Medicated starter feed vs fermented starter feed

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by susanfmo, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. susanfmo

    susanfmo New Egg

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    I've read about fermented feed, but I'm guessing you should not ferment medicated feed? Should I feed my day old chicks a combination perhaps of regular medicated feed and fermented regular chick crumbles?? Thanks! Getting my first baby chicks in two days.
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd recommend feeding the amprolium added chick starter as it is, not mixed with anything else, so that if your property does have coccidia in the soil, your chicks will gradually develop immunity, as they should, and not get sick. If you plan to do fermented feed, start later. Mary
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Or you can go the natural route, and use unmedicated feed, fermented, or not. Even if you ferment medicated feed, it will provide more benefit than unmedicated, though I don't know how the fermentation process will affect the Amprolium in it. Amprolium blocks thiamine uptake in the cocci organism. All soils have cocci. It is only when a chick with an immature immune system gets overwhelmed by cocci that he will get sick. Mama broody takes her babies out into the yard soon after hatch, and gets those babies eating soil which is laced with cocci. They also snack on chicken poop, which is laden with lots of bacteria and fungi to give their immune systems a jump start so they can withstand the many different bacteria they will be exposed to. In the first 2 weeks after hatch, the chicks natural immunity is the highest, and that is the best time to start boosting their immunity. I do so by giving them fermented feed, (unmedicated) and providing plugs of sod, or bowls of soil from my yard. The chicks get: lots of bacteria and fungi to jump start their gut flora, their first grit, first greens, first dust bath, lots of little insects and seeds, minerals, and a great opportunity to play king of the hill. Just be sure you don't give them sod from a lawn that has been treated with insecticide/herbicide.
     
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  4. susanfmo

    susanfmo New Egg

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    Thanks! I'm leaning toward Lazy Gardeners' method, so might forego the medicated feed. I plan on raising them in the outdoor coop, and had already planned on giving them some soil clods with a dandelion, etc. Do I need chick grit or do they get that from the dirt? No chemicals or fertilizers in our dirt. I'm planning on using the deep litter method, but wasn't sure how to start that with chicks. Because of a poor drainage issue, I had to dig a drain and raise the ground level with gravel, then laid weed mat over top of that, leaving one drier corner uncovered (no rocks or cloth) for dust bathing in the run. I have pine shavings right now, and can add native soil and/or compost and/or hay or grass clippings. I'll have shredded leaves in the fall. Can I start this with tiny chicks or do I need to just use shavings at first and keep it cleaned out? Thanks so much for helping the newbie!
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Can I ask why you put down the weed block cloth? Weeds in the run are a chicken's best friend! You may find that your birds dig down and shred that cloth. Are you talking about DL in the run, or in the coop? I'm still working on getting a functioning DL in the coop. It works best if it can be done on a soil floor. It's almost impossible to do it wrong, in that case, as long as you have good drainage. On a wood or linoleum floor, it can be done, though more difficult. Leaves, grass clippings, some wood chips (not a lot) weeds, and other yard debris, with a bit of soil to inoculate it. Then, you need to be sure that you have the right amount of moisture, without rotting out your floor or walls.

    With chicks in the brooder, I use shavings for convenience. As the litter gets soiled, I just toss more shavings on top. You can do the same with leaves, grass clippings, hay... what ever you have available. Remember that many of these bedding materials have a tendency to mat down, creating a layer that is difficult to break up. So, it's good to do very small layers and vary the materials, so they end up being a mixture of shapes and sizes.

    In the run, be sure to toss any old bedding being removed from the coop. Wood chips from a landscaper prove to be a valuable commodity in my yard. We bag all grass clippings. There are never enough of them. They go in the hoop coop, run, garden, orchard, lasagna bed, and on the hugelkulture mound. Same with leaves. I collected 100 bags from a yard in town last fall. Back breaking labor when those contractor bags were full of wet, frozen leaves, but well worth it, as my yard doesn't produce any where near enough. Same with wood chips. Had at least 21 cu. yds. delivered. Need to get more this summer.
     
  6. susanfmo

    susanfmo New Egg

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    Jun 18, 2016
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    I want to do DLM in both the coop and the run. I'm raising the chicks in the coop. I had soil bottoms for both coop and run, but discovered I have poor drainage: heavy subsurface clay with standing water at one end. So I had to put in a drain and used rock to raise the level above the nasty clay. The weed mat (the thick soft kind, put down with very heavy garden staples, is to protect the hens' feet from the sharp rock. I plan to add a layer of soil, them all the good things you use in DLM. It will drain well, and no wood floor to rot. The driest corner of their run was left uncovered (no rocks or mat, just sandy dirt).
     
  7. exotichenhouse

    exotichenhouse New Egg

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    I fed mine all natural crumble non medicated but infused with coconut oil. I also gave them chick probiotics in their water and a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar. They are not 5 months and all healthy as can be.
     
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I feed Flock Raiser to my whole flock, and it's unmedicated. I haven't had a problem with coccidiosis on my farm, over twenty years out. That doesn't mean that your ground will also be okay for your new chicks. There's nothing wrong with being safer by feeding the medicated chick starter, and it just might save having very sick chicks requiring serious medication to recover. It's about your comfort level with risk. Mary
     
  9. Pendragonz

    Pendragonz Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have raised a batch of meat chickens last fall, and am currently raising some layers now. I swear by the fermented feed. I had read about how nasty the meat chickens are, with ill health, stinky poops, etc. Then I read about the fermented feed. I decided to go with the fermented feed for the meat chickens and had good chickens. The bm's weren't too stinky, they had decent health, and overall I was quite happy. Also, when I processed them the smell wasn't unbearable which I had heard complaints about. I also added 1-2T of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to their water. With the success I had with the meaties I decided to use fermented feed, and ACV in the water for my layer chicks. I ordered 25, and lost 2 within the first 3 days, but since then these chicks are in great health. I will always do the fermented feed.
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    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Just my 2 cents worth, but I'd not add ACV to the water if using fermented feed. I think (but don't have anything to back it up) that the pH of fermented feed is lower than unfermented. Adding ACV might just make their diet too acid. You might consider giving them access to plain water, and water with ACV. Let them choose. BTW, I've been fermenting for 3 years. Love the savings on the feed bill, and the increased health of my birds compared to birds that don't get FF.
     

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