Brooder after coccidiosis


In the Brooder
Apr 14, 2020
Hey folks,

We just moved our first batch of meat birds out of the brooder right after treating with Corid due to coccidiosis. I am wondering what I should do before our next batch comes in a few weeks.

We were planning on doing the deep litter method in the brooder but now wondering if I need to completely empty all the pine shavings and scrub all the wood with ammonia or if we just add fresh shavings on top.

Any suggestions? If it matters, being in FL, the humidity is usually 60-70% in the brooder.

Bleach OR ammonia, or any good cleaner, totally cleaning it out, and let it dry completely.
Also clean the feeders and waterers very well, and dry.
Then plan to feed medicated chick starter, if the coccidiosis came from your ground.
I assume by "meat birds" you mean Cornish X or maybe Rangers? I'll copy something I wrote about medicate feed and Coccidiosis. The basics are the same and it may help you understand what is going on but it was not written with Cornish X or Rangers in mind. Cornish X especially poop a lot which puts them at a higher risk for Coccidiosis. The medicated feeds that are not Amprolium are usually for meat birds so do read the label.

Since your last batch had Cocci that bug is in your ground. They are going to have to face it when they leave the brooder even if they don't face it while in the brooder. I'd want them to develop immunity to it. They develop that immunity after two to three weeks exposure to the bug. As long as the numbers don't get out of control Cocci won't hurt them. The numbers typically get out of control in wet conditions. But all that is in the write-up.

I don't know how much cleaning you really need to do, probably a lot. But I'd want them exposed to it early. The cleaning would be to reduce the numbers in the bedding, not to try to eliminate them entirely so they can develop immunity. I would suggest medicated feed for the first three weeks at least and figure out how to keep that brooder as dry as possible. Hopefully you won't need the Corid again but pay attention, you might.

First you need to know what the "medicated" is in the medicated feed. It should be on the label. Usually it is Amprolium, Amprol, some such product, but until you read the label, you really don't know. Most "medicated' feed from major brands for chicks that will be layers uses Amprolium, but there are a few out there mostly for broilers that use other medicines. I'll assume yours is an Amprolium product, but if it is not, then realize everything I say about it may not apply. And it is possible that the "medicated" is Amprolium AND something else.

Amprol is not an antibiotic. It does not kill anything. It inhibits the protozoa that cause coccidiosis (often called Cocci on this forum) from multiplying in the chicken's system. It does not prevent the protozoa from multiplying; it just slows that multiplication down. There are several different strains of protozoa that can cause Cocci, some more severe than others. Chickens can develop immunity to a specific strain of the protozoa, but that does not give them immunity to all protozoa that cause Cocci. Little bitty tiny baby chicks can develop that immunity easier than older chickens.

It is not a big deal for the chicken’s intestines to contain some of the protozoa that cause Cocci. The problem comes in when the number of those protozoa gets huge. The protozoa can multiply in the chicken’s intestines but also in wet manure. Different protozoa strains have different strengths, but for almost all cases, if you keep the brooder dry, you will not have a problem.

To develop immunity to a specific strain, that protozoa needs to be in the chicks intestines for two or three weeks. The normal sequence is that a chick has the protozoa. It poops and some of the cysts that develop the protozoa come out in the poop. If the poop is slightly damp, those cysts develop and will then develop in the chick's intestines when the chicks eat that poop. This cycle needs go on for a few weeks so all chicks are exposed and they are exposed long enough to develop immunity. A couple of important points here. You do need to watch them to see if they are getting sick. And the key is to keep the brooder dry yet allow some of the poop to stay damp. Not soaking wet, just barely damp. Wet poop can lead to serious problems.

What sometimes happens is that people keep chicks in a brooder and feed them medicated feed while they are in the brooder. Those chicks are never exposed to the Cocci protozoa that lives in the dirt in their run, so they never develop the immunity to it. Then, they are switched to non-medicated feed and put on the ground where they are for the first time exposed to the protozoa. They do not have immunity, they do not have the protection of the medicated feed, so they get sick. Feeding medicated feed while in the brooder was a complete waste.

I do not feed medicated feed. I keep the brooder dry to not allow the protozoa to breed uncontrollably. The third day that they are in the brooder, I take a scoop of dirt from the run and feed it to them so I can introduce the protozoa and they can develop the immunity they need to the strain they need to develop an immunity to. To provide a place for that slightly damp poop, I keep a square of plywood in the dry brooder and let the poop build up on that. I don't lose chicks to Cocci when they hit the ground.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with feeding medicated feed to chicks, whether the protozoa are present or not. It will not hurt them. They can still develop the immunity they need. But unless the protozoa are present, it also does no good.

If you get your chicks vaccinated for Cocci, do not feed medicated feed. It can negate the vaccinations.
Amprolium in chick feed is meant to be fed for a couple of weeks after the chicks are exposed to your ground and whatever coccidia that's there. If you stop the medicated feed before the chicks have time to build their resistance to this parasite, and if you happen to have an overwhelming load in your soil, things won't go well.
Some of us can raise chicks without amprolium medicated feed, and that's great. Others of us, and it could happen any given year, will have sick chicks without that feed. If you've actually lost birds to coccidiosis, don't hope for the best next time, use the medicated feed!
Sorry this is a bit late. I had a bout of coccidiosis in a couple batches of chicks. I’m very isolated and not into bringing my food to the vet. After a bit of research I made a mixture of 1 huge clove crushed garlic, 1/4cup acv, two tablespoons cinnamon, and oregano oil in a 500ml bottle and added that to their water w a few extra drops of oregano in their water as it floats. Well bam they stopped dying and stopped pooping blood. Some stopped growing or acting chick like for almost a week now they’re all great again. The next batch hatched during all of this. I put big chunks of earth in their brooder from day one now. I feel like if they’re exposed to it in the soil before the bellybutton fully dries they make their antibodies. But I’m still giving everyone the concoction every couple days.
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