Coccidia Is Transmitted By Poop, Right?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by zteagirl71, Feb 10, 2015.

  1. zteagirl71

    zteagirl71 In the Brooder

    Jun 7, 2012
    I recently lost two little pullets to Coccidosis ( thanks to my ignorance)[​IMG], and now I'm wondering: [​IMG]What in the wide wide world of sports is going on here when people are told that it's GREAT for hens to scratch around in (and to even feed from) another animal's poop, if poop is where Coccidia colonize?

    This is the gist of what I've run across: "Keep your hens' coop and run clean, but don't forget to shovel in loads of your cow's and/or horse's kaka into the chicken run, where they magically turn it into compost!"

    Doesn't this strike anyone else as being --oh I don't know -- hypocritical, and even dangerous? Any thoughts or information about this puzzling and rather gross[​IMG] practice would be much appreciated.
  2. Ravynscroft

    Ravynscroft For the Love of Duck

    Nov 30, 2014
    Middle Tennessee
    First, Welcome to BYC! And I am very sorry for your loss... I learned the hard way too...

    This is what I have learned, but could be wrong, so here is what I see and my opinions...

    There are many strains of coccidia, but the strains that poultry are susceptible are different than the strains other animals and livestock are susceptible to. As it is shed in the chickens poo, you don't want them living in excessive amounts of their own poo.
    I haven't heard of putting straight poo from other animals into chicken runs, but having chickens scratch through compost is a common practice. A properly maintained compost breaks down the waste into harmless and beneficial soil. The compost contains good microbes and bacterias that eliminate harmful ones.
    Worms and Black Soldier Flies thrive in a good compost and chickens love to eat those and are a great source of protein for them. The chickens usually aren't eating poo, but the bugs and such that thrive in a good compost.
    Some people don't like or agree with composting, but there are many that do. Each person practices their own type of care for their animals on what they feel is best. As long as the animals are happy and healthy then that is what I feel is what is most important.
    I hope this helps and welcome others input on this. :)
  3. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    You should not try to protect your birds from coccidia, you can't avoid it any more than a human can avoid a rhinvirus (common cold). Instead, you want controlled exposure to allow the birds (usually chicks) to build up their own immunity. It's is exceedingly rare for a grown, or even half-grown, bird to get ill from coccidia, though they ingest quite a few of the organism every day. Only when moved and they encounter a new strain could they get sick.

    The medications do not kill the organism, it's not an anti-biotic at all, rather it inhibits their growth and reproduction and allows the bird time to build immunity. Since coccidia also reproduces prolifically in damp bedding and manure, dry bedding goes a long way to suppressing them to a safe level also, but trying to exclude any poop is an exercise in frustration and sort of counter-productive. It's important to allow exposure to coccidia, keep conditions dry (and reasonably clean is good too) and be prepared to treat quickly if you see bloody poop or listless birds.

    Remember, the watchfulness is only while they are growing, this vulnerability passes and you are largely in control of when they are most vulnerable - when you move them to new conditions.
    1 person likes this.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Second this. If you read the Merck manual article on cocci, it basically says most farm animals have some strain, but rate of clinical disease is under 10%. It also says prevention is based on limited exposure so young animals develop immunity instead of disease. That's where the medicated feed comes in, it basically lets the chick get exposed to the cocci but not in overwhelming numbers so the chick's system does not get overcome, but rather develops immunity. Broody hens have raised chicks on farms for years and years, scratching in cow and horse manure, and I think it helps develop a good immunity. I put manure in my run and have only had issues with cocci in chicks once, and that group of chicks just weren't thrifty to start with.,d.eXY

    Hens scratching in horse manure may seem gross to you, but remember you're not a chicken. They think it's a gourmet treat!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2015
  5. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    The others are correct in that the species of Eimeria that cause coccidiosis in chickens is different from the species that causes disease in other animals. So no worries about cross infection.

    Coccidiostats in feed, like amprolium, do a pretty good job at preventing infection in young animals. The risk of older animals contracting the disease decreases with age. Still, it is always a good idea to clean regularly and to quarantine new birds for three weeks to a month before introducing them to the rest of your flock. This also includes birds that have gone out to a show.

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