What is Coccidiosis?
Coccidia are a microscopic parasitic organism that infect poultry when ingested by the chicken. The parasites found in the ground or bird feces attaches itself to the lining in the gut, multiplies and becomes an oocyst feeding in the digestive tract which will make it bleed. Once infected it passes the parasites in its poop days before symptoms occur. The coccidia that infect chickens do not affect other types of livestock, and vice versa. Different kinds of birds are even infected by a different kind of coccidia. Coccidiosis (pronounced cock-sid-ee-oh-sis) in chickens is caused by nine species of Eimeria protozoa, some are more serious than others. It is fatal, but if your chicken survived this disease it would be immune to future cocci infections.
How does Coccidia harm my chickens?
Some infections are more sever than others.
– The more oocysts eaten by the chicken the more sever the disease.
– The site of development within the chicken.
– Age of bird. Young birds are more susceptible than older birds. But older chickens can still get it.
– Nutrition. A poorly fed bird are more susceptible than well fed birds.
Coccidiosis in chickens is eather intestinal or cecal. Intestinal is caused by E. necatrix and cecal coccidiosis is caused by E. tenella. Coccidiosis in more common in young birds and not old birds because older birds are usually immune due to prior infection. Broilers and layers are more commonly infected. Coccidiosis usually occurs more often in warm months like May-September rather than cold months like October-April.
Medicated starter Feed
Coccidiosis is more common in chicks and young chickens. Medicated feed can help protect your chicks but in order for the medicated starter feed to work your chicks have to be exposed to Coccidia Protozoa (by letting them go outside and be on the soil is a way for them to be exposed). They then will slowly start to build a resistance and immunity to this disease. When raised by us chicks are usually inside and away from the outdoors, but when raised by hens only a little while after they hatch they are outside foraging and start to build their immunity. Medicated starter feed does not treat/cure coccidiosis. Contrary to popular belief, coddling chicks and not allowing them outside will actual do more harm than good. They are just like kids. Let them get dirty! Build resistance! I can’t stress this enough. Chicks need dirt between their toes, not cardboard under their feet.
Two of our silkies and thier adopted kids.
How can I prevent Coccidiosis?
Several ways actually:
- Vaccinate your chicks, most hatcheries will do this for a small fee
- Use medicated starter feed for your chicks that don’t have a vaccination (don’t give both)
- Keep your chick brooders and coop clean and dry, nasty warm environments will allow it to multiply quickly.
- Provide clean water. Does this mean have a hose constantly running? No, but make sure they aren’t drinking out of a trough that the chickens step in. Consider using these Chicken Water Nipples in PVC, they are so easy to make. If you’re not really inclined to use them, a simple standing Chicken Waterer
- Make sure your coop is ventilated so it won’t be moist and wet. Let it air out. Consider a Solar Fan Setup
- Don’t overcrowd the coop! 4 Sq feet of space per adult , 10 Sq for your runs and 6 sq inches for chicks in a brooder
- Use Chicken Probiotics to promote health in the chickens gut
- Always Quarantine new chickens away from your flock for 2-3 weeks
- Don’t keep ducks and chickens together. Ducks = Wetness which = parasite growth
How do I know if my chicks or chickens have it?
Well, most of us can tell just by looking for the symptoms, however the only way to tell by a vet is for a Fecal Float Test to be done.
- – Look dirty and unkempt
- – Weak and listless
- – Fluffed up not doing much
- – May see pale comb and skin
- – May be sick one day and drop dead the next day
- – Not eating and drinking much
- – Blood in poop (Some types of coccidiosis don’t have bloody poop as a symptom) (do not get this confused with intestinal lining that chickens do shed that is brown/red)
- – Severe infection that causes yellow foamy poop
How to Treat Coccidiosis?
Treatment will work effectively and quickly if started when you see the first signs of disease
The treatment I have read about that is said to be the best is to separate your chickens and then use CORID powder solution. Its by far the best out there as it kills all 9 types of Cocci.
You can also use CORID LIQUID if the powder isn’t your thing, its the same stuff, just liquid form. The dosage is 9.0cc of the liquid per gallon of water.
See this awesome dosage chart below. (SAVE THIS)
Another treatment is Sulment (Sulfadimethoxine). But it only treats 2 kinds of cocci. There is also a 10 day withdrawal period for sulmet. Sulmet is a lot harder on chickens then Corid is. In case you want to try sulmet the dosage is 2 Tablespoons to a gallon of water for 2 days. Then reduce to 1 Tablespoon to a gallon for 4 days. But I would recommend Corid over Sulmet all day any day.
Follow up treatment with vitamin supplement (especially A and K)
Check out Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens. Shes the ultimate authority on all things chicken.
MUST SEE : KEEPING CHICKENS COOL IN THE SUMMER!!!!
Also, WHAT IS MAREK’S DISEASE?