Can you put chicks on a medicated feed after they're older?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 4H kids and mom, Mar 27, 2007.

  1. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Our chicks are 3 weeks old today. [​IMG] Everyone appears happy, fat, and healthy but the more I hear about Cocci...the more I worry. [​IMG]

    I didn't have them vaccinated because I heard that hatcheries can use a live vaccine, and I didn't want to risk it. The bag of chick starter/grower I got (which is all they really had around here at that time because the feed store doesnt get in in until April) is not medicated. They are now half way through this bag. Apperantly I am learning that I will still have to buy at least one more bag of starter feed for them. So, I'm wondering...should I get a bag of medicated feed next time, which would be in about 3-4 weeks? Or, is it too late to feed it to them? Or, do I NEED to be worried about Cocci at all?

    Here's what the hatchery told me before I ordered. Please tell me how much of this is right.

    "Cocci is a problem when you've:

    1) had a flock established prior to getting new chicks because the adults may have had it, therefore passing it on to the chicks.
    2) not totally disinfected the coop and other areas the chicks will be in before they go there."

    They also told me that if this was our very first flock ever (which it is) and if everything set up for them has never been used by other fowl (which it hasnt been), that we needn't worry at all about it. So.....should I worry, or not?
  2. JamesC

    JamesC In the Brooder

    Mar 2, 2007
    Coccidiosis is caused by a protozoan, not a virus and not a bacteria. The old time method was to "innoculate" the brooder bedding with a small amount of litter from the hen house. It would contain enough of the protozoa and oosysts to expose the chicks and to get their systems to begin building resistance to it.
    Medicated feed contains a coccidiostat, which is a thiamine blocker, that will help to keep the numbers of coccidia under control while the chicks build their resistance. Thiamine is what coccidia thrive on so by blocking it, they can't survive.
    I think that feedstore staff do a good job, but they don't know enough about poultry, in most cases - some are very knowledgable, to be able to give good, sound advise. If you live on the land there is coccidia present, the trick is to raise your chicks in a dry brooder to keep coccidia from thriving. If you keep your birds healthy and make sure the litter stays dry around the water can, you have a good chance of avoiding and outbreat. A lot of poultry people don't use medicated feed, just take very good care of their chicks and they always do well. I have used medicated feed for years, after having a bad experience with coccidiosis years ago. It's just double insurance in my opinion.

    It won't hurt to get medicated feed now. Chicks are usually kept on it for 8 weeks minimum so it can only help.

  3. Napalongtail

    Napalongtail Longtail Longtimer

    Jan 31, 2007
    NE Washington
    I would just like to add that in many places the wild turkeys can carry Coccidiosis. My girlfriend who is a vet tech had a bad outbreak of it with her dogs( they ate turkey poop) as she has no chickens yet. So you can have the cleanest place but if you have wilds your soil may still be contaminated.
  4. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    I do not use medicated feed and I have never lost a chick to coccidiosis. For small batches of poultry that are kept in clean, dry environments medication is not needed. The best medicine you can give your chicks is cleanliness! If you keep the litter clean and dry you should have no worries. Waterers should be refilled everyday and disinfecteced frequently with a bleach solution.

    Medicated feed has become the norm but it is not needed. Use of medicated feed can even be harmful when certrain strains become immune.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I put my 4 week old chicks on medicated feed because the first bag they didn't have any chick feed in yet. They are fine.

    The only problem I had with cocci was the one time I raised a big batch of chicks in the dry season where the cocci were dormant, and they all became sick soon after the first big rain. They didn't get to build up their immunities and I medicated and all is well again. It's your choice but it isn't necessary as long as things stay dry and clean... for some reason these birds of mine still love to waddle into puddles till they have water up to their hocks and just stand in it!! NO wonder they got sick the first time, they must have ate tons of dirt with the protozoa for fun!
  6. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    I agree with James. Since the medicated feed isn't more expensive and the residual effect is so minor, it's worth the effort.

    Sick chickens and costly medicine to cure cooci isn't necessary with the use of proper feed, that is available today.


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