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Medicated Feed Or Non-Medicated Feed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Coturnix Quail, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. Coturnix Quail

    Coturnix Quail Songster

    Jul 3, 2016
    This is my first time raising chickens! But as I'm researching for feed, I dont really know what to choose, medicated or non-medicated feed? What are the benefits f medicated feed? And whats the difference?? Also, what feed brand should I choose? I'm looking at Purina. Thanks!

  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Your choice. Many of us opt to not use medicated feed. The medication in the feed is Amprolium which is a Thiamine blocker. It blocks the uptake of Thiamine in the cocci protozoan to prevent it from replicating. While Amprolium is deemed harmless for the chick, I choose not to put it into my chick's system. If it's blocking Thiamine in the cocci, could it be doing the same in the chick as well? I've never used medicated feed, and never had issues with coccidiosis.

    There are plenty of natural ways to prevent coccidiosis: First of all, give them a dry environment. Keep your waterer above or equal to the height of a standing chick's back. Set it up so the chicks can't kick shavings into the water, which will then wick the water out onto the floor. Secure the waterer so they can't tip it over. Second: Give them a stress free environment (don't over heat them, don't crowd them) The best way to keep them stress free IMO is by using a heating pad to brood them instead of a heat lamp. Chicks benefit from the heating pad as it closely mimics the heat and security provided by a broody hen. This is a sharp contrast to the harsh 24/7 light provided by a heat lamp. Third: give them plenty of opportunity to engage in normal chicken behavior. Fourth: build their immune systems.

    I'm attaching a response to a previous post in response to a member who was concerned about her chicks eating shavings. I think a lot of this information is applicable to your new flock.

    I think the issue that folks report of chicks eating pine shavings is behavior based. First, like any baby, chicks explore the world with their mouths. I've seen them pick up shavings and carry them around. They even play keep away with them. Second, they will instinctively be looking for tidbits of food in the litter. Chickens were created to use those feet to scratch up their breakfast, lunch and supper. Third, they are hard wired to be looking to put something in their gizzards. If they don't have access to grit, they'll be looking to the shavings to fill that instinct.

    Initially, I like to sprinkle a bit of feed on paper towels, or a piece of cardboard right outside and some even inside their Mama heating pad cave during the first few days. In addition to that, I put out a traditional chick feeder full of starter crumble, and an other very small container of fermented feed. Just like babies like to play with their food, chicks seem to do the same. They will have a stomping party in their FF. Initially, they look like they've been in a food fight when they get going. It's super important to keep that FF on the thick side, and in a very small container so they don't get mired in it, or trampled into it. I give them enough time on paper towels to learn what the feed is, what it looks like, and where to find it. Then, I take away the paper towels, and leave them with the pine shavings which were put into the brooder first. I do not change out the shavings. Simply keep them dry, and add more shavings on top as needed. If starting a second brood of chicks, I would start them on the shavings left behind by the first brood. Studies show that subsequent broods of chicks grow faster than previous broods, simply b/c they colonize their guts faster.

    You can meet all of the three needs I mentioned in the first paragraph by giving them a plug of sod from your yard. I dig a chunk that is about the size of a small pie plate. You don't want the grass in that chunk to be super long. But, when it's left intact with the roots, they will snip off the right size bits to enjoy. Place the chunk upside down. It gives them: First grit. Opportunity to dig and search for morsels of food, including first greens and insects, worms, and seeds, First dust bath. Minerals. And infinite play opportunities. YES CHICKENS PLAY! That's one of the reasons why I stress giving your babies a nice big brooder, and giving them a natural brooding experience with the heating pad cave.

    An often overlooked issue when brooding chicks is the benefit of exposure to the natural bacteria, fungi, and other microscopic organisms in your soil. The soil they ingest will jump start their guts by giving them a healthy dose of beneficial organisms. And they will also be exposed to the natural cocci in your soil. Don't panic! Cocci are found in all soils, and are actually a natural flora in the chicken gut. It's only when they outnumber the good guys that they cause illness. In the first 2 weeks after hatch, the chick has her strongest immune system, which is received from her mother, much the same way that human babies receive immunity to various diseases from their mothers. So, use that window of opportunity wisely by giving your chicks every advantage to develop a strong immunity, which begins in the gut.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017
  3. I personally use medicated feed.....little chicks are highly susceptible to coccidiosis which can kill them.... I use medicated till 8 weeks......

  4. Coturnix Quail

    Coturnix Quail Songster

    Jul 3, 2016
    Thanks! I'm still deciding what to use..
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I've never used feed medicated for cocci.
    Bought a packet of Corid powder as a nervous newbie to have on hand just in case.
    4 years and 6 batches of chicks later, never had to open it.
  6. Coturnix Quail

    Coturnix Quail Songster

    Jul 3, 2016
    Wow thanks! I just hope if I use non med that they won't get cocci.[​IMG]
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    It might help to understand some information about the bugs that cause Cocci. There are several different strains of protozoa that can cause a problem with Cocci. If a chick is exposed to one of these protozoa for two to three weeks, it develops an immunity to that specific strain. The others can still harm the chicken if they are later exposed to it, immunity to one strain does not give immunity to all. So exposure to the bugs in your dirt is a good thing.

    The problem is not when the chicks are exposed to the bug, the problems come in when the numbers of bugs get out of hand. That bug thrives in warm moist conditions, especially when poop is present. The greatest risk is on the US Gulf Coast, for example, more than further north where it is cooler and drier. Still, a warm wet brooder is dangerous. A wet area around a waterer can be dangerous. So don’t get complacent because you are not on the Gulf Coast.

    Technically it’s not an egg but for simplicity’s sake I’ll call it an egg. It’s close enough. The bug lives in the chicken’s gut and “lays eggs”. If these pass out the chick’s rear end into a warm wet environment, after two days the egg can infect a new chicken if it is eaten. Or, more importantly it can “hatch” in a chick already infected. This is how the numbers typically get out of hand. The chick pecks away at the wet warm area and ingests a large number of these eggs. When they hatch out inside the chick, the gut gets overwhelmed. Then it can kill.

    That bug can also thrive in water that has poop in it. We use different kinds of waterers. If you use a waterer that the chicks can poop in, it’s really important to empty that water totally every two days at least to interrupt that bug’s life cycle. Every day is better but every other day can work. Dumping it every other day also interrupts the life cycle of mosquitoes that could breed in that water.

    I always suggest you read the label to see what the active ingredient is in medicated feed. In the vast majority of medicated feed we buy it’s going to be Amprolium, but there are a few out there with other ingredients. In the dosage in medicated feed, the Amprolium does not kill the bug, it inhibits that bugs’ reproduction. It allows a few to reproduce so the chick can gain immunity but it helps a lot to restrict the number of bugs that finds their way back into that chick’s system to help reduce the chance of an overload. That does not mean you can allow your brooder to be a wet poopy mess if you feed medicated feed, you can still have serious problems.

    If you have one or more of those strains of the bug in your flock it remains in your flock forever. You are not going to eradicate it. But if they have immunity it is not a problem.

    One common Cocci problem on this forum is that someone feeds medicated feed when the chicks are in the brooder but stop feeding it once the chicks hit the ground. If the bug is not present in the brooder, that has done no good at all. It doesn’t hurt the chicks but it doesn’t help them develop immunity. If that ground is wet, and especially if older chickens with the bug ore pooping in that wet run, the chicks soon get enough bugs to be overwhelmed. They don’t have immunity.

    The way I raise my brooder raised chicks is to keep the brooder really dry and keep the water clean so the bug cannot reproduce. Every two or three days I feed them some dirt from the run where the adults are. This gets grit into their system. It gets any probiotics the adults may have into their system. It also allows the chicks to develop immunity to whatever Cocci bugs are present so they are protected when they hit the ground. I do not feed them medicated feed, I just haven’t had a need for it.

    There is nothing wrong with feeding medicated feed with Amprolium to your chicks. It does not hurt them. If you have a history of Cocci problems it’s probably a good idea. But if you feed medicated feed when that bug is not present, it is not doing you any good at all. Like any tool, use it as you are supposed to.
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