Chicks balk at introduction of medicated feed

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by SueT, May 6, 2017.

  1. SueT

    SueT Chicken Obsessed

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    I have spent a couple hours reading thru forums on medicated vs. non-medicated chick feed.
    My 6 chicks are 5 weeks old, and have been eating Purina flock raiser, (not medicated) which I ferment for them. I just moved them to the coop yesterday and tomorrow I will let them into the run. The run has been used for 2 years by other chickens and there have been a lot of wild birds in there as well. And it has rained 14" in the past 2 weeks.

    What I have concluded from reading the forums is that this situation will definitely expose them to the cocci parasite, and the feed will prevent coccidiosis. Why not take the precaution? I bought a small bag. They hate it. I tried fermenting some of it. They picked at it. They love the unmedicated feed dry or fermented. So now what? Do I force them thru hunger to eat the medicated feed, or do I abandon it?
    Thanks in advance for your words of wisdom!
  2. eggbert420

    eggbert420 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2017
    Try mixing it .
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    In My opinion if your chicks are 5 weeks old it is already too late for them to get the full benefit of so called "MEDICATED" chick feed.

    Medicated chick feed doesn't contain ANY medicine at least in the sense that we humans view medicine.

    Fortified chick feed is a better term.
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Have you been giving your chicks sod or soil from your yard during the past 5 weeks? If so, that would have allowed them to develop the immunity. I guess I'd let them eat their regular feed, and keep a watchful eye.
  5. SueT

    SueT Chicken Obsessed

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Thanks i didn't know about giving sod in the beginning, just learned that. I replaced the medicated with their normal feed and they happily ate the whole bowl of fermented, then a bunch of the dry. I'm not going to trying mixing it as I'm afraid they'll beak it all out on the floor looking for the good stuff.
    This is my third batch of chicks and the others did do alright without medicated feed. So, as advised, I'll just keep a watchful eye....
    And if there's a next time,, I'm going to let a hen raise the chicks...
  6. SueT

    SueT Chicken Obsessed

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    I was just thinking, no I didn't give them soil or sod BUT, all the shavings I have been using in their brooder/cage I raked up off of the ground where my husband cuts up logs. So there was surely small amts of soil in it. Also I gave them little slices and chunks of logs to climb on, some of which had actually been in the chicken run a long time. So maybe that has helped, I hope so.
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Chickens hate changes in feed (or anything) and will resist eating new stuff. If you ever need to make a food change, mix the new with the old, so it's not a big deal for them. Hopefully you don't have a big problem with coccidiosis, and can continue with Flock Raiser. Watch for any signs of GI upset, so you can treat immediately if needed. You can have fecals checked at the veterinarian's to be sure. Mary
  8. SueT

    SueT Chicken Obsessed

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Well yesterday was their first day in the run. They practiced going in and out and spent about half their time outside. They have about 100 sq. ft. Anyway, we shall see how they fare with microorganisms. Here's something I tried this morning. I have this little parakeet feeder thing...I found that if I put the chick grit in it they'd go crazy for it and eat too much, whereas if the grit is on the ground, they eat a reasonable amt. The previous batch of chicks did the same thing. There's something about the little feeder that appeals to them. So, lightbulb moment --I filled it with medicated feed, and everyone wanted to try it out! With gusto. They crowded in and ate half the tube before walking away. I realize that isn't a lot of feed for six chicks, but it's something. I'll keep refilling it if they keep eating it.
    They ate the whole amt by noon and i refilled it.
    Last edited: May 8, 2017
  9. carldaugh

    carldaugh Just Hatched

    May 14, 2016
    Holopaw, Florida
    I agree with chickengeorgeto.... medicated food is just fortified food. If you want to do a preventative routine, I suggest you research the benefits of numerous herbs that are natural solutions to disease and other nasty intestinal issues that may arise. Things like oregano, basil, parsley, dill are all good choices to start out with. Limit the amount of Basil for egg layers as to much will turn eggs yolks a bright orange. Also raw peeled pumpkin seeds (AKA- Papitas) ground up (small enough to eat) and placed in their food is a natural de-wormer.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    How about some facts so you can make an informed decision. First check the label on the medicated feed so you know what the ”medicine” is. Odds are tremendously high that it is Amprolium, it almost always is, so I’ll talk about Amprolium. If it happens to be something else then obviously what I’m saying doesn’t apply.

    Amprolium is not an antibiotic. It is a thiamine blocker that helps prevent the bug that causes cocci form reproducing. It does not kill that bug, it does not upset the digestive balance by killing other flora and fauna that lives in their digestive system. It targets the bug that causes cocci.

    Having that bug in their system is a good thing. After two to three weeks of continuous exposure the chicken develops an immunity to that specific strain of cocci. There are several different strains of bugs that can cause cocci, immunity to one does not give immunity to all. But if they are exposed to the ones in your ground they will develop an immunity to the one or ones you are most worried about.

    The problem comes when the numbers of that bug get out of hand. Often that comes about because of excess moisture in the ground or your water is dirty. Part of that bug’s life cycle includes a couple of days in wet muddy manure-infested ground, like you have in your run where the adults are pooping in wet weather. A dirty waterer can do the same thing. The chicken eats a lot of those bugs’ eggs (technically called oocysts) after they’ve spent those two days getting ready and the numbers get out of hand when they hatch inside the chicken.

    The dosage in the medicated feed is set up so it does not totally stop the reproduction of that bug. It allows a few to reproduce so they can get that continuous exposure and develop immunity. Medicated feed is not good for treating an outbreak, the dosage is too low, but it can help reduce the chances of an outbreak by reducing the numbers. The way you are feeding it now though, I doubt they are getting a high enough dosage to do much if any good.

    It’s too late for you this time, but you might be doing this again. The way I raise mine is to feed them dirt from the adult chicken run while they are in the brooder. I start about their second day in the brooder and give them some more every three or four days so they get a continual supply. I also keep my brooder really dry. By the time mine hit the ground they have the immunities they need. The chicks raised by my broody hens get a supply just by following her. I do not use medicated feed. By feeding them dirt from the run they also get grit in their system and any probiotics the adults have.

    I don’t know how wet you are right now, you got more rain than I did from that last system that went through. And we are supposed to get some more rain in a couple of days. I don’t know how much immunity they may or may not have picked up from those shavings or logs. Probably not a lot if you kept the water clean and the brooder pretty dry.

    My main suggestion is to watch them for signs of cocci and treat at the first sign, probably with Corid. That’s also Amprolium, but at a much higher dosage. By signs I don’t just mean bloody poop, a lot of cases do not turn the poop bloody. The signs I’d look for is one or more to start acting lethargic and swelling and fluffing up, just standing around not looking healthy. Once it gets to that stage it can move pretty quickly.
    SueT likes this.

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