Coccidia questions?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Iko127, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Iko127

    Iko127 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few questions regarding coccidia in chickens. I'm new with the chickens. I have 2 big coops/runs, 1 small coop/run and 2 nice size cages that are off the ground. I recently hatched some chicks and had no problems all healthy and my large fowl all healthy. I did give ivermectin to large birds outside for 2 days in water. I didn't feed the medicated feed to my chicks and had no problems and really would like not to feed medicated to them if possible. My first hatch were huge chicks and were out in a big cage outside at 4 weeks with heat lamp at night. I live in Florida and is very hot and humid. I had hatched my second group and all were doing good. I came across what I thought was a good deal and bought some chicks that I thought would be great since they were the same age as the ones I had just hatched and they had some the same age as my first group I hatched also I bought a young rooster, which was what I was actually looking for and just thought I would pick up some of the other chicks to make my trip worth it. Like a dummy, honestly thinking these were clean birds from a clean place, came home and put them all with the age groups they needed to be with. Make a long story short, I lost some of my babies, 1 from the 4/6 week group and had one of my older hens act lethargic just for a day but started corid treatment and she was fine. I hatch my chicks and put them in a tote with heat lamps and keep very clean but had been using shavings which I think I will change with the next hatch since they get shavings all in the water and then create moisture which I know isn't good. I know I can bleach my totes for future hatches so I should be ok there. As long as I bleach the 2 bigger outside cages is there any reason I should have to feed medicated feed or cause new chicks to get coccidia?? What is the best situation for any new large birds that I get for any of my big runs?? I know the deal with quarantine but if my place now is going to be what I have to worry about making them sick how do you fix this?? I don't want to have to give corid to my big chickens every time I get someone new, kinda defeats the purpose in getting eggs if I'm throwing them away all the time. What do most people do? Is this normally not a problem for older chickens and just maybe because of are bad rainy weather that week could be why my hen was affected? My coop in that group is wood so I know it will be hard to completely disinfect it but will be doing a big cleaning and then I'm thinking of putting some sweet pdz and maybe a little DE down? Any suggestions? My other large run never had any new birds added and all were good but treated anyways. My small coop/run is new and just started putting my 7/8 week olds in it but feel it should be ok since they are on day 5/5 being treated. My plan is to sell the roos and keep the girls and when they are old enough introduce them into big flock and then have that coop/run for the next group. I guess I'm just trying to figure out a plan if there is one, so all are healthy and try not to keep having problems. Do you think I should feed my chicks medicated food since I have had coccidia or is cleaning and disinfecting good enough? I definatly won't add anything to my chicks. If I get any that I don't hatch they will just stay in there own group till older. Also had a question on the eggs after treating, can you hatch from eggs that treated hens lay or is it best to just throw away? Thank you for any input!!!
     
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    The coccidia protozoa lives in the soil so no amount of disinfecting will get rid of it. PDZ and DE have no effect on it, bleach does not kill it but ammonia does. Keeping pens clean does of course help but you will never eradicate it from the environment so I wouldn't waste time trying to kill it. Disinfecting brooders between batches is always a good idea of course. Chickens do develop resistance to the strains of cocci in their environment. The danger lies in bringing in new birds, these birds may bring along a strain of cocci that your birds are not resistant to. Chicks going out on the ground for the first time are at risk as well since they simply haven't had time and exposure to develop resistance.

    So if you have a situation where you are frequently bringing in new birds then yes, this is something you will have to always watch for and be ready to treat if symptoms arise. It's not that it's going to happen every time, it's just there is an elevated risk of either the new or existing birds being exposed to a stain of cocci that is new to them.

    And you do not have to discard eggs from treated birds, there is no withdrawal period if you are using Corid (amprolium).

    Feeding medicated feed to chicks helps but levels of amprolium in medicated feed are so little that it's common for chicks to still get a case of coccidiosis, I've had it happen on medicated feed. No matter what you feed you just have to be very familiar with the earliest signs of coccidiosis and be ready to treat asap.

    As far as keeping chicks that you didn't hatch in their own group until older? They can still get a case when they are on the ground with the other birds for the first time. It's just always something you have to keep an eye out for when you are bringing in new birds and raising young birds. Luckily Corid is very effective and safe so it's an easy thing to treat when it does show up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
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  3. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    First, you indicated you didn't quarantine the new birds, but that you know now that you should have. I'm very sorry to hear that you lost some, but sounds like you'll have a better handle on quarantining for the future - the minimum recommended is 3 weeks in quarantine, and they should be 30' away from your other birds if at all possible, though I know that is sometimes difficult. Just do the best you can.

    Second, I wouldn't jump to a conclusion that the birds you brought in were "unclean" - it could be that they were exposed to something that your birds weren't exposed to (this can happen in any natural environment as well as a "man made" situation), but that the outside birds had an immunity to it, and your birds did not. At this point it would be difficult to ascertain for sure.

    Keeping their living area dry is key - I have a friend that uses totes in the same way you do - she cut out the top and replaced it with hardware cloth, and she puts the heat lamp right on top. It works great for keeping the chicks warm and keeping their shavings out of the surrounding around the tote...however, it's a haven for bacteria if ANY water spills. I like the idea of totes as they are easy to clean/disinfect, as you mention. There are a couple things you can do to keep it dry. One is to use pelleted bedding (like the kind made for horses), which is much more absorbent than shavings. Many folks don't like to use them for chicks as they are not soft & fluffy like shavings are, but I have used them with no issue whatsoever. No, the chicks won't eat them. Another thing is to keep their water elevated - put it on a piece of 2x4 or a brick or something; of course, you want to wait until they're a few days old and are hopping around really well before you begin to elevate it, and you only want to elevate it to about their "chin" level.

    You can put them in a tote with a hardware cloth bottom, elevated of the ground by placing it on bricks or blocks, or use another type of cage that has a hardware cloth bottom. This way, the poop falls through the mesh and there is good air circulation underneath so as not to allow bacteria build-up on the floor. Again, lots of folks resist putting them on mesh floors as it's not warm & fuzzy like shavings are.

    I prefer to not feed starter with Amprol in it either, but I had once incidence of Cocci even though my chicks were kept very dry and warm. I choose to take that chance. I treated them with Corid and within 24-48 hours, saw no further evidence of Cocci. Just my own personal thoughts here - you're doing the best thing by asking for feedback; choose to do what you are comfortable with - what makes the most sense to your, and works in your situation. Best of luck!
     
  4. Iko127

    Iko127 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you very much for that! I understand once its in the soil its there, same with dogs. Maybe just not having any new chicks on the dirt or where they come in contact with any poop will help. Only the rooster that I had put in with my hens from the other farm was the only group on the ground and never free ranged before treating all. My chicks got contaminated from the brooder being on shavings and then like a dummy I had a box in with the 4/6 week olds for them to sleep in and I'm sure got it from all being in it sleeping, otherwise I would think being on wire bottom with none to very little chance of getting in fecal, would be a great help. I'm so thankful to here that you feel there shouldn't be a withdrawal period on eggs that helps out a lot. I'm not looking to continuously add to my flock but just trying to get my flock where I want it so for a little bit there is a chance. I will have a separate place for any I'm just getting to sell and can keep them healthy to! Thanks again :)
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    You have received very good advice from the others. I find that having chicks on the ground from day 1 with a broody hen helps them start building up a gradual resistance to coccidia that is present in the soil, and at this age they seem to have a little immunity from hatch for up to 2 weeks. With any chicks that I raise in brooders I have always taken a clump of sod to place in the brooder, and the chicks eat the grass and eat some of the soil. It is replaced as needed. Here are some good articles that I have seen on coccidiosis if you are interested:
    http://www.merckmanuals.com/vet/poultry/coccidiosis/overview_of_coccidiosis_in_poultry.html
    http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex4616
    http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/coccidiosis-what-backyard-chicken.html
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publications/2/Coccidiosis Management/43/symptoms-and-diagnosis
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publications/6/diseases-of-poultry/206/coccidiosis
     
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Actually exposure to the soil is how chicks build immunity. Until they have exposure they won't build any immunity. Some people accomplish this on a controlled basis by adding some clumps of soil to the brooder for the chicks to scratch through. My chicks start going out in their pen during the day at three weeks old. I just keep an eye on them and treat if needed.

    Being on shavings is not a contributor to coccidiosis unless they are wet and filthy. They get it from picking through each others poop as they are scratching around or when they are on the ground. Keeping brooders clean and dry of course helps but there is always going to be some level of poop in a brooder, there's just no way to completely eradicate the risk. Yes, chicks can be raised on wire, but they are eventually going to be out on the ground at some point so it just prolongs the point at which they are able to develop some resistence. I know some people like wire bottom brooders, I'm personally not a fan. The wire gets poop stuck to it, the chicks still walk in it, I've seen toes get caught in wire, I just don't like it. To me shavings are easy to keep clean and dry by adding a fresh layer on occasion and doing regular cleanout's. But that's just me!
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    The FDA does not give any withdrawal period for chickens on Corid. They talk about parts per million allowed in eggs but how am I going to test for that? That’s for commercial operations that can test. Personally I’d wait a week but I can’t find anything to back that up.

    http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/animaldrugsatfda/details.cfm?dn=013-149

    It might help you to understand the life cycle and some other stuff about the cocci bug. It lives in the chicken’s digestive system and reproduces there. There are several different strains of that cocci bug, each strain attacking specific parts of the digestive system. Which part they attack affects how dangerous they are. After maybe three weeks of constant exposure to the bug chickens develop an immunity to that strain but they do not develop immunity to other strains. You’ve always got to be on the look-out for it.

    The bug reproduces in the chicken’s intestines and the egg passes out the chicken’s rear. It thrives in wet soil with manure in it. Some cocci bugs are not a threat though remember some are more of threat than others. It’s when they get out of hand that they become a threat. It’s a good thing for the chick to have a constant supply of that bug so it can develop immunity, but that bug thrives in wet soil. The problem normally occurs when the chicken eats a lot of the eggs out of that wet soil and the numbers get out of hand. Keeping the brooder, coop, or run dry is very important in keeping the number under control, though remember some are stronger than others.

    Your current chickens have it. Any newcomers will be exposed. That’s not necessarily a big deal, they’ll develop immunity as long as the numbers don’t get out of control, but keep the Corid handy anyway.

    Your current flock will never show signs of having Cocci no matter how long you quarantine them. They have immunity. New chickens that have immunity to the strain they are carrying will never show signs of having Cocci no matter how long you quarantine them. The only ones that quarantine will show are the ones that have been recently exposed to a new strain. It will show many other things though, especially other diseases they have recently been exposed to and have not developed immunity.

    I’m not against quarantine, it is a powerful tool, but you need to understand how to use a tool so you can use it properly. If a chicken is coming from a swap or some other place it has recently been exposed to other chickens I strongly recommend quarantine. To protect against the ones they have immunity to a certain disease select a sacrificial member of your current flock and put it with them. If there are any problems you can tell by which ones get sick.

    I have some strain of Cocci in my flock. I saw it with a broody hen raising chicks and the run got really wet and stayed wet. I am in the same boat as you as far as that goes, I’ve got it in my soil. I do not use medicated feed but treat if I need to. When I raise chicks in a brooder I keep the brooder dry but I introduce dirt from the run on Day 2 in the brooder and give them some more dirt from the run every 4 to 5 days. This allows them to develop immunity without being overwhelmed by it. It is also very important that you completely change out the water every day or at most two days to interrupt the life cycle of that bug in there. Completely changing it out keeps mosquitoes from breeding to, by the way.

    Having Cocci in the soil is a pain but it’s not cause for panic. You can manage it by keeping things as dry as reasonable, helping them develop immunity, and treating when you have to. Good luck!
     
  8. Iko127

    Iko127 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for the suggestions!! I just want whats best for my chicks. I know I will make mistakes but just want to not repeat them. I am thinking I really don't like the shavings so much only for the reason that it seems like they always scratch shavings in the water and make such a mess. I change it all every couple days but doing it daily I'm thinking will get expensive. Both hatches I had major problems with them in the shavings with water. I have a very large tote so I know I havn't over crowded. I just was using totes since I wanted them inside until a few weeks old but now I'm wondering if they aren't healthier outside in fresh air, as long as they are predator safe. I think I'm going to try the playsand route? I know there are pros and cons to all but maybe I will look into the pellets also, I had horses for many years and love the saw dust but I know thats way to dusty and hard for chickens. Thank you again!
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If you raise the waterer you can greatly reduce how much gets scratched in them. An even better way is to raise a platform around the waterer that is above the shavings. They can stand on that platform and drink from the raised waterer.

    My brooder is permanently built into the main coop. As long as you can provide food, water, protection from predators. protection from the elements, and heat as needed they do fine outside.
     
  10. Iko127

    Iko127 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree, I don't really like the idea of baby chicks on wire. I just want a way to keep cleaner. My problem with the shavings, after about 3 days the chicks go crazy getting the shavings in the water and after two hatches had the same problem with them getting shavings in the water and then I feel the moisture comes into play. I was changing it every couple days but feel if they spill water and have to change it daily it will get expensive. Again I didn't have any problems with first group so I'm hoping this was just a bad time and mostly my fault. I'm thinking towards the playsand this time and trying it? I know there are pros and cons to everything. What is your feeling on sand? Maybe paper down for the first couple days and slowly introduce the sand?
     

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