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Organic 3 week old chicks lossing some to coccidia?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I have 70 cornish X- 3 week old chicks; I fear I am losing some to coccidia. (5 so far) Does anyone know a way to heal them up without corid?


Feed is organic grown just changing over to broiler grower.


They have received Rooster Booster in one days worth of water


They receive Braggs organic vinegar in water that is changed daily sometimes twice daily


They have access to a chicken yard. My hens have a 40'x20' secure yard that I divided in half for the babies brooder. (This may have been the problem since I read, after building a 300.00 breakdown brooder, that there probably is coccidia in the existing chicken yard. (My husband did an amazing job of designing it with good ventilation, removable side walls for cleaning flip up roofing you'd think they'd appreciate it and not get sick!)


The yard is raked daily


New shaving are added daily with poop removal and refreshing every few days


When they get sick I bring them in give them honey water on a spoon change the paper towels as soon as I see a poop fresh water and food available when they are strong enough in the beginning. I've used oatmeal with honey and a little tiny bit of vinegar in hope of keeping them hydrated.


The only other things different is I bought these from a place that raises and also butchers. Very reputable company but I really would consider spending the extra money next time and order from my usual hatchery.


Any other ideas? I have raised lots of chicks but never lost them to this.



post #2 of 10

I use 12.5% Dimethox Concentrate (Sulfadimethoxine) on my farm. it is used for goats, sheeps, chicken, turkeys, ducks, ect. my main use is for my goats but works with chicks also. use 1fl oz / 2 gal. water. this can be used both as a prevenitive measure and a treatment. I order from holgers supply company but im sure more places carry this. hope this helps.

FYI if some are noticeably sick and others not be sure to separate them and still treat both. make sure after removing sick chicks you clean the pen the healthy birds are in to reduce spreading infection.

post #3 of 10

Corid is not an antibiotic, and is used by some other organic farmers here on BYC. Corid (amprollium) is a thiamine inhibitor. Sulfadimethoxine is an antibiotic. Here is some info about Corid: 

If you can you you may want to give your chicks some buttermilk or plain yogurt for probiotics, if you don't use the Corid. Getting the chickens out of the coop on fresh grass would be helpful in letting them build up a tolerance for coccida. 


Here is a good article about coccidiosis:

Edited by Eggcessive - 9/4/15 at 6:39am
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the help - I started treating with corid a few days ago and I think thats under control but I have lost over a dozen of the organic broiler in the last week! 8 in the last 2 days.


I have been trying to get to the sick ones before they end up on their back with feet in the air dying. Usually it's only when they start to stagger or act drunk that they can be identified. Having/had 70 white cornish X to watch it was impossible to know who's who. Now the interesting thing is the other side has 30 non organic only 2 of those have died. (I haven't been out to check yet. I can't bear to for a little while)


Anyway yesterday while trying to give any that looked ratty, fluffy with a pale comb an extra boost of the corid with an eye dropper I notice some sound like they have a cold! Come on are you kidding me!  Then I started to think about how they have so many neurological symptom, sitting on haunches, neck spasms and they can go down in a few hours no matter what I do. Yesterday I took 3 from the flock just cause they looked very quiet and within 3 hours they were on their side or backs with their necks flopping and then arching to their back. Last night I just tucked them in a crate an other in a plastic bin with clean shaving and covered with a towel. I haven't gone out yet. During the night one in the crate went nuts banging around so much it woke us up. I went out but it was to dark to see anything much. One that died yesterday did the same thing; went ballistic throwing himself out of the box he was in and thrashing around the screen house the sick ones are in. He promptly turned purple in the head and expired.


I was wondering could this be something else besides coccidia? They are just starting their 5th week.


Thanks again.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

I just talked to the guy from the place I got them from and he was very nice and said they checked the birds from the same batch. They get 4000 birds every couple weeks and he said his are doing fine. My concern is the neurological/muscle stuff. He said the birds are vaccinated for all the big problems.


Any clue about the muscle stuff with dramatic death. yikes....


Still waiting to hear from the Uconn poultry guy, glad I'm not holding my breathe gee whiz.

post #6 of 10

Be sure and check your feed for any mold, since that could cause poisoning. Sometimes it isn't easy to see, but odor or color can be off. Is there anything different about your water or watering system? The state vet can do a necropsy on one of the dead chickens if it is refrigerated, and sent in promptly. I sure hope you can figure out what is going on.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

I​ brought one that was dying up to UCONN and hope to hear today or tomorrow. The Prof. from UCONN I emailed said he thought it was ascities syndrome. Non had died or fell ill yesterday I haven't been out to check. Such a coward I am. I have one sitting in a plastic storage container on my dining room table I've been nursing for 4-5 days and he's trying to stand which is pretty cool considering when I brought him in Monday he was upside down and he had no control over his head. I kept hand feeding him water with the medicine and moisten feed yesterday he started to be able to control his head so well he can eat out of a bowl and drink out of a water feeder. He'll have to be a special dinner.

I'll copy and share the report from the College when I get it.
post #8 of 10

With Mareks disease, it takes a minimum or two weeks after the vaccine to achieve immunity from the virus. So, if chicks are in an environment that has had Mareks before, it can still infect them in the dust or dander. Those of us who have had chickens inside know how much chicken dander and dust their can be. 

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

I got the final report last week. The week before the pathologist called me personally because of the slow e-mail situation. I realize that I am far from smart and in my mind I kept say 'huh????' as he was speaking, then after reading this I still am saying 'huh?'. At this point the remaining chicken are in the freezer.

I don't know if I agree with the nutrition thing, I would think that more would have died. (I lost a total of 15)This all happened in a span of 1 week.  Most of the ones lost went from that neuro thing and a couple from coccidiosis in the very beginning before treating with corid. Only thing I can think is that the quality of the birds was not that good, last years were much stronger and grew better with the same foods, this years may just have been weakened by the coccidiosis and fell to the nutrition issue or the corid could have been too much for them. Bottom line I'm still not sure. What I am sure is I'm glad it's over.

The weights this year were far lower than last years. Look at this; last year smallest was just under 6lbs the largest almost 11lbs average 8lbs at 8 1/2 weeks. This year smallest 3.99lbs largest 6.98lbs average between 4 1/2 and high 5's. at 8 weeks shy of 2 days.







BRAIN, CEREBELLUM: severe, acute to subacute, multifocal to coalescing encephalomalacia with


VENTRICULUS: moderate, multifocal, acute erosive and heterophilic ventriculitis

WHOLE BODY: moderate, diffuse pallor

SKIN, WINGS: mild subcutaneous hemorrhage

CECUM: rare luminal ascarid nematodes


Microscopic examination revealed severe cerebellar encephalomalacia which presumably caused the

acute onset of "tipping over and spasms of the neck and legs" reported in the history. These

clinical and histologic findings in a 4 week old chick are strongly suggestive of vitamin E

deficiency. This condition is often characterized by acute onset of progressive ataxia,

muscular weakness, spasmodic incoordination, downward or backward retraction of head with

occasional torticollis leading to paralysis, and death in young chickens between 15 to 30 days

of age (with a range of 7 to 56 days). Besides encephalomalacia, dietary vitamin E deficiency

can cause exudative diathesis (with selenium deficiency) and nutritional myopathy (with sulfur

amino acid deficiency) in chicks and reproductive problems in older poultry. Whether the areas

of inflammation and erosion in the ventriculus (gizzard) were also related to this suspected

nutritional deficiency in this chick is undetermined. These ventricular erosions could have

been a source of gastrointestinal hemorrhage contributing to anemia, for which no other cause

thanks to all
post #10 of 10

Vitamin E and selenium deficiency can cause encephalomalacia (star gazing, wry neck, torticolis.) It can resemble Mareks, and may be common in feed that has sat on the shelf longer, and has become vitamin E depleted or rancid. Sometimes that happens with more expensive or organic feeds if they sit long. It may help to put some vitamins or vitamin E in the feed 2-3 times a week to prevent this. Here is a little reading about that:

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