Medicated starter chick food - how long?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MarieNC, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. MarieNC

    MarieNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 2 two week old Barred Rock chicks who will eventually hang out with the rest of my flock. This is my first time using medicated starter feed for chicks. The bag says they should be on it for 8 weeks. Can they be put on regular food before this? My other 6 girls never were on medicated feed to start. Just wonderin'...
     
  2. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It might vary by brand. I use Purina medicated Start & Grow. I feed this to them until they are about 18 weeks old. Then I buy 1 bag of Purina Flock Raiser (for about 20 chicks). When this is gone I then switch to Purina Layena Layer pellets.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Before you can talk about "medicated" feed, you need to know what the medicine is that makes it medicated. Some are related to coccodiosis only and have nothing to do with anything else. These are even split into types that allow the chicks to develop and immunity and those that don't allow them to develop immunity. There are some that may work on other things than coccidiosis. There are some that handle coccidiosis plus other things. When I go to the medicine cabinet to get some medicine, I look to see what kind of medicine it is before I take it. You should be able to get some pretty good information by reading what is on the bag, but you might need to do a little more research to know what you are dealing with. The words coccidiostat and coccidiocide are good clues. Coccidiostats allow immunity to develop. Coccidiocides do not allow immunity to develop.

    With all that said, a majority of chick feed sold as medicated contains an Amprolium-like product in a concentration that, if that is all they eat, will help reduce the chances of them getting coccidiosis and will allow them to develop immunity. It is a coccidiostat in that concentration. Coccidiosis is caused by protozoa that can live in the ground. There are different kinds of this protozoa. Immunity to one does not give immunity to all. This protozoa can live and reproduce in the chickens intestines. Normally some of this protozoa is not a problem. The problem is when the protozoa multiplies to such great numbers it can cause a problem. This protozoa can live and multiply in wet chicken manure. Most of the time wet manure contributes to the chicks developing a problem with coccidiosis. The chicks eat the wet manure and the numbers get out of hand. A fairly dry brooder is a real good safeguard against problems with coccidiosis.

    The way the Amprolium works, it interferes with the protozoa multiplying in the chicks intestines, thus keeping the number down. It does not stop all reproduction, just stops some reproduction. The chick can still have a problem with coccidiosis if the brooder is wet.

    The Amprolium will do absolutely no good if the protozoa is not present to start with. It won’t hurt anything, it just won’t help. If your chicks are raised in a brooder and never see dirt, they are unlikely to be exposed to the protozoa until they leave the brooder and are exposed to dirt. Depending in how you raise your chicks, it may make more sense to feed them medicated feed when they leave the brooder for two or three weeks.

    I purposely put some dirt from the run into the brooder about Day 3 so they are exposed to any protozoa while they are young when they can best develop immunity. I do not feed medicated feed but keep my brooder fairly dry. I’ve never had a problem with coccidiosis. If I had, I might do differently.

    Amprolium in dosages higher than what is normally in medicated feed is used to treat coccidiosis. The dosage in medicated feed is not that high. It should be used as a preventative and not a treatment. Coccidiosis can kill chickens. If you have an active case, you need to actively treat it.

    If you feed things other than just the medicated feed, you reduce the dosage levels accordingly. It will still inhibit the protozoa from reproducing, just not inhibit it as much. There is nothing wrong with that. It will still help, if the protozoa is present to start with.

    A lot of the research done on this and a lot of the recommendations for these are made for commercial flocks. Most of us are not raising the thousands of chicks the commercial places raise and our conditions are normally different. I read some of those reports and studies but I try to convert them to my situation, which is not a mass commercial situation.

    Hopefully you will get something from all this rambling to help you. Good luck!!
     
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  4. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

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    You should keep them on the feed for 8 weeks. Do not give them layer feed until they start to lay, as it will damage their kidneys if given too early.
     
  5. Albanese07

    Albanese07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use Purina Start n Grow which is medicated. It says to keep them on it until they start laying at 18/20 weeks. Then I will switch to Purina Layena. Hope that helps! :)
     
  6. MarieNC

    MarieNC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for the great advice! A special thanks to Ridgerunner for the very in depth coverage on the subject. They'll stay on the starter feed for the 8 weeks at least.
     
  7. Sunflowergirl

    Sunflowergirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too appreciate Ridgerunner's reply! Helped educate me on feeds. I went and pulled the label off my Purina Start & Grow to read it in-depth.
     
  8. Jenny1967

    Jenny1967 Just Hatched

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    I too appreciate all replies. My chicks ate the medicated starter food until they were 4 weeks old. My problem is I have two chicks that will only stay with their mama and when I feed the rest of the flock mama comes down to eat and the chicks follow. I try to give them the medicated starter, but the larger hens take over and eat it themselves! I have no place to separate them. I've had no luck raising chicks under a heat lamp. I was only successful letting nature take its course by leaving them with Mama.

    Is it a problem for them to eat adult food at 6-8 weeks? Is it a problem to give them bread, kale, lettuce?
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Is it a problem for them to eat adult food at 6-8 weeks? Is it a problem to give them bread, kale, lettuce?

    Growing chicks should not eat Layer because of the high calcium. A standard way to feed a mixed age flock like that is to feed them a Starter, Grower, or Flock Raiser that is low in calcium and offer oyster shell on the side. The ones that need the calcium for the egg shells seem to know to eat it and the ones that don’t need it might eat a bit but not enough to harm themselves.

    If they are roaming with Mama they are getting grit. There is no problem giving them that stuff. They can digest it fine. The issue may be whether or not they actually eat it. Some do and some don’t.
     
  10. Jenny1967

    Jenny1967 Just Hatched

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    Thanks so much for the advice! I'm off to get your recommended feed right now.
     

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