Using Medicated Feed


6 Years
Jun 9, 2017
Hello all,
I'll be getting my first ever chicks in mid April and have been doing plenty of research in order to prepare. I've decided to go with medicated feed, but have been reading that this feed doesn't work like a vaccination - instead it works to limit the growth of the bacteria in their gut while they adjust to it. However, this requires exposure to the bacteria.
So from what I've gathered, it comes down to two methods (or a combination of the two): Place some of the soil from your run in with the baby chicks or keep the chicks on the medicated feed once they start going outside and let the exposure happen then.
Is there any reason not to expose the chicks to the soil while they're still in the brooder?
Hi. :frow

Soil exposure while they're young is one of the best thing you can do in my opinion... IF they weren't Marek's vaccinated. Otherwise that vaccine may need time to take effect before outdoor exposure.

I personally won't use medicated and think it's kind of stupid that it's been pushed by many stores as a MUST.... like the 250 W bulbs meant to brood 100 chicks in an outdoor barn by big farmers is rarely ever the best choice for a few chicks in a living room brooder.

Cocci are in EVERY single chicken poo. So your birds will be exposed from day 1 after hatch. :old

Yes the medicated feed works by blocking thiamine to SLOW the growth of the coccidia. But this can be avoided completely by keeping your shavings dry and your water poo free. That can be much harder with larger broods as shaving get moist faster. But diligence prevents this easily. I don't think they are in the "bacteria" class but actually a protozoa... not that I know exactly what that means... but antibiotics isn't used to kill them.

If you do go with medicated feed still... it's important that you don't substitute vitamins. And also the amprollium is a low dose... preventative. But if you provide the right conditions... you MAY still have to treat for cocci using Corid or some other coccidiastat at an actual treatment dose.

Of course it's safe to use but it isn't a guarantee and I rather not deprive my chicks of the thiamine. Also, it's not as deadly as some would have you believe. Yes, cocci can be deadly... but chicks catching isn't a death sentence MOST of the time. If you interact with your birds daily... the signs are very detectable early on and very treatable.

If your chicks are being shipped... I highly recommend crushing your crumble a little extra for the first week or so... and start them on a GOOD vitamin supplement, like poultry nutri drench (and electrolytes) to help recover from the shipping stress.

If you bring in soil or take your chicks out for just short periods when they first start going out, that gives them some exposure to the other microbial life in your soil and allows them to build their own resistance. Verses being thrown out full time to things you've had no exposure to can be quickly overwhelming.

You are ahead of the game... researching before the chicks arrive... AND having this wonderful community full of different experiences at your disposal. :thumbsup

Hope your babies arrive full of energy! :jumpy:jumpy
Hi EggSighted4Life

I'm getting my chicks at 2-3 weeks old and they'll only be suffering a 2-hour drive, but I'll keep your advice in mind!
I think I'll go with bringing some soil in and sprinkling it around their brooder to give them a bit of early exposure, as you suggested.

Thanks for all your help and encouragement!
One thing with medicated feed is that you shouldn't used it when your chicks have been vaccinated for Coccidiosis. Medicated feed is meant to help prevent Coccidiosis, but when you feed it to chicks that have already been vaccinated, it will neutralize the vaccine.
So if they've been vaccinated, normal feed. If not, it's your choice. I use medicated feed just because I don't think it will do any bad, and it takes a little of that pressure off, especially if you're a newbie.
Whatever you do, have fun!
Also, a little chick tip: add some water to a little feed in your hand, and they'll go crazy over it!

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