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Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by chickybuddy100, Jan 27, 2015.
Should I get medicated or nonmedicated feed for my chickens ?????
Chicks or full grown chickens?
I HAVE CHICKS AND FULL GROWN CHICKENS
I feed my chicks medicated until they are about 2 to 3 months old. Then I try to find unmedicated especially in my egg layers.
That is a personal decision and in my opinion should be based on your circumstances. I don’t know what your situation is so I’ll try to give you some information so you can make an informed decision.
First, what is the medicine in the medicated feed? It should be on the label. Some people may be comfortable just grabbing any old medicine but I like to know what I’m dealing with. The odds are very high that the medicine is Amprolium but there are a few feeds that contain something else.
If it is Amprolium, then Amprolium is not an antibiotic. It will not destroy the probiotics the chickens have in their digestive system. Purina has stated that the dosage of Amprolium in their medicated feed can safely be fed to laying hens with no bad effects on the eggs they are laying.
The dosage of Amprolium in medicated feed is targeted at the Coccidiosis bug. It interferes with the reproduction of the Coccidiosis bug but does not totally wipe it out.
Having the Coccidiosis bug in a chicken’s digestive track is not a bad thing. After about two to three weeks exposure the chickens will develop an immunity to that strain of the Coccidiosis bug, so I consider exposure to the bug a good thing. The problem comes when the number of those bugs in their system gets out of hand. That can be fatal. The dosage of Amprolium in medicated feed allows some reproduction so they can develop immunity but reduces that reproduction to try to keep the numbers from getting out of hand.
The Coccidiosis bug thrives in wet places that have chicken manure in it. That might be dirty water, a wet brooder, or a wet coop or run. Usually if you keep their water clean and their environment dry you won’t have a problem with Coccidiosis. There are a couple of different strains of Coccidiosis that are pretty bad anyway so keeping things dry does not always work but it is a great help. What normally causes an outbreak is that the chicks ingest the bugs that are thriving in the wet conditions so he numbers get out of hand before they gain immunity. That is not good.
The medicated feed does not do any good at all if he chicks have not been exposed to the Coccidiosis bug. It won’t hurt anything but it won’t help either. You can feed all the medicated feed you want but until they are exposed to the bug they are not going to develop any immunity. A too common occurrence on this forum is that people feed medicated feed to their chicks in the brooder before they are exposed to that bug, but stop feeding it when the chicks are old enough to hit the ground where they are first exposed to the bug. If conditions are wet they can easily get sick.
I don’t feed medicated feed. If I have chicks in a brooder I keep the brooder pretty dry and feed them dirt from the run to expose them to that bug. A broody raising chicks with the flock can be a bit if a problem but these very rarely come down with Coccidiosis. They are exposed to the bug from hatch but unless their environment is pure mud the broody generally keeps them in a dry enough place to keep the numbers of that bug down. But whether in a dry brooder or with a broody, whether you do or do not feed medicated feed, you still need to learn the signs of Coccidiosis and be ready to treat.
Feeding medicated feed will not hurt your chicks. If they are exposed to the bug it keeps them a little safer but that is still no excuse for a wet brooder or dirty water. Some of us use it and some of us don’t. As I said, it is a personal decision.