Growing organically/Naturally Questions!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Chicken7777, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. Chicken7777

    Chicken7777 Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    North Jersey
    Hi, i just ordered my first batch of chicks and i am happy with what i ordered....There are some things i would like to know since i am not sure about with raising chickens.

    One things is how can i be able to raise chickens organically or naturally because i have heard about feed that contains medicines, and other components that are not only organic or natural. I would like to know what feed or mixture doesnt contain the medicines if possible(what and why do they add the medicines??) and how can i be able to tell??

    Also i did tell Ideal hatchery to give the chicks maricks disease vaccination and i just wanted if that was a wise decision. because the lady who assisted me said that well it wont matter if its a couple of chicks, or if its in your area.....I dont want to take risks either way....[​IMG] but i wanted to know does this vaccination have any side effects in broiler chickens (Do they still add this vaccination even though chicken producers say they dont add hormones or antibiotics since its against the law) and if they are vaccinated would they still be organic/natural in a way??

    Has anyone grown their chickens naturally or organically??

    Also besides organic what type of feed am i supposed to give to chicks once i receive them? and for layers and broilers once they are grown??
    Well i appreciate the help here...Thanks much!
  2. banter

    banter Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    Organic feed can be pricey. Can you range? Our whole property and garden is organic. I do use scratch feed and pells but my birds get half their diet as range in season, and another 25% as organic food scraps. They are healthy, with no diseases so far. WE are lucky to have pure water (we live 3 miles from Poland Springs, and have the same water source), and they get lots of fresh air and sunshine. You must be careful of predators, but I'm finding my birds to be quite wary. The Roos help a lot!
  3. Chicken7777

    Chicken7777 Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    North Jersey
    Well i also have a garden and its organic so no problem with that i can give them food that i harvest also. But my concern is also the maricks disease vacc, do you still need it in small flocks? i dont want to risk having none of my chicks die. Well thanks!
  4. banter

    banter Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    I have raised 100% of my chickens from hatching eggs and I'm very isolated so I have not inoculated. Research it-there is info on this site.
  5. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Medicated chick feed contains stuff to (hopefully) prevent cocci protozoa illness in chicks. If you want to try to do without it, I read very recently that garlic and especially cayenne seem to work nearly as well. Some members here also 'innoculate' their chicks by giving them a bit of dirt to nibble. I am not sure how this works. Hauen't had chicks yet.
  6. momofdrew

    momofdrew Songster

    What is with the dirt to nibble??? is it to immunize from cocci or maricks
    is the germ/protozoa in the soil???
  7. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Too many people get hung up on the organic labels. We developed medications for a reason. Sometimes there isn't a strong enough remedy or immune system in nature to combat an illness. Wild animals die a lot from illness. Sometimes medications are necessary. There is a risk with everything though. Even with herbal or holistic approaches there are potential side effects and toxicity warnings. I've seen times where the organic approach was not actually in the animal's best interest and I've heard some horror stories from people who have butchered animals that were never dewormed in an area that needed it. But I'm also one of the first to step up and say we're using too many antibacterial products and over vaccinating.

    You have to decide for yourself what is healthiest for your animals but personally I find a minimum of medications and chemical pest control necessary. Methods needed to lessen parasite and illness without chemicals or meds are often much more time consuming and sometimes require a lot more land for things like pasture rotation than some people have. I started my first batch of chicks with medicated chick starter because I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't know what a sick chick looked like, exactly what led to cocci, the symptoms, or how to treat it. So I took the precautions against it by using medicated. By my 3rd hatch I had things better figured out and had phased out the medicated feed on the ones from the 2nd hatch. Now working on my 4th hatch with some nearly grown chickens I have an idea what they need and what healthy chickens are like so I'm considering branching out into a more organic setup and growing some of my own food. No matter what I do I will still probably rely on the occasional chemical dewormer and antibiotics for any injured or ill animals. That just seems responsible to me. Outlawing antibiotics completely would lead to a lot more dead animals and humans. Moderation and making intelligent choices on when to use something or not is what's important.

    Cocci is everywhere in the environment. All soil has it and any place there are bird droppings.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2008
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Alot of folks don't get the vaccines, or use medicated feed. You can get feed that isn't medicated but it may not be organic. If you don't want to pay alot for feed, this may be the best way for you.

    My chicks have done very well on nonmedicated laying illnesses and they are growing like weeds!

    (Yeah, yeah, not supposed to feed laying mash to chicks...I've heard it and choose to ignore it to the fullest.) [​IMG]
  9. d.k

    d.k red-headed stepchild

    * Lol- Like I said, I'm not sure how the dirt works. You'll haue to ask Miss Prissy. (At least, I THINK I read it from Miss Prissy!!)
  10. flagday76

    flagday76 In the Brooder

    Mar 7, 2008
    Carthage NY
    Hi! I can help you with this topic...something I know a lot about!

    Most people are unaware that there is a huge difference between 'natural' and 'organic'. If something is labeled as or referred to as being 'natural', this means there are very few if any additives such as preservatives, and it has been minimally processed. This does not imply the product is 'organic'. In order to be 'organic', the product must adhere to strict growing, manufacturing, processing and handling standards. In a nutshell, 'organic' means the products are grown and produced without the use of conventional methods such as pesticides, artificial fertilizers, sludge (HUMAN WASTE>>>YUCK!), growth hormones (illegal in poultry), radiation, food additives, antibiotics, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), etc. All the stuff we don't think of, but if we knew about, wouldn't want in our food.

    This is where it gets tricky. Some items and products can be sold as organic without having to be certified, others have to be certified for different states, some products can be partially organic but still carry the organic label, etc.

    Now, having said all that (and that's not much-ado concerning 'organic'...)

    My mother and I both feed our chickens USDA certified organic feed. She runs a small free-range-organic egg business (currently in the beginning phase of certification), and I have chickens for showing and fun. Currently, our feed store charges $22.50 for a 50# bag of organic layer pellets and $25.05 (not sure what difference the $0.05 makes in the price, but whatever:rolleyes:) for a 50# bag of chick starter. We are by no means rich, but let me tell you the difference it makes in the quality of the eggs and the birds themselves. Not only does it make for great eating eggs, I can see a difference in the quality of the chicks I hatch out. And the feather quality in the birds is outstanding. All of them have an amazing sheen and silky feel...yes, even the silkies feel silkier!

    I hatched four batches of eggs this year from our own stock, and had no problems with either the hatching nor with the brooding of the chicks (great hatch rate, no slow-to-thrive, deformities, deaths, etc.). Just for fun, I thought I'd hatch two more batches with eggs I traded some guineas and other chickens for. Out of these two batches, (with all other factors being constant), I had slow-to-hatch chicks, chicks with deformities, three with yolk not fully absorbed/belly not fully closed (not fun:(), two died soon after hatching, etc. I am in no way condemning others for how they feed their birds (IT IS EXPENSIVE TO FEED ORGANIC), I am just making an observation based on my experiences and research.

    If anyone would like, I can post some links to great sites about going 'organic'.[​IMG]

    Please note, I am not trying to suggest that conventional feed is any better/worse for someone else, because we are all in this 'chicken thing' for different reasons and we all have different situations. I respect others' right to feed their chickens what they want. I'm just presenting some information and assistance if anyone wants it.

    Thanks and hope this helps![​IMG]

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