1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Chick Questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BarredBuff, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. BarredBuff

    BarredBuff Songster

    Dec 6, 2009
    1. Can chicks go on a layer's ration at eight weeks?
    2. Can these chicks be mixed in with the big hens without problems?
    3. If I have them vaccinated for coccidiosis and marek do they have to be on medicated feed?
    4. When will the cockerels begin to fight?
    5. When can they have scratch grains?
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009

  2. newchickmom09

    newchickmom09 Songster

    Jul 15, 2009
    Quote:1. No, they need to stay on medicated chick starter until they are at least 8 weeks (age should be listed on the bag of feed, it can vary) then they should be switched over to grower/finisher feed until they are at least 18 weeks old. If you don't have that avaiable then keep them on the starter until at least 18 weeks old. The extra calcium that is in layer feed can/will hard the younger chicks.

    2. No, they probably will fight and peck at the chicks. It is better to keep them seperated until the chicks are big enough to be able run and defend themselves, probably around 10 weeks old. They will still get pecked at so they can establish there new pecking order.

    3. Normaly you can only get chicks vaccinated for mareks disease. Then you feed them the medicated chick starter feed to get there immune systems built up against coccidiosis. That is why you need to feed them the medicated chick starter.

    4. So might start young like 8 week and some might start at 20 weeks once they mature. Then you might have some that don't fight and rather not. All depends on the breed and the individual chicken.

    5. I would wait to give them scratch after they are 8 weeks old. You really want them filling up on there chick feed, that has all of the vitamins and nutrients that they need to grow and thrive. You don't want them filling up on scratch instead, that doesn't have to may nutrients. It is like giving a child a bunch of cookies before dinner.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I'll try a few of these.

    1. Can chicks go on a layer's ration at eight weeks?

    Not recommended. Layer has extra calcium in it which can harm internal organs. Not that it definitely will harm them, but it can. Some people feed grower to the entire flock and offer oyster shell on the side to deal with this situation. This link goes through different feeds and may help you.

    Oregon State Feeding Chickens

    2. Can these chicks be mixed in with the big hens without problems?

    Probably not. Some people do manage it but you are taking a real chance. Most chickens are natural bullies and will pick on any one that is weaker than them so they can maintain their position in the pecking order. When they go through establishing a pecking order and find out how weak these chicks really are, there is a pretty good chance they will kill some of them. If you have a lot of room, have a place the chicks can get away from the full grown chicks, you happen to have mellow chickens, and are extremely lucky, you might be able to pull it off. I do not recommend trying. I also have a link I find extremely good that discusses this in detail.

    Buff HooliganÂ’s Adding to your flock

    3. If I have them vaccinated for coccidiosis and marek do they have to be on medicated feed?

    First, medicated feed has absolutely no effect on Marek's or Marek's vaccination. Two totally different things.

    You need to read the feed label and find out what the "medicated" part is. It is probably Amprol, Amprolium, something similar, so I'll assume this is what it is. Could be something different. Amprol is something that limits the ability of the protazoa that causes cocci to breed in the chickens digestive system. There are several (I think 7) different protazoa that causes cocci in chickens. Chickens develop immunity to these over time by having some in their system. Cocci becomes a problem when the number of these protazoa gets out of hand. Amprol does not stop the protazoa from reproducing in their system, just reduces it. Chicks need a certain amount of these protazoa to develop that immunity. Immunity to one type of protazoa does not give immunity to all types by the way. And some are stronger than others.

    There may be different vaccinations for cocci. I suspect here are, but then again I don't know what different hatcheries use. I exchanged e-mails with MvMurray Hatchery on this subject. I do not claim that this applies to any other hatchery. You need to detemine that yourself if you get them vaccinated for cocci. And this e-mail was a point in time. McMurray may have changed cocci vaccines since then. Here are excerpts form the emails. I really appreciate the response from McMurray.

    Does your coccidiosis vaccination protect against all strains of chicken cocci or just the more common ones?

    We use Coccivac-B manufactured by Schering-Plough Animal Health. You can find more information about the vaccine at the Schering-Plough Website.

    Which medicated feeds nullify the vaccine? I'm looking for the active ingredients like Amprolium, not brand names.

    Any coccidiostat, including amprolium, will nullify the vaccine.

    Do you immunize in the shell or after hatch?

    We spray the chicks after your order is boxed.

    Are you aware of any organic certifying agencies that consider this vaccination to be organic? I think it is at least considered "drug free".

    According to Iowa organic rules you can vaccinate within the first 3 days of life. You would need to check with your certifying agency to see what their rules are.

    Lucien A (Bud) Wood
    Murray McMurray Hatchery, Inc.

    So to answer your question, if they are vaccinated for cocci, they should not be on medicated feed. I think the first two weeks after the vaccinantion are the most critical, but I am not sure. And from what I've read, i don't think thye shoud receive any antibiotic during those first two weeks either. And according to what I read, the Coccivac-B only protects against three of the different types of protazoa that cause cocci, not all types. As you can probably tell, this can get a little complicated. If you get your chicks vaccinated for cocci through a hatchery, I suggest you contact them yourself to see the suggestions for the vaccine they use.

    4. When will the cockerels begin to fight?

    Depends on the specific individuals. There are two different types of fighting. One is the general pecking order within the flock. All chickens, cockerels and pullets, roosters and hens, will develop a pecking order which may involve varying levels of fighting or just pecking and intimidation. This is worse the older they are when they are mixed. Some individuals can get through this with no or minimal difficulties. With some, it is a fight to the death.

    Then there is the determination of flock dominance, usually between roosters but sometimes involving hens. (Rarely, but it does happen.) Roosters, like herd bulls, or wolf or dog pack alphas, have an inate desire to be the leader of the flock, herd, or pack. Some will fight to the death to achieve this. Often, two roosters will fight, one will establish dominance, and the two or three or however many will form a partnership to defend the flock, each with assigned roles. If they are raised together, either as brood mates or in a father-son type enviromnment, the odds of forming this partnership instead of fighting to the death are greatly improved. It is no guarantee but it does help.

    Establishing a pecking order starts the day they are put together, for chicks this is as soon as they are hatched. The flock dominance depends on their maturity. Mine were raised together in the same brooder and coop. The roosters sorted out the flock dominance and formed the partnership without serious fighting. That does not happen all the time.

    5. When can they have scratch grains?

    As soon as they have grit. They need grit to grind up the grains in their gizzards. You also need to make sure the scratch is small enough for them to handle if you give it to chicks. Now, when they should have scrtach grains is an entirely different question and many of us have different opinions. I never gave mine scratch grains and still don't even though they are grown, other than some sweet scrap corn from my garden. Chicks raised with their mothers and allowed to free range will eat scratch grains (grass seeds) from day one. If you are raising them in a brooder and giving them all their feed, my suggestion is to limit any treats to a fairly small portion of their diet so they get a balanced nutritional diet.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!!!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by