Vaccinated vs. Medicated feed....Organic eggs?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Olda Bat, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Olda Bat

    Olda Bat Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 19, 2012
    Hi all - I'm a newbie. I'm getting chicks for fun and for eggs. I eat organic so I want to feed my chicks an organic/GMO-free starter. But I can't order chicks from a hatcherry because I only want about 7 hens. The chicks at the local feed store come unvaccinated and they recommend feeding a medicated starter food. I don't know what to do....I want heatlhy chicks and do what is right for them...but I don't want to eat anything later down the line that doesn't comply with my dedication to organic. Please help. I'm having a ball doing all the research to get a backyard flock going...but am stumped in a few areas.
  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    You don't need the medicated feed. It's merely a preventative for cocci. It may not even be prevalent in your area.
  3. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    All my chickens are unvaccinated. I keep a closed flock (no new birds arriving) and have never seen signs of disease other than fowl pox (carried by mosquitoes).

    So that only leaves coccidiosis (which is a big problem with chicks). However you can raise chickens without medication if you make sure they have exposure to small amounts of coccidia from a young age, and don't let the bug get out of control. Feeding soured milk seems to be a really good cocci preventive in my backyard.

    The brooder must be clean but not sterile. I always throw a handful of adult healthy hen soil into the brooder from day one. This gives the chicks exposure from the day they hatch, and stops it overwhelming them when suddenly exposed to it later on. I also move chicks out of the baby brooder at exactly 3 weeks of age (which is when they begin to shed high numbers of cocci oocysts) so the brooder isn't seeded with huge numbers that could overwhelm new chicks.

    There's a bit of an art to it (watching weather, changing litter every 24 hours at the first sign of chicks going off feed) but raising chicks without medication is perfectly possible. For a first timer I'd probably suggest either raising these chicks under a broody hen or using medicated starter.

    Sorry to suggest medication but if the birds have a good couple of months between having any medication and going clean they should be pretty well free of residues.

    I raise several batches of chicks per year, but raising fairly low numbers is the other key to avoiding cocci. Problems happen when too many chicks are raised on the same ground.

    Hope this all helps, sorry it's long winded!

    With you in spirit,
  4. ChickenJerk

    ChickenJerk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2012
    With your experience level and dedication to organic perhaps you should consider getting the minimum order from the hatchery (25?) so that you end up with seven or so birds.
    If you happen to get lucky and have more ready to lay pullets than you need there is usually a ready market for a few of them.
  5. mikecnorthwest

    mikecnorthwest Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    My Coop
    Buy the unvaccinated chicks and feed unmedicated chick starter. Odds are you'll be fine. Don't over think it.
  6. melodynye

    melodynye Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2011
    Yale, Michigan
    It's funny how most feed store advice follows commercial production guidelines. If you are trying to raise your chickens organically you have to have organic feed. You'll probably notice that none of the ingredients on an organic feed back will be medication. Keep them free from drafts, warm with fresh water and feed. You'll be fine :>)
  7. Markallen

    Markallen Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 8, 2012
    Northern AZ
    This exact question was brought up at our local feed store chicken seminar. We plan to feed organic also, so we were concerned about the medicated feed. The feed store manager said to put them on organic at laying age, and it will take two weeks for the medicated residue to purge out of their system.

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