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Thought I did enough research...

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by JessieLou80, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. JessieLou80

    JessieLou80 New Egg

    Apr 26, 2016
    So getting my three kids each a chick for Easter was not impulse. We just moved to our dream house the month before and having backyard chickens for eggs was always a part of that. I thought I researched, but it is definitely a learn as you go process. Our pullets our about 7 weeks old and have been out for 2 weeks give or take. When can we stop giving them the "medicated" feed for young chicks? Also, where do you keep their food in the coop...in the run part of the coop or the closed part? I feel like when we close them in at night they still need access to food and water, but keeping it up there makes it messy. Any insight from the pro's would be lovely!
  2. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2014
    Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I'm going to let someone else answer the question about medicated feed. I feed mine non-medicated feed, so I don't know. As far as the location of the feeder, I wouldn't worry too much about putting it inside if they go outside everyday. Chickens can't see very well in the dark, so once they go in the coop and settle in for the night, they aren't moving around to eat or drink.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I wrote this for another post but I think it gives you enough information to make an informed decision on the medicated feed.

    First you need to know what the "medicated" is in the medicated feed. It should be on the label. Usually it is Amprolium, Amprol, some such product, but until you read the label, you really don't know. Every "medicated' feed I'm aware of from major brands for chicks that will be layers uses Amprolium, but people on this forum that I trust have posted hat some feeds for broilers have things other than Amprolium. I'll assume it is an Amprolium product, but if it is not, then realize everything I say about it may not apply. And it is possible that the "medicated" is Amprolium AND something else.

    Amprol is not an antibiotic. It does not kill anything. It inhibits the protozoa that cause coccidiosis (often called Cocci on this forum) from multiplying in the chicken's system. It does not prevent the protozoa from multiplying; it just slows that multiplication down. There are several different strains of protozoa that can cause Cocci, some more severe than others. Chickens can develop immunity to a specific strain of the protozoa, but that does not give them immunity to all protozoa that cause Cocci. Little bitty tiny baby chicks can develop that immunity easier than older chickens.

    It is not a big deal for the chicken’s intestines to contain some of the protozoa that cause Cocci. The problem comes in when the number of those protozoa gets huge. The protozoa can multiply in the chicken’s intestines but also in wet manure. Different protozoa strains have different strengths, but for almost all cases, if you keep the brooder dry, you will not have a problem.

    To develop immunity to a specific strain, that protozoa needs to be in the chicks intestines for two or three weeks. The normal sequence is that a chick has the protozoa. It poops and some of the cysts that develop the protozoa come out in the poop. If the poop is slightly damp, those cysts develop and will then develop in the chick's intestines when the chicks eat that poop. This cycle needs go on for a few weeks so all chicks are exposed and they are exposed long enough to develop immunity. A couple of important points here. You do need to watch them to see if they are getting sick. And the key is to keep the brooder dry yet allow some of the poop to stay damp. Not soaking wet, just barely damp. Wet poop can lead to serious problems.

    What sometimes happens is that people keep chicks in a brooder and feed them medicated feed while they are in the brooder. Those chicks are never exposed to the Cocci protozoa that lives in the dirt in their run, so they never develop the immunity to it. Then, they are switched to non-medicated feed and put on the ground where they are for the first time exposed to the protozoa. They do not have immunity, they do not have the protection of the medicated feed, so they get sick. Feeding medicated feed while in the brooder was a complete waste.

    I do not feed medicated feed. I keep the brooder dry to not allow the protozoa to breed uncontrollably. The third day that they are in the brooder, I take a scoop of dirt from the run and feed it to them so I can introduce the protozoa and they can develop the immunity they need to the strain they need to develop an immunity to. To provide a place for that slightly damp poop, I keep a square of plywood in the dry brooder and let the poop build up on that. I don't lose chicks to Cocci when they hit the ground.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeding medicated feed to chicks, whether the protozoa are present or not. It will not hurt them. They can still develop the immunity they need. But unless the protozoa are present, it also does no good.

    If you get your chicks vaccinated for Cocci, do not feed medicated feed. It can negate the vaccinations.

    Some of us feed and water in the coop, some the run, some both. There are all kinds of reasons to do any of these or to not do any of these. As long as it is dark in the coop they will not be eating or drinking in there. If you wait until really late in the morning to let them out, you might want food and water in the coop. If they can get to the run fairly early, it doesn’t really matter to the chickens where the food and water is. Make it convenient to you.
  4. JessieLou80

    JessieLou80 New Egg

    Apr 26, 2016
    Thank you! Good point about them not seeing so well in the dark.
  5. JessieLou80

    JessieLou80 New Egg

    Apr 26, 2016
    Thank you! This was very helpful.

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