Medicated feed or not?


May 7, 2015
Crown King, Arizona
We are very new to raising chicks and have 4 Wyandotte and 5 Buff Orpington. We had them vaccinated for Mercks. Theyre 2 1/2 wks old and have been feeding them an organic, medicated chick starter. Is it necessary to feed them medicated starter?
We live in the mountains of northern AZ and have lots of wildlife to include bear, mtn lion, coyote, raccoon, and various bird varieties.
Currently they have a lovely habitat in my laundry room and we are hoping it will be warm enough to move them outside at 5 wks. I realize some will think "warm enough" and AZ do not mesh, however we are at 6,500' and have snow predicted for tonight.
All advice will be appreciated.
Thank you
There are reasons on both sides of the fence that make sense regarding medicated feed. The Coccidiosis organism is common to all soils and is a natural flora in the gut of chickens. It's only when the organism gets out of balance with the rest of the gut flora that the chicken will become sick. The "no medication" folks base their treatment on a natural approach: exposing the chicks to the soils of their yard early. Even to the point of bringing in some of the soil from the chicken run, and putting it in the brooder before the chicks even get outside. The chick's immune system is strongest within the first 2 weeks of hatching, and ideally, that's when they should start to work on their immunity. An other way to get their immune system ramped up is to give them plenty of probiotics. Some folks use raw apple cider vinegar, a little bit in the water. Others put their chicks on fermented feed. Either option will promote a healthy gut. The Amprolium in medicated feed is a Thiamine blocker. IMO, it seems to me that if I block thiamine absorption of the cocci, I'm also blocking it in my chick. I want my chicks to have all the vitamins they can get, and do not want to be treating a disease that I have never seen in any of my flocks.

On the other side of the fence: coccidiosis will kill a chick if it gets a foot hold. And it will spread throughout the flock. But, if you provide a dry brooder, that's very unlikely to happen.

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