Breeding for resistance... cocci?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by X2Farm, May 13, 2011.

  1. X2Farm

    X2Farm Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Homer, GA
    So I know cocci is a protozoa and can have devastating effects, but I'm curious to know if its also something that can fit into a breeding program when one is breeding for resistance, say, when it appears some chicks have a mild case while others in the same area have no symptoms at all, the symptomatic chicks would be culls, while the unaffected chicks would could be future breeders.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this? Anyone incorporated this into thier breeding program?

  2. aveca

    aveca Songster

    Jun 30, 2009
    Waverly, NY
    MAYBE SOMONE CAN ANSWER THE QUESTION , WGHAT BREEDS ARE RESISTANT TO THIS DISEASE? They would pretty much have to do controled tests to find out which breeds can hold thier own against it..maybe somone at cornell U can answer that..or another vet school..

    SOME BREEDS ARE RESISTANT TO MEREKS DISEASE, WE TAlked about that a while ago in here, they have a B factor in thier blood that makes them immune to it and, crossbreds have at least some resistance and may develope a milder foprm of it..almost all mediteranian breeds are immune and carry that B factor in thier blood. and some asiatics..
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  3. WallTenters

    WallTenters Songster

    Feb 16, 2010
    Sweet Home, OR
    Breeding for resistance to cocci would be pretty hard to control. Coccidiosis is not a disease, it's a parasite. Yes, you'll have some birds that just seem more prone to these parasites - but there's no evidence to suggest that being prone to cocci is genetic. Yes, other diseases (real diseases) you can sometimes get genetic resistance to.

    I think one of the best things for cocci is to start your chicks out on grass and well covered/clean/drained soil once they're about three weeks old or so, and while they're on medicated chick feed. If they can get a little cocci at a time in their systems, they won't be overwhelmed by it once they're moved out into the coops. Chicks raised on wire seem to have the hardest time dealing with cocci once they're moved out. You will rarely find an otherwise healthy baby chick with a broody dying from cocci - go figure.
  4. X2Farm

    X2Farm Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Homer, GA
    Thanks for yalls input. I raise my chicks on shavings till they're feathered enough to go out into a coop, weather allowing. Haven't had any cocci problems, and I don't feed medicated starter.

    Wall... you don't think theres any way to breed to resistane to parasites? Kind of more like luck of the draw?
  5. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Speaking from a book and not experience, cocci kills when it causes the runs and the chicks starve/dehydrate - the cause of death isn't the protozoa its the effects...

    If that is correct...

    you'd have to have a chicken that's hardest to starve or dehydrate, like the kinds they try to make for deserts and stuff in third world countries that they give them 12 chicken and one rooster and tell them the first set of chicks hatched go to a neighbor.

    don't know what places like 'the heifer project' and all use as chickens tho-

    I have read where they get those donkys and cattle that need less water or food then what the countries that have feed lots would use... I wonder what chickens they use...
  6. Erica

    Erica Songster

    Dec 5, 2010

    Yes, it is possible — but difficult under backyard conditions. This is because you never know whether one chick simply ate more droppings (for unrelated reasons) and therefore ate more cocci parasites, or is genetically more capable of surviving coccidiosis.

    Over time I would think you could end up with a much less susceptible flock if you really worked hard at keeping the cocci challenge similar across all chicks (e.g. having a lot of feeders so no chicks are forced to eat more dropped food than others).

    However there are other things to consider. One is that apparently if you breed for resistance to something like coccidiosis, you may be actively breeding for susceptibility to something else (this has been noted in a couple of studies relating to breeding for disease resistance... Sorry, I can't remember the citations with this one). This isn't a reason not to do it, but something to think about.

    And another more general issue: it's been noted in studies that breeding for resistance tends to lower productivity. I presume this is because the immune system uses energy that takes away from growth... I think the citation for that is Feathersite, but sorry, if you ask I'll dig it out...

    Personally, I'm inclined to try it — though I also try to keep cocci away by management. I would think it's quite humane if the birds aren't allowed to suffer en masse. Neglecting husbandry in order to bring on a deadly cocci challenge would be rather cruel. Having the odd bird go down is different and is quite natural — it happens to people who practice the best husbandry including coccidiostats. All you'd be doing is choosing to cull rather than treat, in the interests of longer term reduction in suffering overall.

    Hope this helps, it's something I think about...

  7. X2Farm

    X2Farm Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Homer, GA
    Erica, thanks for that insight. I do see the relevance about having more controlled conditions to have it be an "all things equal" breeding regime. I also agree that one shouldn't slack on husbandry to bring something on and allow the animals to suffer in the name of "breeding" Thats just not right, in my book. I feel we owe it to our domestic animals to give them the best conditions we can, as we're allowed, so they can thrive and live a good life.

    It does seem breeding for resistance, per you stating about the studies, in conjunction with breeding for production traits would be a bit of a challenge. Interesting. Kinda like survival of the fittest meets the SOP!

    Thank you, definetly gives me some more stuff to mull over in my mind!

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