Medicated Chick Starter vs. Nonmedicated Chick Starter

Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by wornoutmomto3, Mar 5, 2015.

  1. wornoutmomto3

    wornoutmomto3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have not had issues with chicks dying in the past when using the non-medicated starter crumbles. This year I wanted to go the additional step of using the medicated after having such a rough winter. I wanted to get my chicks off to a great start. I special ordered several chicks that arrived happy and healthy. They were eating and drinking good. Five days later two got very weak and died. The next day I lost another. By the end of the week five chicks had died. After the fifth one died I switched them to a non medicated feed and haven't lost another since. What "exactly" is in the medicated feed that not in the non-medicated feed? And what do you think could have caused the fatalities?
     
  2. Soylent Chick

    Soylent Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Medicated feed contains amprolium. I've never read anything linking it to chick death though. Maybe the feed was contaminated ex. fungal, bacterial?
     
  3. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Amprolium is the medication. It should not have hurt the chicks unless they already had coccidiosis, they would have needed a higher dose. They probably died of something entirely different. A rough winter should not affect chicks in a proper brooder. I would call the hatchery and also investigate it's rep if your brooder is correct. Sorry for your babies [​IMG]
     
  4. LoveThemBirds

    LoveThemBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is awkward,maybe there were something wrong before?If there is something wrong with the feed,sll brands,all bags,then my chicks would have likely died,but it seems better to work for me,sorry for your losses!
     
  5. wornoutmomto3

    wornoutmomto3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The rough winter was on my main flock. I was just being overly cautious with the incoming chicks. This is our first spring at this house and with several other neighboring flocks, I was trying to be proactive in giving these chicks the best start possible. Happy, healthy hens lay more eggs than thin sickly ones, and I want my birds to be the happiest and the healthiest. [​IMG]

    You're right, though, it doesn't make sense. There were 15 active, eating, drinking, peeping, and pooping chicks in the brooder, doing great (so I thought), and now there are 10. I have been reassured that the parent stock is healthy. They were a little stressed from shipping, but settled in quickly. When given their first feed they jumped on it like a hungry bunch of Purana. They just seemed to go downhill very quickly. They would start acting weak(lethargic) and less than 24 hours later the chick would die. It may just be that the feed switch-over timing is coincidence, but I am finding myself unwilling to risk anymore chicks trying to use up the rest of the medicated feed. I have had no more fatalities since the switch. There is still over 30lbs of a 50lb bag left. I don't know exactly how much is left because I divide and label feed buckets so that isolated birds just joining the flock are not exposed to the main flock until after quarantine, and vise versa. Also, my cats like to tear open feed bags and scatter their contents everywhere. Each bucket can hold approximately 25lbs of feed and there is around a bucket and a half left.

    Is it possible that chicks could be developing an allergy to the amprolium? I don't know how else to describe it other than as an allergy. It is not something I have ever heard of, but I do have a dog that is allergic to wheat. So, I know that animals can have allergies.
     
  6. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not likely to be an allergy but it is entirely possible that the feed was contaminated. It happens more often than you would think. Were the chicks vaccinated for anything like MG, Mareks ect.? There are some illness that adult chickens are immuned to that can be transmitted horizontally or vertically to chicks. Sometimes they die before hatch and sometimes within a week or two after hatch. It is just so hard to know what the cause is, and very frustrating too! Were the chicks who died different breeds or all the same breed? If it was across different breeds, I would suspect the feed, or transport issues. If all the same breed, I would wonder about a transmission issue. *I'm no expert* just trying to help trouble shoot.... [​IMG]
     
  7. wornoutmomto3

    wornoutmomto3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    These special order chicks were vaccinated for Marek's. There were 15 chicks ordered with a total of 12 different breeds. I was going for variety within the flock.So, when I lost a chick that meant I lost an entire breed within my flock.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    It was not the Amprolium, assuming that Amprolium is the medicine in your medicated feed. It almost always in unless you by something meant more for meat birds. You can always check the label to make sure.

    How old were they when they started to die? Days? Weeks? Were they a hatchery order?

    Others have given you the most likely causes. A bag of contaminated feed is a possibility. Moldy feed would be the most likely culprit, but it could be some other contaminant. Millions of bags of feed are made every day, practically all of them fine. But things can happen. Mold means the feed got damp somewhere in the process, manufacture, storage or transportation. Could be your storage or it could have come that way. Did you store that feed in a container that was contaminated or maybe carry it in a contaminated container?

    Since you are in a new area and there are other chickens around, it is possible there is some disease there. I’m assuming you have other adult chickens of your own around and they are not showing any problems. Some flocks are infected with a disease but develop flock immunities. They don’t show any symptoms themselves but can infect other chickens. From what you describe it does not sound likely, but I guess it is possible.

    They are in a new brooder, one you haven’t used before. Was it wet? That can be unhealthy. Were you keeping the water clean? When you stopped the medicated feed, did you do anything else different? Maybe open up ventilation, switch bedding, or something like that. It’s hard to think that a brooder would cause something like that but think of anything else that changed when they stopped dying.

    Even when looking at them it is often hard to tell what is actually going on. I suspect it was something to do with the feed, either the feed itself or how it was handled. It was not the Amprolium in the feed. That would not cause this type of problem.

    Good luck with them.
     
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  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree with the above posters, it is unlikely that the losses were due to the fact that the feed was medicated. Likely causes would include diseases other than Mareks or feed contamination with either a mold or improperly manufactured feed.

    This is a very good thread regarding early chick death - https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/39604/some-causes-of-early-chick-mortality

    So sorry to hear about your losses!
     
  10. wornoutmomto3

    wornoutmomto3 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, that is a lot of questions. [​IMG] I am going to try and take one at a time. [​IMG]

    How old were they when they started to die?
    They arrived Wednesday morning and the first chick died Saturday.

    Were they a hatchery order?
    Yes, they came from Meyer Hatchery

    Did you store that feed in a container that was contaminated or maybe carry it in a contaminated container?
    I am almost 100% certain the storage containers were uncontaminated. I cleaned and sterilized everything a few days before the chicks arrived, ensuring everything was clean, dry, and ready.

    Personal flock?
    Yes, I have a small flock of adult birds. I have strict quarantine guidelines for new birds being introduced. Complete isolation from established flock: 30 day minimum for older juvenile and adult birds, 6-8 weeks for day-old chicks.

    They are in a new brooder, one you haven’t used before. Was it wet?
    These chicks were in a brand new, never been used by anything, brooder. I typically use a modified Rubbermaid tote, but I had ventilation and moisture concerns last spring. I found a different style brooder at a local, family owned feed store. It is more open with grating on four sides and the top with a solid bottom. (Think extra large modified hamster cage.) The brooder was cleaned, dried, and setup the night before the chicks arrived.

    Were you keeping the water clean?
    Feed and water was changed daily to keep it clean and fresh. Also, on the recommendation of some other more experienced chicken raisers. I added vitamins to the water for the first couple days. Vitamins have not been added since day three.

    When you stopped the medicated feed, did you do anything else different?
    Not that I can think of. The bedding is changed regularly, but all the bedding was purchased from the same location at the same time, and is stored in the same place. As far as I am aware the bedding was all from the same shipment as well. (They hadn't yet unloaded the shipment.) I am still using the bedding from that purchase.


    One thing I noticed about the chicks that died is that they stopped eating first and rapidly lost weight and condition before they passed.
     

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