Chick Starter: Medicated or Not?

Uncle Marc

8 Years
Oct 12, 2011
Poplar Grove Kentucky
Okay guys, getting pretty close to having the coop ready for the brooder box and then it's time to go get the chicks and bring them home.

So after studying all the construction methods, coop designs and breaking my back building the coop, I'm on to another topic which is the care and feeding of my chicks.

Looking around I wanted to get the most up to date info possible. So which should it be, medicated or non-medicated chick starter?

And, since they will be outside in the cold coop but under a heat lamp, is there anything else I should get other than a feed trough, a chick waterer, a few little roosts, newspaper for the floor, a thermometer and the feed?

Treats, grit, scratch, toys?

Thanks for all your help. This is a real kick.

P.S. Don't forget to check out the latest video on my page, to see the coop getting done.
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8 Years
Apr 21, 2011
Katy, TX
The decision to use medicated starter or not is really up to you. Some people swear by it, others refuse to use it, preferring more natural solutions. I grew up using medicated chicken starter and teramyacin (sp?) in their water for the first couple days (regular water after that).

Grit, scratch and treats should probably wait until they are at least a month old, maybe longer.

Good luck!


11 Years
May 6, 2011
No toys, no grit, no scratch. I do however use medicated feed for the first month or two. It can't hurt. Once the medicated feed is gone i immediately switch to starter/grower feed.

If you had grit with them, they will eat it like food and won't actually eat the real food. This will block them up and just create a whole load of problems. Wait a month to give them grit.

Scratch is too big for them right now. They can barely eat the medicated crumbles i give them when they are born.

For the first two days, i wouldn't even bother putting food in with them. They are still absorbing their yolk and living off that. They don't need food just yet. They do need water though.

Don't even bother with roosts. They won't roost until they are older. I have some that are 4 months and still refuse to roost.


Dogwood Trace Farm
8 Years
Jun 3, 2011
Middle Tennessee
I use medicated feed. When I finish up the first bag, I switch to non-medicated. I also add apple cider vinegar to their water (1 Tablespoon per gallon). No grit, no treats until they're much older. After the first couple weeks I put a small perch in the brooder box. It's only about 6-8 inches high. They love jumping/flying up to it - it's good exercise and gives them something to do. I also put a clear plastic bowl - top down with a cut-out on opposite sides - like a tunnel. Some of them seem to really enjoy that, too - whether it's a feeling a safety being under something or whether it's just something else to do. Who knows? But they scurry all around the brooder - through the "tunnel" and up on the little perch.

I have my brooder out in my unheated chicken barn. So I put very thick pine shavings on the brooder floor to provide some insulation - along with heavy-duty cardboard around the perimeter to help hold in the warmth from the heat lamps. I cover the pine shavings with paper towels the first few days, though.

Good luck with your chicks!


Dogwood Trace Farm
8 Years
Jun 3, 2011
Middle Tennessee
I meant to add that I think having the short perch in the brooder pen so early - they get used to it, and it makes it easier to get them to roost on the roosting poles when they're older. At least that has worked well for me in the few groups of chicks I've raised so far.


8 Years
Dec 30, 2011
Lawrence, KS
My Coop
My Coop
Even though I'm not getting my chicks till March, I went ahead and shopped around today and bought some starter feed and chick feeders and waterers. The only starter feed they had was medicated, so I really didn't get a choice. I've read on here that medicated isn't really necessary, but I'm going to plan on putting in some soil within the first few weeks so they can start getting antibodies to whatever might be in our ground. I figured this wouldn't hurt at all and they'll enjoy digging around and learning how to dust bathe!


8 Years
May 28, 2011
Foothills of NC
If your chicks are immunized against Cocci, DO NOT give medicated chick starter or it will negate the immunization. I use Purina medicated chick crumbles and have had excellent results and have no plans to change that.


Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
I'm in the medicated chick starter camp. The important thing about the medication is that it is not an antibiotic, but an anti-cocci agent. It helps the chick develop resistance to cocci, which is in the soil nearly everywhere. It would be a waste if you only fed medicated feed whilst the chicks are in the brooder and stopped feeding it to them when they "hit the ground," so to speak.

I made that mistake just once, keeping chicks in my ginormous brooder for ten instead of eight weeks. (Winter time, nasty, rainy, they were better off in the brooder.) But I changed them to grower right on schedule at 8 weeks. They hit the ground without ever having encountered cocci during their "build resistance" period and by then they were off the medicated feed. I lost more than 10 birds.

Usually I introduce chicks to the world outside in a separation grow-out coop and pen of their own, with medicated feed until they are at least 8 weeks old, ofttimes as much as 12 weeks.


10 Years
Jan 25, 2013
Sorry, my phone went to the wrong thread on this one:D. meant to post somewhere else
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