Medicated versus unmedicated chick starter

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BirdBrain, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Are there any great differences between these two feeds other than meds? What are the pros and cons.
  2. Hidden Hollow Hatchery

    Hidden Hollow Hatchery In the Brooder

    Feb 6, 2009
    My personal belief/opinion is that medicated feed restricts a chick's ability to develop its own immune system, and therefor makes it dependant on the medicated feed for a period afterwards. I don't use it, but alot of people do and swear by it. Nutritionally, I have no idea what the difference is. [​IMG]
  3. SportTees

    SportTees Songster

    I use unmedicated mainly because I also have ducks. I think its the same other than meds
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:If the medication in the feed is amprolium, it doesn't inhibit it's immune system form working. All amprloium does is inhibit the growth of cocci by blocking thiamine. It is a thiamine analog. This allows the chicks who get exposed to cocci, you want to expose them to your soil early, to become immune to it at low levels, with a lesser risk of getting sick from cocci.

    In other words, the usual medicated feed just prevents cocci from reproducing, allowing chicks to become immune without getting sick.

    That said, if the chicks are not exposed to the soil, while they are on the medicated feed, they cannot gain immunity, and the med has no point. It is only effective if exposed at low levels. If soil concentrations of cocci are so high they can eat a dose high enough to make them sick, the meds also do nothing, as it's sole purpose is to inhibit the growth of the cocci protozoa in the gut.
  5. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    +1 to what silkiechicken said.

    I do not feed medicated feed, because when I researched it, I found that a liquid version of the medicine in medicated feed actually works better in their systems. I use unmedicated feed, and a product called Chick 2 and 1 that's a powder you add to their drinking water. I've found this to work really well for me. Do what seems like the right thing once you've gotten as much feedback as you're comfortable with! Good luck!!
  6. cgmccary

    cgmccary Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    I do NOT use medicated feed. I keep things as clean as possible, change their water daily and introduce my chicks to the outside ground early & slowly.

    The feed I use is high protein and not available to me (as far as I know) in a medicated form. I also like to provide my chicks with vitamin supplement in their drinking water the first week so they metabolize the feed more efficiently (and thus grow better) and then about 1-2 times a week thereafter. The nutritional blocking action of the amprolium is counter-productive to the vitamin supplementation (I give the GQF Plus).

    I do keep liquid amprolium, among other things, on hand, just in case I have something go terribly wrong, but I have not used it.

    However, in the beginning of my chicken keeping, I had a fear of cocci from reading books, posts, etc. & I did feed medicated feed. As I learned more about cocci, I evolved & decided I did not need it. IMHO, either way you go (medicated or unmedicated) is not a "wrong" way. It is just a choice. Silkie Chicken explanation is well & succinctly stated. Good Luck!
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:Exactly. And your choice may be in part due to where you live. In the middle of a desert or in a place where the ground is frozen 9/12 months of the year, cocci may not be much of an issue, where as if you live in a moist damp climate, cocci can be so viable in the soils that they might still get it no matter what you try.
  8. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    So if there have never been chickens at my mom's house (at least not for 30 years) what do you think the chances are of cocci in South Texas (not coastal)?
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Quote:I have just been reading about this very thing because I've always used medicated feed and now, it is not working at all for any of my chick batches. My chicks with broodies do not get cocci even though they are on med feed. I think they eat mama's poop and develop immunity. I am about to stop using medicated and treat as necessary with Corid. And believe me, it's not a sanitation thing. If you see my chick waterers, they are kept very clean. There are several types of oocysts and Sulmet is not effective against one type, the type that most often causes bloody poop in 5-6 week old babies.
  10. TexasVet

    TexasVet Songster

    Nov 12, 2008
    Willis TX
    Quote:It's everywhere! It lives naturally in the soil; chickens don't "contaminate" the soil.

    My brother lost a whole batch of chicks in a matter of days because he didn't use medicated feed. I use medicated, and I haven't lost a single chick to it in two years.

    Also consider what your local feedstore carries. My local does a lot of business, but had very few orders for unmedicated feed, so they stopped carrying it.

    Kathy, Bellville TX

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