So, if I don't feed my chicks medicated food...they r as good as dead?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by dizzychicken, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. dizzychicken

    dizzychicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2009
    I am worried about all the post on not using medicated chick starter. I purchased unmedicated chick starter, for some odd reason. So are my babies as good as dead when I put them into the coop?

    They are 8 days old. Is it too late to start some medication or what am I to do?
  2. firedove

    firedove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    no, you do not have to use medicated chick starter. The medication in chick starter is just to prevent coccidiosis infection. It doesn't protect against or prevent anything else. There are tons of organic farmers and such who never use anything medicated on their chickens and they do just fine.

    I had been told that to clean a coop of coccidia (if the coop has been used before) you can dust food grade diatomatious earth (DE) over all the surfaces after cleaning them normally. Make absolutely sure that it is food grade DE though.

    If you already have healthy chickens in your coop you probably don't have to worry about it since if your older ones had coccidia infections you would probably know it.

    The only other thing you may want to consider is if your chickens have been vaccinated with live virus vaccines as that would make them contagious for those diseases to un-vaccinated chickens for a period of time.

    To answer your last question, you may choose to put your chicks onto medicated starter at this point, but it really isn't necessary. I just had to switch my chicks off of medicated starter because I'm allergic to it (the med that is used is a sulfa drug). I put up with the red itchy hands OK for quite a while but when I accidentally breathed some in last night it gave me a really severe reaction and so today I went and bought unmedicated and switched them. I just can't chance killing myself allergically so my chicks can be protected from coccidia!
  3. aberfitch

    aberfitch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2008
    Texas Fort Worth
    yea but some places only sell medicated so there's no option. medication is very week in the feed so i dont worry too much
  4. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    Northern California
    Mix whey powder at a 10% ratio and that'll work just as well. You want to keep the cocci numbers low so the chick can build an immunity. Whey powder should keep the cocci low, but if they do get sick resort to antibiotics. Also, offer dark leafy greens, small amounts of cheese, and put one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (per gallon) in their water. Those help too.
  5. firedove

    firedove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    to add to MoodyChicken's post, if you do feed things like greens and cheese make sure they have grit available so they can properly digest them.
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Quote:If you look at the tag, you may be able to find ones who do not use the sulfa drug, but rather amprolium, which is just a thaimine analog.
  7. firedove

    firedove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    Thanks silkiechicken [​IMG] My chicks are happily on the unmedicated starter now though. There aren't a whole lot of options in my area for available feeds. They seem happy with this new Poulin starter crumbles though. They had been on Blue Seal chick starter which is medicated, and the one I'm allergic to.

    Getting the poulin finally explained to me something that I hadn't understood for a long time. I've seen all the posts on here about grinding the food smaller for bantams because they can't eat the normal starter because it is too big for them. I was always confused since Blue Seal starter is mostly almost powder with only a small amount of larger corn bits. Now that I got the Poulin I see that it is large crumbles and I understand how tiny chicks would need it smaller. It sure does make a lot more sense now :lol
  8. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Sometimes, even feeding medicated does not prevent cocci. I am changing to unmedicated from now on and treating it when it pops up.
  9. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Firedove....are you sure the Blue seal starter had a sulfa drug in it? Their web site says the only medication in it is amprol.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:Yopur babies are NOT as good as dead when you put them in the coop. And it is not too late to start medication if that is your desire. By the way, from reading a lot of posts, I think Silkiechicken and SpeckeldHen are two of the gurus of cooci on this forum. Personal opinion and I'm sure I'm slighting others, but these two are good.

    As has been pointed out, most medicated feed contains amprolium. 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. 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 an immunity to one, they do not automatically have an immunity to all of them. They have to develop that immunity separately.

    Small concentrations of cocci in the intestimes 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 imunity 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 not a time to freak out or panic, but a time to observe.

    Hope this helps some.

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