Coccidiosis & How To Treat It
Picture by animallover1654
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 chickens??
Some infections are more sever then 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 then older birds. But older chickens can still get it.
- Nutrition. A poorly fed brid are more suscepitble then 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.
Pictures by LittleCreekFarm
Cocci Control and Prevention
- Good Management
- Vaccinating at earliest age (do not feed medicated starter feed if your chicks have been vaccinated against cocci. This will neutralize the vaccine.
- For birds living outside keep the bedding in the house clean and dry
- Clean waterers and feeders every time you refill them
- Feeding medicated starter feed that contains coccidiostat (which kills coccidia) for the first month
Keeping your chickens water cleanand free of dropings, bedding clean/fresh, and making sure they are getting good nutrition is a great way to avoid getting this disease. Using preventative tonics like Apple Cider Vinegar in their water (like in the above picture) and Garlic, this helps to keep on top of oocyst and other worms. The acid in the gut helps to prevent the formation of oocyst which does the damage. All ground fed birds are exposed to infective oocysts throughout their life. Cocci are less common in free ranging birds than ones that are confined to one area. Coccidiosis can be transferred on contaminated boots, clothing, feed sacks, insects, and rodents.
Fresh water and good nutrition help keep your chickens healthy.
- 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
(Above) Picture by pdxcluck
(Above) Note the weak, fluffed feathers, and pale comb.
(Below) Bloody poop
All above pictures by Mrs. AKA- Bird-Brain
(Left) Picture by WTDavis ~ (Right) Picture by Lothiriel
WTDavis said that this was actuallly blood in this ~ Although it looks strange this is just intestinal lining.
poop picture not berries, and they had a test done on a ~
stool sample and the results said it was filled with coccidia. ~
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 9.6% liquid solution. The dosage is 9.5cc to a gallon of water for five days. And there is no withdrawal period. You do need to make a fresh batch every day, and keep him/her away from all the other chickens. Corid takes care of all 9 cocci that chickens could get.
Another treatment is Sulment (Sulfadimethoxine). But I have read it is not as effective as corid and 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.
There are some home-aid treatments like the Milk Flush which is 4 pounds of dried milk, 2 pounds of corn meal, 2 pounds of oatmeal, and 1 pound of bran for 3-5 days feeding only this nothing else. This will flush the system out. However I don't know if this method has ever worked and would again encourage you to treat with Corid. In case you did want to try this though here is more information
Follow up treatment with vitamin supplement (especially A and K)
Use liquid treatment for treating chickens since chicks/chickens don't uaually eat when infected by cocci.
Cecal Coccidiosis: 5-6 days
Intestinal Coccidiosis: 5 days
What is found in a Necropsy?
All lesions are found in the intestines, the ceca of poultry. These lesions can be found in the upper small intestines or lower large intestines and ceca. They include a red or white speckled appearance in the intestinal wall. The intestines may become swollen and fill up with fluid, blood, and tissue debris. If you decide to do a necropsy and want to know for sure that your birds have this disease, scraping the gut lining and sending it to your state diagnostic laboratory for conformation will tell you whether or not it's coccidiosis.
I hope you and your chickens will never have to go through Coccidiosis, but if you do I hope this article will help you understand coccidiosis and help you know how to treat it. If you have any questions even if you think its dumb, please ask. Good luck!
Thanks for reading,