??'s about medicated feed, new birds on ground


11 Years
Apr 23, 2008
okay getting 50 cornish cross next Wednesday. We have made a new outdoor coop for them to start and finish in. Well, normally we start them in the garage with bedding, this time they will be on the ground. I don't usually feed medicated feed, but with them being babies on the dirt does that mean I have to use medicated. Wasn't the medicated feed for somethng the birds can get from the ground? Help me out here. Thanks
Personally I would feed medicated starter for at least 2 wks. I have never had a case of cocci when feeding medicated feed for 2 wks. then change over to your normal feed, and you will have 6-8 weeks for withdrawal so no traces are in the meat.
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Of course, it depends on what the medicated is in the medicated feed. There can be different things. Most of the time it is Amprolium, so I'll address that. If the medicated in your medicated feed is not Amprolium or a similar product, what I am about to say will not apply to you.

Amprolium is not an antibiotic. It inhibits the reproduction of the protozoa that causes coccidiosis. It does not kill the protozoa. It does not totally stop the reproduction of the protozoa. It slows it down.

The protozoa that causes coccidiosis might be living in your ground. It might not. If the protozoa is living in the ground, your birds will pick it up and it will live and reproduce in their intestines. That is not necessarily bad. They can easily handle some of the protozoa. But if the number of protozoa gets out of hand, they can become very sick and may even die.

That protozoa can live and reproduce in wet manure, not just in their intestines. If your brooder, coop, or run are wet, there is a larger chance the number of protozoa will get out of hand and cause serious problems. If they are all dry, the risk from coccidiosis is much less. There are different strains of the protozoa and some are stronger than others. It is still possible the number will get out of hand, even if they are kept dry. But the odds are in your favor if everything is kept dry.

Chickens can develop an immunity to a specific strain of the protozoa. They can best develop that immunity when they are very young. Some people get in trouble when they take their chicks out of a brooder where they were never exposed to the protozoa and put them on the ground. They don't have the immunity and being older, they are more likely to have a problem when they are exposed. It does not happen every time, but when they first hit the ground is when they are most at risk.

Chickens can still get seriously sick with coccidiosis even if they are on the Amprolium. The Amprolium in the medicated feed helps you with the odds but does not guarantee anything.

You don't have to use medicated feed, but if you do, the first two to three weeks when they are on the ground is a good time to use it. I don't use it with mine, and I make sure mine are exposed to dirt from the run real early in their life so they can develop immunity. With 50 broilers standing around, eating and pooping, it might get kind of damp.

Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!

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