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questions on baby chicks

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I'm considering getting chickens again, lost all the last batch t o wild dogs.

If I get baby chicks, is there some sort of food to feed them that isn't medicated. I don't want to do medications/antibiotics or what have you on the chicks, I want free range eggs from them with out all the added stuff. But I want them to have sufficient feed as chicks.

Any ideas?

They have plenty of room here to free range and eat grass as chicks, we have a portable house that we can move around to give them clean grass daily. Until their older then we have a big house fenced in, that we can lock them up in at night, and let them free range out side during the day. The area is fenced in so they can be outside but caged up when I can't keep an eye out on them.

I miss my free range eggs, and their 2.00 a dozen to buy them in the store for free range.

Culpeper, VA(Zone 7a)

Chick starter feed comes both medicated & non-medicated. All you have to do is ask for unmedicated chick starter.

However, if you do plan on feeding unmedicated chick starter, you should probably purchase chicks that have at least been vaccinated against coccidiosis - a number one chick killer. Otherwise, I'd definitely stick with medicated feed. By the time the chicks are old enough to lay eggs, they will have been off the medicated chick starter for quite a long time, & there won't be any "added stuff" in their systems to worry about.

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Sorry to hear about your chickens, Kathy Ann.

Our chicks got a nonmedicated organic feed. I had them in a roomy area (usually in a pen on the open grass during the day) and changed their litter frequently to keep the exposure to coccidiosis manageable rather than overwhelming. If I'm not able to duplicate this situation, I'll consider supplementing their water with the anti-cocci medicine (every other day), as I have not found an organic feed that is medicated.

I sell my eggs for 3.00/dozen, and they pay for their (expensive) feed.

Maybe you could use a chicken tractor this time around. Keeps them safe from all predators and as you move it daily, you still get the free range taste and they get all the greens and bugs they want.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Thanks for your help, both of you. Your probably right breezymeadow about it being out of their systems, I do know about cocci, it 's dangerous . I like your way of thinking zeppy, I wouldn't have any trouble selling eggs for 3.00 a doz if they were completely organic either, I really like the thought of that. I'm not too worried of them getting cocci from a dirty pen though, they'll be on the ground as chicks, it's a small house we have built for them with a heat lamp and completely enclosed with plastic oround the outside for the winter. but sun gets in. and they have new grass every day, kind of like a new floor LOL. Still going to ponder over this.

I would have a hard time finding organic feed. and I'm not as much concerned about organic as much as free range. I do not want antibiotics or hormones though. which is what i'm striving for.

What kind of layers do you guys recommend, I thought about rhode island reds, or barred rock, either sound good for good layers?

thanks again for your help

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Both sound great. My best layers this year are the Ameraucanas, but the Buff Orpingtons and RI Reds are great, too. No complaints whatsoever. I am getting some Columbian and Golden Laced Wyandottes come spring, as well. Bit by the chicken bug! (And I don't mean lice.) :)

Yeah, I wasn't set on organic feed, but the way the stuff at the farm bureau smelled -- like old ground-up chicken -- made me ill, and I've got the organic stuff just down the road. You're right: it's those fresh bugs and greens that make a big difference.

A photo of my tractor is in the third post of this thread:

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Now that's one nice chicken tractor. I reallly like that.

Taylors, SC

Zeppy, I have to tell you how great your yard looks in the photo too! After all this is Daves Garden site!! !

Culpeper, VA(Zone 7a)

I've had both Rhode Island Reds & Barred Rocks, & they're both very good layers of large brown eggs. Another favorite good layer of mine are the Black SexLinks, which have the added advantage of being able to be sexed at hatching time (the rooster & hen chicks are different colors at birth). I also had a few commercial White Leghorns which were fabulous white-egg layers.

And of course, the Aracaunas are not only interesting-looking, but you can't beat those lovely blue eggs (although that isn't guaranteed - Aracaunas can lay eggs ranging from pinkish-brown, thru brown, khaki, olive green, & blue).

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Breezy's right: my Ameraucanas lay distinctly khaki colored eggies. Personality-wise, I like those and the RI Reds best. I'm sharing an order from McMurray Hatchery and I'm ordering only pullets this time.

Thanks, Elizabeth. I'm a novice gardener in many ways, so that's nice to hear.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

kathyann, i hope i am not too late to recommend the Buckeye. Not only are they GREAT layers of brown eggs, but they are superb foragers, good meat birds, can raise their own chicks, and are on the critical list for endangered breeds!!! i personally like that they are the ONLY breed to have been EXCLUSIVELY created by a woman....... and in the late 1800s no less!

i am ordering mine from here:

although they are very rare birds, i know they have at least 100 eggs, and i am only getting 50, so that leaves some for somebody else LOL

and as far as orgainc or un-medicated feed, although i don't have the book handy, Louise Riotte gave indications of how to make your own feed, and what to do for disease naturally, including cocciodosis! her book is called Raising Animals by the Moon, and is full of valuable natural info for all kinds of animals!!! i got mine from

good luck!

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

your not too late.

The only thing I can buy around here is barred rock or rhode island reds. I've never bought through the mail before. that would be a new one for me LOL

will check out your link,


Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

LOL I just checked the link, must be out of them, cause their no longer listed LOL

how do they ship them? do they guarantee them on delivery to be alive?


Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

can you guys go to that link Tamara posted, and give me some good layers out of that group, I might try getting them from this place. Their reasonable enough that 's for sure.

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

TFaye, have you had Buckeyes for long?

South of Winnipeg, MB(Zone 3a)

Just a quick visit here for me. I remember adding molasses to the water for my chicks to prevent some sort of malady, but it's a long time ago. Anyone still do this?


Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

funny, icehcked the site to make sure they were listed before i posted the link. will go look. haven't had buckeyes long, they don't arrive till March 20th LOL. My VERY FIRST CHICKS!!!

chicks are sent overnight. once hatched they have enough nourishment from consuming the yolk to last a couple of days, and they are shipped in larger enough quantities [25 minimum i think] to keep each other warm, and the boxes are approved with ariholes and everything. seems freaky, but actually a very normal thing! the place where you would buy those two breeds from proably have them shipped in froma hatchery i would guess. that's what the feed stores around here do...

seems like molasses ought to be good for something, i will look into that!

kathy_ann, did you click the very rare link, then scroll down under brown eggs? i will go look, they were listed yesterday... first categorized by size, bantam or standard, then by common, rare, or very rare, then by color of eggs...


Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

OK, they are there. THey only got these because last year i bought guineas form them, and gave thema list of rare breeds i wanted to choose from!

Click on Standard Very Rare. They are the last listing in the first group. Cannot be sexed, but yes, i believe they guarantee, and all that. They were INCREDIBLY helpful last year when i bought guineas. i still remember, the lady at the post office, complaining that my birds stunk! there were four of them, and they were about 2 months old already. I told her, maybe they had to POOP! Tehn we got in the car, and my four year old said, "they don't stink, they smell like guineas!" Luckily, that particular postal clerk has retired, so she won't be complaining about my chicks :-P~

If you want white eggs i recommend the Buff Catalana, listed fruthere down on the same page under Standard [meaning size] Very Rare. Or Under Standard Rare they have the Blue Andalusians and the Rose Combed Brown Leghorns, which are available sexed, and under the same category for Brown eggs i saw the Jersey Black Gaint, which someone here on DG recommended...

sorry, i'm just not into common birds LOL. i would rather promote old breeds before they completely die out. and one way to prevent them from dying out is to request them from hatcheries. they own't incubate the eggs, or even request the eggs from the breeders, if they don't think they will sell...

here is a little fun education...

"...when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again."
-William Beebe


Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Thanks so much for the help tamara,

I'll go see, I'm kind of glad they don't come for a while. I"m not ready for them yet LOL

probably gonna order some in the morning.


Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

cool, yep i am not ready, one month and counting though!

let me know what you end up with... i am sticking with brown this year, then next year maybe some buffs and whites, who knows?


Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

OH wow, I really like the Giant Blue Cochin

Giant Buff Cochin

Their so pretty, I wonder if they lay smaller eggs. I looked up a picture of them, they seem smaller than reg. chickens, I'm not sure. I want brown eggs, good layers, but would love something quite unusual looking, LOL

see what you've started Tamara LOL


Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

You could consider the Polish breeds...?

Sand Hill Preservation has breeds that no one else in the country carries any more. Light Sussex is one, but there are many. They also have heritage breeds of turkey, but i think they're sold out this year. They're in Garden Watchdog, as they also sell heirloom veggies.

Fritch, TX(Zone 6b)

polish, cool.... i was wanting to stick wih American breeds, til i saw the catalanas!!!

yep, kathy_ann, i just love stirring things up ;-)


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