Raising Chickens With Medicated Chick Starter

| 3/5/2009 12:00:00 AM

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Is there a way to raise chicks without using medicated chick feed and vitamins in the water? 

Robert Engelbert
Wichita, Kansas

Medicated chick starter is aimed at a single disease, coccidiosis (intestinal parasites). This is a serious problem with brooder-raised chicks (it's unlikely to be a problem with hen-hatched chickens). I recommend that beginners who are raising baby chicks use medicated chick starter because the symptoms of coccidiosis are often hard for beginners to spot, and your chicks can be permanently stunted or killed before you know what has happened. Wait until you've raised a few broods of chickens before giving up the training wheels that medicated starter provides.

I never use vitamins in the water myself. Any competently formulated chick starter will have plenty of vitamins. Use the right feed, keep the chicks warm, and never let them run out of food or water, and they should do fine.

Ara Morenberg_2
7/17/2010 5:27:38 AM

We just started raising backyard chickens and I'm determined to do it organically and medication-free. We have 4 hens received at 8 weeks old that were backyard raised and they free-range in our backyard with organic soy-free layer feed as supplement, along with table scraps. We then obtained a batch of eight 1-day-old chicks that have never been medicated. I put apple cider vinegar in their water that has chopped up fresh garlic in it. To start them off, I fed them organic quinoa and other grains mixed with yogurt or kefir and supplement with organic soy-free starter feed. They are now 10 weeks old, happy, healthy, well-fed and growing like weeds. There are all sorts of natural remedies that can be used to maintain chick and hen health. There's an online group on Yahoo! called Organic Chickens that is a great source of advice for raising medication-free chickens. Happy chicken raising!

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