Is medicated chick starter needed if they've never been around other chickens?

Shelly Chip

In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 4, 2013

I recently hatched my first two chicks. Do they need medicated chick starter if they have never been around other chickens?


Fred's Hens

Premium Feather Member
9 Years
The medication is simply amprolium. It is a anti coccidiosis med. Not an antibiotic. It works by starving cocci cysts of thiamine. The problem is with the medicated feed is that it isn't fool proof. Many strains of coccidiosis rip right through it. Hopefully, it buys you enough time to rush out and get Corid. Putting Corid in the water supply is much more effective.

Hope that answers your questions. BTW, a spotlessly clean brooder helps a lot. When it gets dicey is when you put the chicks out in a pen or out onto grass pasture. The wild birds carry the cocci everywhere. During rainy spells it seems to really flare up. When you are not aware, the chicks can bleed out in amazing speed. I say this not to scare you , but perhaps so you are forewarned and prepared to deal with it should your chicks experience an outbreak. It moves very quickly. The first sign of bloody stools or lethargy in chicks is a signal to move fast.


6 Years
Jul 24, 2013
Medicated feed is made for the prevention of Coccidiosis. Coccidiosis can be found nearly everywhere. It is found on the ground, in bird droppings, etc. Even if your birds are not put into contact with other chickens, they can still get the disease. If your chicks have any contact with the ground or their droppings, they can get Coccidiosis.

Some people do not use medicated feed, and do just fine. You just have to be extra careful about cleaning out the waterer often, removing wet litter, and gradually exposing your chicks to the outdoors. Any sudden changes to an enviroment that can harbor the Coccidiosis protozoa has the ability to make your chicks get the disease.

Medicated feed is not foolproof. Birds can still get Coccidiosis even if they are fed the feed. But, many people use it because it is one of he best preventative measures. I myself always used medicated feed.

You can use the unmedicated feed, but be extra aware to any signs of Coccidiosis (droopines, sleepiness, bloody diahrea, lack of appetite). Also, know where to get Corid in case your chicks get Coccidiosis. Be prepared to act quickly, as Coccidiosis can be quite dangerous and deadly if not noticed soon enough.

I hope your chicks do well!
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7 Years
Aug 19, 2012
Los Angeles
x2 great info from Fred. The medicine in the feed is usually amprolium and is for cocci which has to do with parasites found in the soil/environment and does not have to do with being around other chickens. Whether or not to use it is a personal choice. Some do some don't. I would recommend reading about how it works and then deciding if it's right for you or not. Like Fred said it is a preventative and not a perfect cure.

Good luck!


6 Years
Jun 19, 2013
I had some chicks in a brooder that got cocci at about 3 weeks old. They had not been in contact with other birds, nor had they been outside at all. I don't know whether the original feed they had for the first 2 weeks was medicated as i bought it loose, but the last week they were on unmedicated because that is more common here in uk. The brooder had been used before but never had a cocci outbreak and had been cleaned between use. It is hard to get corid In the uk and it was a bank holiday weekend, I lost 5 chicks before I managed to get hold of the treatment. I now have 2 bottles ready and put it into the chicks water just in case - better safe than sorry.


10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
California, central valley
It's also a very good idea for anyone who is raising chicks to just go ahead and buy the Corid to have on hand. It always seems like you will catch an outbreak when stores are closed or you cannot otherwise get the meds for whatever reason. It's best to have it on hand since time is of the essense in treating, a few hours can mean the difference between life and death for chicks.
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