Chick feed question

ChickChickHorray

Chirping
Mar 3, 2018
54
46
96
West Tn, Zone 7
Hi everyone! Newbie chicken keeper here! We’re starting our first flock this spring and are looking for some advice on feed. The place we ordered our chicks from vaccinates against mareks disease but not coccidiosis, so we got them vaccinated for mareks. Should we give them medicated feed when they arrive? I also heard you were supposed to wait an hour to feed the chicks once they came home, has anyone heard this? We want to be the best chick Moms for these little ones! Thanks all!
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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I've never heard about waiting to feed. The sooner chicks start eating and drinking, the healthier they will be.
You can opt for medicated feed. Many people do. I don't though. Coccidia oocysts can't survive in a dry environment so keeping the bedding bone dry and feeders at least half full is usually the only precaution you need.
I add probiotic powder to the chicks' first water so that helps with gastrointestinal pathogens by several different mechanisms.
I use Gro2Max, formulated specifically for chickens.
 

ChickChickHorray

Chirping
Mar 3, 2018
54
46
96
West Tn, Zone 7
I've never heard about waiting to feed. The sooner chicks start eating and drinking, the healthier they will be.
You can opt for medicated feed. Many people do. I don't though. Coccidia oocysts can't survive in a dry environment so keeping the bedding bone dry and feeders at least half full is usually the only precaution you need.
I add probiotic powder to the chicks' first water so that helps with gastrointestinal pathogens by several different mechanisms.
I use Gro2Max, formulated specifically for chickens.
Great, thank you!
 

blackdog043

Crowing
Feb 19, 2017
2,408
4,155
416
SE PA
I've never heard of waiting to feed chicks and I don't use medicated either. I use Nutri-Drench in their water for the first few days, this gives them a boost from their shipping trauma. Take one at a time out of the box and dip their beak in the water. Don't buy the feed to early, the mill date should be less than 4 weeks old.
 

ChickChickHorray

Chirping
Mar 3, 2018
54
46
96
West Tn, Zone 7
I've never heard of waiting to feed chicks and I don't use medicated either. I use Nutri-Drench in their water for the first few days, this gives them a boost from their shipping trauma. Take one at a time out of the box and dip their beak in the water. Don't buy the feed to early, the mill date should be less than 4 weeks old.
Great, thanks for the advice!
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,919
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middle TN
I always get chick feed the day before I get the chicks. Fresh matters more than the feed stores let on and the bags will be date stamped on the seam so make sure you check that. I've seen feed as old as 9 months still on the shelf. :rant

The bit about waiting to feed has to do with shipping--related dehydration and not loading the crop with dry food instead of water causing constipation and/or impaction. I know I read the same advice somewhere but not sure it's an actual problem as much as someone's hypothesis.

FWIW, I read a lot about medicated feed before deciding not to use it. It's one of those choices that has pretty strong opinions around it. I opted for early introduction to soil which is a less controlled version of a vaccination but it adds the benefit of directly targeting resistance to the specific strains in your soil. I have yet to experience a cocci outbreak but I know where I can buy Corid immediately and I wouldn't hesitate to do so if I suspected an issue.
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
6 Years
Feb 25, 2014
17,197
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My Coop
My Coop
Personally I want to be sure they are hydrated first. Shipped chicks are often beginning to become a bit dehydrated. So we get them out of the shipping box and put them in the brooder, and 9 times out 10 want to make sure that they get something to eat first thing. So dry chick eating dry food? Ever been thirsty and eat a soda cracker? Yeah, like that. Could be my imagination, but I don't really care. :lau Water first is what I prefer. And to be sure they get both, simply wet the food into a mash and put it down in a small jar lid or something that won't wick the water out of the food. It's easier for them to eat anyway because it's mashed so it's smaller. And wetter!

I don't put additives in their water. If they are healthy, that means that all of their immature digestive systems are in balance, so I don't see any point in giving them anything that could throw that balance off. If I have any suffering hatching or shipping stress, they get a shot of Nutri-drench directly. I put it on a Q-tip (because that stuff is MESSY) and put it against their beaks. When they open their little mouth to cheep, the Q-tip goes in and so does the Nutri-drench. I received an order of 15 Silkie chicks one time, and every one of them was suffering from severe shipping stress. That was the only time the entire waterer contained Nutri-drench, but I made sure they still had clean, fresh water available at the same time, and that was just for a couple of days, not for long term use.

I don't do medicated food either. When they are a couple of days old I toss a clump of sod out of the garden - roots, grasses, weeds, little bugs and all - into the brooder to give them an early exposure to what they'll be living on out there. If a mother hen was raising them, she'd have them out pecking in the dirt when they are just a couple of days old too. And I do that even though I raise my chicks outdoors in the run.

Good luck with your new adventure. And welcome to BYC!
 

ChickenCanoe

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Nov 23, 2010
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St. Louis, MO
That makes sense. The first thing I've always done when pulling chicks from the incubator or shipping box is to provide water and dip the beak if there aren't already some savvy tutor chicks in the brooder. I just never thought of it as waiting to feed.
 

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