grass clumps with dirt and roots in brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mhay1, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. mhay1

    mhay1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi,
    As a newbie to raising baby chicks I was so excited to read in some of the posts about putting a clump or two of grass, roots, dirt and all into the brooder to help prevent pasty butt, (had to deal with that on day 2). Out to the back yard I went and got 2 nice size clumps and put them into the brooder. All 15 of them loved it and seemed to be snacking on the grass right away!. But now I've read a couple of posts that refer to the possibility of newborns getting a clogged crop and possible getting coccidia? So I immediately took it out, they seemed so sad. Can someone please help me, grass dirt clump to do or not to do. I don't want to add any potential other dangers to their young lives, they are 1 week old now. They are getting non- medicated starter, no grit. I add probiotics and electrolytes to their water. Should I change any of this? Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    When introducing young birds to soil, always be sure to either feed medicated starter or have something on hand to treat coccidia. The reason you should give them some clumps of sod while still in the brooder is to introduce them to their adult environment, while they are still in the controlled setting of their brooder. It's easier to spot the signs of coccidia, and treat accordingly. And they get the benefit of developing their immune systems by gaining exposure, in the safest way possible. The soil will act as grit.
     
  3. mhay1

    mhay1 Out Of The Brooder

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    There seems to be several pros and cons to the grass with dirt in the brooders. We trying to go the organic route, so medicated starter would not be in that realm. It seems somewhat risky to introduce them to the soil if there's a chance they could get coccidia? I am definately torn, but If I do end up using grass clumps with dirt, other than the medicated feed, what do I need to have on hand and exactly what are the signs of coccidia?
    Thanks
     
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Medicated feed does not contain antibiotic type medicine. It contains a very low dose of thiamine blocker, that prevents the coccidia protozoa from overtaking the immune system. It does not linger in the tissues of the animal. If you don't want to offer medicated, at least for a week or two while they build up resistance, you must have some sort of coccidia treatment on hand. The most commonly used/available medication is Corid. It's the same thiamine blocker found in medicated feed, but you can dose at a higher concentration for already sick birds. There is no 'organic' or natural treatment for coccidiosis. It must be treated with thiamine blockers.
    Symptoms of coccidia include lethargy, not eating or drinking, or bloody stool.
    By exposing them early, you are giving them a head start. Giving them a chance to build their immune system while they are still in the brooder is a good thing. They will be exposed to coccidia sooner or later. If you've got wild animals/birds around your property, your soil has coccidia in it. It's a normal and even healthy part of a chicken's environment. Chickens develop a resistance to the strains they are exposed to. If you wait till they are moved out to the coop/run; not only will they be dealing with the organisms in the ground for the very first time, but they will be stressed from the sudden change in environment. That makes them even more likely to fall ill with coccidiosis.
     
  5. mhay1

    mhay1 Out Of The Brooder

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    That all makes good sense. I guess we were trying to stick with organic feed as it does not contain GMOs and I was told the the medicated feed does, however I have not fully investigated that claim. I will look into using the medicated starter if I use the grass with dirt. I am assuming to change out the grass and dirt everytime I clean their brooder?
    Thanks so much for the advice.
     
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    No problem. You don't need to feed them medicated for a long while. Just a week or two, to help protect them while they build up a natural resistance. Eating something with GMOs for a week or two, is not a that big a deal. It certainly is preferable to having all the chicks fall ill and die. Coccidiosis can kill chicks within 24 to 48 hours. It just makes more sense to give them a little boost in the form of medicated starter to help stave off a potential outbreak. If you keep with the organic feed, and you choose to wait to treat until they are showing symptoms, there is a real risk of losing a few or all.
    It's like the old saying goes, 'An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'.
     
  7. song of joy

    song of joy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    While there's always some risk of coccidiosis, I've chosen to use non-medicated, organic, non-GMO chick starter-grower. I raise my chicks in a partitioned area of the coop and usually introduce a clump of sod when they're about a week old. At that time, I also sprinkle chick grit in their food and on the coop floor to help them digest any vegetation they eat from the sod clump.

    At 3 weeks of age, I integrate them into the flock using a panic room with 5 x 7" doors. At that point, they begin free-ranging with the flock, having unrestricted access to sunshine, pasture, and bugs. So far, I've had no losses due to coccidiosis. The chicks learn foraging skills very early in life, and benefit from a wide range of natural foods.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  8. nharbison0722

    nharbison0722 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for all the advice in this thread! I never had read about introducing a clump of sod into the brooder until i saw it here! I'm on round two with baby chicks, as my first six are now outside full time. I have four new babies inside in the brooder and everything that's been said makes sense. I too was going the all natural and organic route, but I think if it helps to feed them a medicated feed for only a week or two to build their immunity, it might be well worth it. Again, I'm not expert by I do know I don't want anything bad to happen to my girls!
    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2016
  9. mhay1

    mhay1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Great advice, definitely has put my mind at ease, Thanks everyone. I was going to move my baby chicks into the coop in a partitioned area once the coop area is finished off with a secure fencing to prevent predators.
    Just curious, how often should I put a fresh piece of grass w/dirt in the brooder, daily or only offer it a few times a week? And do I need to disinfect the brooder and the waterer with the 9/1 ratio of water to bleach every time I change/clean it (I clean it daily or every other day depending on it's condition)? I've been rinsing it out thoroughly with water each time.
    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
  10. mhay1

    mhay1 Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016

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