medicated starter food for chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by goldeneggtees, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    Hi, I am new to chickens and have 8 b/o's. When I picked up the chicks from Agway, I was advised to feed medicated chick starter since the chicks weren't vaccinated. I had really wanted to keep these chickens as organically raised chickens for egg laying purposes. When I seemed unsure as to the kind of feed I would be needing, the woman who I ordered the chicks from and another woman who happened to be there from Suffolk County Farms also advised medicated starter.

    What does everyone think of this? They said to use it for 2 months, then switch to unmedicated feed.

    And this is another questionÂ… Can I feed them worms or any bugs from my yard if I can find any? They seem to be looking for extra food. Or, can they have any other kind of food? Grass? Lettuce? They are about 1.5-2 weeks old now. Thanks in advance for any advice![​IMG]
     
  2. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    Quote:Yes, switch to unmedicated starter before their laying age.
    I feed my young chicks hard boiled eggs mixed with quacker oats (uncoocked) beside starter from day 1 as a very healthy supplement. They go nuts for it.

    At 2 weeks you can start feeding them greens,bugs etc.

    Also I feed mine starting 2 weeks with leftovers from my canaries and cockatiels (some uneaten bird food).
    They love it too.

    If you feed them any kind of grain like this they need some grit.

    I give mine parakeet grit, looks like fine sand.

    Good luck with your babies.
     
  3. CritterFarmer

    CritterFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 28, 2009
    Ontario
    We had a similar problem a few years ago when we decided to go the non-medicated route. None of the feed stores around here offered non-medicated chick starter, however we were told we could use duck starter. Duck starter is always (at least around here) completely non-medicated as waterfowl cannot handle the same medication.

    It's all we've used and, funny enough, we always end up with fewer mortalities then other neighbours who swear by the medicated chick starter, even with our meat birds.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Most medicated feed contains amprolium, sometimes called amprol. This is not an antibiotic. It will not cure anything. It reduces the reproduction of the protazoa that causes cocci in the intestines of the chicken. I do not knowif chickens are leagally considered "organic" if they have amprol. When chicks first ingest the cocci protazoa, they start to develop an imunity to it. There are 6 or 7 different strains of he protazoa that causes cocci. If they develop immunity to one, they do not automatically have an immunity to all of them. They have to develop that immunity separately.

    Medicated feed is in no way related to vaccinations. Vaccinations at the hatchery are almost certainly to be against Marek's disease, not cocci.

    Small concentrations of cocci in the intestines are normally not a problem, although I suspect (don't know, just suspect) that some strains are stronger than others. It's when the concentration gets high that problems develop. If concentrations get high enough, they can kill a chick. The medicated feed with amprolium allows this immunity to develop while limiting the amount of the protazoa that reproduces in the intestines, thus reducing the concentration.

    Concentrations can get very high in the litter, especially if it gets wet. Even with the medicated feed, the chicks can get enough cocci protazoa by eating the poop that they can get very sick. That's why it is important to keep the litter dry and regularly clean out the brooder. If the litter is dry, most people seem to find once a week is sufficient, but kind of go by smell too.

    As I said, there are several different strains of the cocci protazoa. You don't know which your chicks have been exposed to or which they have an immunity to. If you have an existing flock that goes outside, I guarantee you that they have some cocci protazoa. Don't stress too much as people successfully introduce brooder raised chickens all the time to their flock, whether raised on medicated or unmedicated feed. It is possible that, when the chicks get to go on the ground the existing flock has been on that they will pick up a cocci strain that they do not have an immunity to. They can also be exposed to internal or external parasites or diseases that are in your flock. The risk level goes up. It is a time to observe, but hopefully you are always observing.
     
  5. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    Wow! It sounds fairly complicated. They will be going into an existing coop when they are ready. There haven't been chickens in the coop for years. I bought Oxine and will spray all down before introducing the chicks to their new home. So, I'm curious, what would you feed your chicks - medicated or not? I can easily go buy mashed organic chicken feed at a nearby farm and switch to that immediately. But I assume from what you are saying that my chickens will never be considered organic since they have been eating this medicated feed.
     
  6. BeccaOH

    BeccaOH Morning Gem Farm

    Oct 3, 2008
    east central Ohio
    I have my chicks and turkey poults on non-medicated flock starter. They are all healthy at 3 weeks and growing like weeds. Haven't lost any of the 12.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I don't know if the starter with amprol is approved for organic or not.
     
  8. CritterFarmer

    CritterFarmer Out Of The Brooder

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    It depends on where you are and what regulations/guidelines are in place for organic certification as to what is and is not allowed.
     

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