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Starter Feed

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bobchristenson, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Songster

    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    Getting close to the day we take home our first chicks. We're getting 4 of them...couple questions:

    1. How much starter feed will we need (total) for them? Wondering what size bag to buy.

    2. Thoughts on medicated vs. not starter feed? I know that's a huge topic and my inclination is to go medicated since it's our first go-round, but we're going to try and raise them as organically as possible. Any advice from somone who tries to straddle this fence line would be appreciated.


  2. suzeqf

    suzeqf Songster

    Mar 17, 2011
    I have 5 new babies 4 hatched monday and one this morning. This is usually what I do the first week or so

    1. I buy a 10lb bag of 22% protein non-medicated chick starter from my local feed store which i ground up a little bit to make it easier to eat and their mom eats it too

    2. I use I think it's a quail watered its the tiny red waterer that screws on a mason jar that way I have no chance of drowing and the standard small chick feeder

    3. They live with mom(until she gets tired of them) in a xl large metal dog kennel with plastic hardware clothe around it to prevent escapes and a heat lamp hanging over it to keep them warm when they aren't under mom. I put a nice fluffy layer of super fine shavings in the kennel and I put in a open front box with a small amount of shavings in the kennel for them to use as a hangout

    Around age 2-3 weeks

    Most everything stays the same only I stop grounding up their feed and mom starts wanting some me time. This is the time I add a roost to the kennel

    Around 4 weeks

    I put up the chick guard and let them explore outside the kennel while still being protected from the flock

    Around 5-7 weeks

    I let them outside under supervision and if all goes well they get to hang out for a while

    8 weeks and up they are usually full fledge members of the flock they still hang with mom and can come and go as they please i try to keep them on chick feed as long as I can but it's hard when they are hanging out with everyone else
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Since you seem well read enough on the medicated vs non-medicated issue, enough to know that there is a variance of opinion and practice, there's not much sense re-hashing it one more time.

    Four chicks. Well, if you live close enough to the mill or feed store that stopping by isn't a huge burden to you, I'd only buy a 20 pound or perhaps a 40 pound bag, as chick starter often comes in these sizes. There's no point in buying 100 pounds, because freshness is important to me and I'm sure it is to you as well.

    I have a few hundred pounds in the garage right now, of layer. However, it is winter and it is very refrigerated, for all intents and purposes. In the summer, I'm not as keen on having more than a month's supply in advance. Feed deteriorates quicker in hot, humid weather.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2012
  4. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Songster

    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    This is what I was looking for. By the time they move onto 'big girl' feed, I will have gone through between 20-40lbs. Sound about right? If so, I'll start with the 20lb and go from there. Good advice, thanks!

    As far as medicated/nonmedicated, honestly I don't know a ton, just that it's up for debate :) Am I in any danger if I have no other birds (or currently no other animals for that matter) and I go with a non-medicated? I'm not really sure of the risks and if they're worth it.

    I probably should have mentioned there's no momma hen...getting day old pullets from a nearby farm.
  5. LaynaDon95

    LaynaDon95 Songster

    Jan 18, 2012
    I'm expecting my first hatch Feb. 4th. I'm not planning on giving medicated feed. The whole reason people give meds is because of the risk of coccidia (an intestinal parasite). Chicks are especially
    susceptible to it. Everyone I have talked to has said "NOOOOO you must give medicated!!!!" seriously. But what I've learned is they have tried not giving meds but they haven't done anything else to prevent cocci. Well, I plan on eating my chickens and I don't want to feed them anything I wouldn't be willing to eat. Like, you know, chicken antibiotics... I plan on building up their intestinal flora and immunity. Yogurt has probiotics (awesome for intestines) and cultures and chicks love it. I'll be feeding them that with a little wormwood/black walnut extract.

    "Anti-Parasitic These herbs have been used to help rid the body of a wide range of worms, parasites and their eggs. Indicated to be effective against pinworms, ringworms, roundworms, tapeworms, microbial growth and parasitic activity.
    From: http://www.naturesalternatives.com/.../bwxp-black-walnut-wormwood-plus-extract.html

    I've never tried this but I've researched it enough I'm willing to try it on my own little babies. [​IMG]
    I'm not recommending this as a treatment only a preventative. If they got coccidia I would put them on meds.

    Coccidia is in dirt, so expose them early. I'm going to put dirt in their brooder almost as soon as they are dry and start taking them outside sometime after 1 week old. But of course, to do this you have to strengthen their intestines.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  6. larca83

    larca83 In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2012
    Elbert County, Colorado
    I've read a lot of material pushing medicated starter, and I've talked to a few people who've said it's a must, so I was surprised today when I found that some of my local feed stores don't even sell medicated starter. The gentleman who owns the feed store who I spent the most time talking to today told me that medicated feed hasn't been necessary and hasn't been used much for the past 15 years. Oh...! I didn't know there were so many opinions. I decided to leave it up to Storey's Guide, which has a helpful "if you do this, you should feed this" guide but also says it's okay to feed medicated if it will relax your worries and if it's your first time raising chicks. According to the guidelines in the book, I probably don't need medicated. (My girls will be here this weekend!)
  7. mustangsaguaro

    mustangsaguaro Songster

    Nov 30, 2007
    San Martin, Ca
    I have been raising chickens for about 5yrs. No expert by any means. But in all my years I have had chicks I have never fed medicated. I have broodies that raise chicks as well as I have incubated, hatched and have had them in a brooder. I have never had any issues w/ coccidosis. On occasion they may get runny poops but I don't worry about it to much. I currently have some that are 12-13 days old and all are doing great, look healthy and no diarrhea.

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