Medicated helps the chicks not get coccidiosis, I think. However, if chickens got into the medicated, they should not be used for meat or eggs for a while. (I do NOT recommend medicated for adult birds.)
I fed non-medicated until I had my first bout of cocci. It came out of the blue. All of a sudden these sweet, healthy chicks were dropping dead. Very, very sad and the treatment was something of a pain. After that I started feeding medicated only until they were ready to switch to the grower feed. I have had no problems since then and all the chicks have transitioned from the brooder to the coops with no problems. It is such an easy thing to do (choosing the medicated feed) and the end result is happier.
I'm expecting new little ones (first ever) next week) - so another question on this - if they have medicated just as starter feed, I would think that any medication should be out of their systems before they are layers right? So if I stop feeding medicated when they switch to "grower" food would that be soon enough before they start laying? I was worried about Cocciciosis (sp?) because there are other backyard chickens in my neighborhood and some are in pretty shabby conditions.
Yup. It will be well out of their system by the time eggs show up. It just gives them a fighting chance, you know? I had no problems at all for about a year, and then kawham! Little dead chicks. It was horrible.
Congrats on your new peeps! What kind are you getting?
.I'm glad that medicated is ok for starter food - I want to be as "organic" as possible but also want them to be healthy and happy and long lived.
I actually ordered two batches (and paid shipping twice!) - next week I am getting 3 EEs and 1 silver cuckoo marans, then... in May I have two white Silkies and a bantam Barred Plymouth Rock coming (was going to be a Buff Brahma but we changed it out for some reason my son is dying for a plymouth rock
)- also getting a few extra EEs a that time that are going to my mom. The Silkie and the Plymouth Rock weren't available to ship with the others so rather than wait I shelled out extra shipping to get some now and some later. I am hoping that because they will only be a few months apart it won't be too hard to integrate them all into one flock, but I am reading up on how to do that too
I am like a little kid waiting for Christmas to come
So if you search medicated vs non medicated there are a good number of threads on this topic.
It is your choice to medicate or not.
Medication is usually just amprolium which is a thiamine analog. The uptate of this "fake" thiamine by the cocci inhibits the cocci from reproducing. It does not kill them or treat birds which get a load of cocci which is too high for their bodies to handle. Medicated feed only PREVENTS cocci outbreaks by inhibiting the growth of the protozoa cocci, which is found in all soils to some degree. It helps birds become immune by keeping levels low so they can make their own resistance to them.
You could eat a bowl of medicated starter for breakfast every morning and it will just go right through you. There isn't enough "medicine" in the starter to cause a thiamine deficiency in chicks or well, living thing that has enough cells to be seen by the naked eye.
Med feed will only nullify the cocci vaccine. If you chose to get mericks vaccine, it will not change that. Mericks is viral, cocci is a protozoa. Two totally different biological systems.