rely on that for their only source of food, not knowing what you have available for them to forage on a daily basis I would not trust it, as you may not end up with healthy birds.
Cracked corn causes chickens bodies to heat up, so should only be given on those cold winter days or nights.
Its a treat, not a source of food.
You can actually cause them to overheat and have problems regulating their body temperatures if you give them cracked corn in warm weather.
I only give it to them when its cold or at least cool, I throw it on the ground for them to scratch around at and keep themselves busy, scratch can also be used for that since it has cracked corn mixed in with grains.
On those bitter cold mornings I mix together the crumbles be it layer or starter crumbles depending on their age and throw in some cracked corn and pour boiling water over it and stir.
Its called hot mash and they devour it and helps warm them up.
Any treat such as scratch or cracked corn should only comprise ten percent of your chickens diet, the rest should be the appropriate feed along with free ranging.
Cocci is an illness that chickens get that can quickly spread throughout the flock.
To help prevent it you need to keep their coops dry and clean and if they are in a run try to keep it as dry as possible, laying down sand, straw, hay etc. so as to keep them off of the wet ground where the cocci virus thrives.
There are medicated feeds that you can give the first few weeks of a chicks life to help prevent it but its not a guarantee.
Chicks will naturally gradually be exposed to it while free ranging with mama hen and build up a resistance to it on their own which is considered better by some people.
It can be away to build up their immunity naturally and develop a heathy flock without antibiotics.
Others do not want to risk it and for those who have had problems with cocci I can understand why.
It can take down your flock, but there are medications that can be used after a cocci outbreak to stem the damage.
ITs a personal choice, medicate and hope for the best, you may still get an outbreak.
Don't medicate and hope for the best, hope they develop strong immunity to cocci and if there is an outbreak then medicate.
Always keep their coops and runs dry and clean and don't let them drink from any stagnant water sources laying around in the yard.
Tip over any water that has gathered around the yard and keep their waterers clean and fresh.
Adding a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar to their waterer can help keep them clean.
Edited by the simple life - 10/22/08 at 7:06am