Feed stories


Rickets in chickens!
You really have to be careful about starter feed. A while back all
our biddies starting slowing dying. They get various deformities,
get spastic and just fall over dead. We tried getting them from a
different source, then hatching our own but the result was the same.
After we had another batch die eventhough they had been vaccinated,
(for Merck's) I called the state pathology lab.

They had me bring in some carcasses and a couple of almost dead
chicks. They were dying from rickets caused by a deficiency of
vitamins A and D. I went to the mill to see why my chicks had no
vitamins A and D when they were getting "complete" starter-grower.
This was a mill to which we had switched when the nearest co-op went
bust and in thinking back our chick problems had started about the
time we started using feed from that mill. I had the manager explain
the process by which the feed was made. As it turned out vitamins A
and D were in fact added to the feed before it was extruded into
pellets. The pellets were then crumbled by physically shattering the
pellets with a steam of igh pressure water. Both A and D are highly
water soluble so they were putting them in and then washing them
out. Needless to say, we changed mills and always add vitamins to
their water. We were able to save a few of the last batch affected by
giving them mega doses of vitamins, but that was one very painful

Note from Allison -
Vitamin A is readily available in grated carrot, & Vitamin D comes from sunshine. But worth a note if you are having problems with your chickens.

Somone who really disagrees with Allison regarding antibiotics in chick starter feed-
The medication in chick starter is a coccicidistat, not a typical antibiotic used in a typical way. The coccicidistat controls
the coccicidiosis until the chick develops resistance so that it doesn't harm the digestive tract for the rest of the birds life.
Growing birds will typically have several cases of coccicidiosis as they mature, and even mature birds may have mild cases, especially if they are on the ground. So a case could be made that the interest in "free range" poultry and unmedicated feeds are counterproductive to one another in some ways. (Like my mother-in-law putting up a bird feeder
and keeping cats at the same time :) )
Quoting from www.shagbarkbantams.com: (A good site for newbies) "Another point on medicated feed -- the amount of Amprolium is so minute as a percentage of the feed, that it is not considered a cure, and actually will allow a mild case to occur, helping the bird to develop a resistance to it in the future.  There are medicated layer feeds with Amprolium alone in it that are approved for that particular use."

Allison responds-
If chickens are raised good conditions (as described in my video), they survive well when they enter a chicken yard, even if there is disease present. Using small amounts of antibiotics to allow mild cases of any disease is how antibiotic-resistant bacteria are created. I maintain that it's better to stay away from antibiotics in feed so if you need to use antibiotics to treat a disease, they are more effective.
Besides which, antibiotic resistant bacteria is one of the main reasons I raise my own chickens.