Country Smallholding - - Pen -

QMany starter feeds for chick­ens are la­belled as ‘med­i­cated’. What is the med­i­ca­tion and why is it in the feed? ANDY SAYS:

Without know­ing pre­cisely which brand of feed you are re­fer­ring to, it is not pos­si­ble to an­swer specif­i­cally. How­ever, gen­er­ally speak­ing, ‘med­i­cated’ tends to re­fer to feed con­tain­ing am­pro­lium, which is an ad­di­tive that helps to pre­vent coc­cid­io­sis.

Coc­cid­io­sis is a par­a­site that lives in the gut of many an­i­mals and it re­quires a chem­i­cal called thi­amine to mul­ti­ply. Am­pro­lium is a thi­amine blocker and it there­fore re­stricts the growth of the par­a­site dur­ing the early weeks while the chick is grow­ing un­til it reaches a more self-re­sis­tant stage of its life. (See also page 16.)

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