Medicated or regular chick starter??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lamoka, May 8, 2011.

  1. lamoka

    lamoka In the Brooder

    May 18, 2010
    Western NY
    Having just getting back into chickens I was wondering the prefered feed for starting chicks. I noticed there is medicated that says you should feed it as a regular diet and non medicated. Years ago I never even saw the medicated we only had the regular to feed chicks. My chicks are 1 day old, I picked up some regular non medicated chickstarter for them but if the medicated is truly helpfull I would be willing to use that. Looking for advise I am basically a newbie as it has been almost 20 years since I have had chickens. Any advise you can through my way would be greatly appreciated.
  2. chickengrl

    chickengrl Songster

    Sep 30, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    You will get many opinions on this one. We use medicated starter. It prevents coccidiosis in young chicks. Cocci are present in soil and birds are exposed to it as soon as their feet hit dirt. They build immunity to it over time, but sometimes they get too big of a "dose" and will make them very sick, have bloody diarrhea and may die. It can be treated with Corid (amprolium) which is the same stuff in the medicated feed. The food just has a small dose. The small dose is to kill some, but not all cocci so the chicks can slowly build immunity. Some folks are against any medication and swear they raise healthy birds without it. I believe them. If you do choose to go unmedicated, I would buy a bottle of 9.6% Corid marketed for cattle and keep it on hand. That way if you see symptoms you can quickly treat. I am not against medication, so we go the easy route and feed the medicated. Hope this helps. [​IMG]
  3. Lurkeygirl2011

    Lurkeygirl2011 Chirping

    Apr 22, 2011
    I agree that it is personal preference. Personally I use unmedicated, and in three years I have never had a problem. I use unmedicated because I try to stay as natural/organic as possible.
  4. clairabean

    clairabean Songster

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    We use strictly unmedicated.

    reason #1- we have a small flock of approx 25 birds. If we get wiped out from an infection, it is not so devastating.
    #2- we plan to eat the roosters when they get big enough. No way am I feeding my kids medicated chickens.
    #3- we are trying to be organic farmers, and medicated feed goes against our goals.

    You will get many, many differing opinions on this. Do what you feel is best for you and your flock.
  5. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    Coccidiosis is mostly a management problem except for those areas where the ground is fowl sick and heavily endemic. Manage the chicks right and you won't have a problem.

    That said though I use medicated feed myself. Mostly because it's a chore to find unmedicated chick starter.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I agree. It is purely a personal choice unless you have had specific experiences that means you need to use it. Cocci is "usually" a management issue. If you keep your brooder fairly dry, it will seldom be a problem. But some people have this problem regardless of how dry they keep their brooders. There are different strains of the protazoa that can cause cocci and they have different strengths. For some people, medicated is not strong enough no matter how dry the brooder. I do not feed medicated because I have never had a reason to.

    The medicated feed does not contain an antibiotic. It is something that inhibits the reproduction of the protazoa in the chicks digestive track so the number of the protazoa does not get large enough to cause a problem. It still allows some protazoa to reproduce, which is good. Very young chicks can develop an immunity to specific strains of protazoa, but they need a constant exposure for a few weeks to develop that immunity. If you kill off all the protazoa they do not develop that immunity. If you have your chicks vaccinated for Cocci, do not feed medicated feed. It can negate the effects of the vaccination.

    I take dirt out of the run about day 3 and give it to the chicks. Part of this is to get them some grit, but the reason I take it from the run instead of somewhere else is so I can introduce whatever strains of the cocci protazoa I have while they can develop an immunity to it. Then I put a piece of plywood in the brooder to give them a specific place where their poop can build up a bit so they can all eat it. That gets the protazoa in all their systems and keeps it going for the few weeks they need to develoop the immunity.
  7. humboldtpeeps

    humboldtpeeps In the Brooder

    Mar 6, 2011
    This is a great discussion.

    We went with organic non medicated crumbles for our first batch of girls. They did great until about 5.5 weeks when one of them came down with cocci (blood in droppings, ruffled feathers, depression) shortly after I had put them outside in a little tractor.

    We have lots of wild birds in our yard and we had had really wet conditions recent to that so I think that's where they got it. We had them on a wire floor brooder and were pretty meticulous about keeping it clean and dry.

    I think that in our particular situation they just had no resistance built up to it and it made them vulnerable when i put them out there. I agree with ridgerunner about putting some dirt from outside in with your chicks to let them slowly build up some immunity. Our environment was too controlled and they got sick when exposed to the 'real world'.

    We ran out and got some Corrid (try to get the liquid- the dosing for the powder is confusing) and some aureomycin crumbles and we treated the whole group. We acted fast. Only one had the symptoms and she improved, the rest never showed any symptoms.

    The sad news is that the pullet that had the cocci is now really really sick- she hadn't had a chance to build up her immune system back up after being sick and caught something else that i don't think she is going to recover from.
    Just something to think about. If it gets to the point where there is blood in the droppings, its pretty bad.

    If you do go non-medicated, make sure you have Corrid on hand. Some people give Sulmet but I've heard on here and on the chicken whisperer radio program (Dr. Pete Brown was a guest speaker the other day) that it can cause kidney damage.

    ** I also heard on the same program that the companies that make it won't release how long it takes for it to work out of the chickens system or say when or if its safe to ever eat the eggs (i think the Dr was saying that the medical company's position (to protect their liability) is that you cannot eat the eggs ever after treatment but i'm not 100% certain i heard that correctly).

    This is a timely discussion for me- We have another batch of fuzzbutts in our brooder now and Ive pretty much decided to switch them over to medicated crumbles, and put more dirt in their brooder early on.
    I wanted to go all organic non medicated but after watching our sick bird struggle Ive changed my mind. I'll switch them to organic non medicated about a month or two before they start laying to give them time to work that medication out of their system. (Ive heard that's how long the stuff in the medicated crumbles (amprolium) takes to work its way through).

    Just passing on my limited experience~ I think a lot of this is trial and error, at least for me it is.
  8. chickcorner

    chickcorner In the Brooder

    Apr 27, 2011
    Organic ,Non medicated for me, I agree about the soil, I cut a square piece of grass with soil, from the lawn with a shovel ,and put it in the brooder, they love it, it keeps them busy and entertained and I also have Corrid on hand, just in case. good luck with your decision.
  9. lamoka

    lamoka In the Brooder

    May 18, 2010
    Western NY
    Thanks for all the feed back. I think I am going to stay with the non-medicated crumbles. I always keep corrid on hand for my daughter's rabbits so i will have that on hand. Honestly when I was still home we raised 100's of chickens and we never had any issues with cocci infections over the years. But we never had issues with our rabbits either and last year I lost one to what I suspect was a coccidioses infection so I realize it can happen. How soon can you introduce the sectoin of grass to the chicks I think that is a great idea as the sod will supply some grit for them also i just am a little unsure how old they should be before you introduce them to it thanks again for all the comments .
  10. chickcorner

    chickcorner In the Brooder

    Apr 27, 2011
    I think the sooner the better, I did it at 3 days old, but i don't know officially or if there is a time line. although this is my first batch of chicks and they are only 2 weeks old and growing like weeds, I am keeping my fingers crossed, your going in the right direction, research and educate, its one of those decision you need to make and have to live with.

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