Banty Girl

Jun 15, 2013
I bought an americauna pullet from a county fair two weeks ago. She was perfectly fine when I bought her, she was supposedly laying green eggs too. So she was old enough to lay, but two days ago I found her dead in her little henhouse. There is coccidia on my property but I thought it only affected baby chicks and really old chickens... I had put a young, friendly roo in with her to keep her company since she didn't like any of my little hens. I don't know if the roo was carrying something or if it was coccidia so does anyone know what it might be?
cocci normally doesnt affect a chicken that is over 8 weeks old. that doesn't mean it wasnt your problem however. its kind of hard to tell what the problem was. it could have been egg binding, coryza, or any other disease- it could have even been tumors, chickens are notorious for them.

there are vaccinations coming available for small flock owners for cocci, if you have it on your farm you may look into them.
I’m sorry but that’s wrong. Coccidiosis will affect any chicken that has not developed an immunity to it. Baby chicks can develop that immunity easier than older chickens. There are several different strains of the protozoa that cause cocci. Immunity to one does not give immunity to any other strains.

Cocci is generally not that big a problem unless the number of protozoa builds up to a dangerous level in the chicken’s intestines. That usually occurs when the brooder, coop, or run is wet. The protozoa that cause it can live in wet manure. What normally happens is that the chicken eats enough wet manure loaded with the protozoa to add to what is already in its system so the numbers get out of hand. So keeping things dry if you can is a great preventative. That’s not always easy or even possible. And some strains are a lot stronger than others.

What happened to you isn’t all that rare. Your flock has developed an immunity to the cocci in your ground but are still carriers. A chicken not immune to that specific strain joins the flock and gets sick. It can also happen that a new chicken brings a strain into your flock that they are not immune to. Whenever you mix new chickens you have to be alert for cocci.

It is certainly possible that something else killed that hen. If she had cocci, you should have seen the signs in her behavior. I assume you know the signs since you know you have cocci in your flock.
i dont mean to hijack a thread here, i just want to be more educated on this. this is also not intended to be an argument, it is what i was told by O.S.U. --- it doesn't mean i follow this exactly.

we feed medicated chick starter for the first 8 weeks to allow chicks to get cocci, and get over it building a natural immunity. cocci is supposedly everywhere. (i medicate with corid now and use unmedicated starters)

it is spread through manure - i cannot remember the term ?occyst? maybe- but basically the eggs leave the stomach through excrement and are present in the manure. when another chicken ingests the egg, the cocci is spread.

according to O.S.U. if you clean all manure, then with soap and water, and spray with bleach it will kill cocci. according to dawg53 bleach wont kill it but ammonia will. i use both when cleaning brooders just to be safe, but i do think bleach killed it the first time i had it.

i agree there are many strains of it, but i was under the impression that all the strains were so widespread most chickens would encounter them within the first 8 weeks of life. i could be wrong, i have been before.

please correct me where i am wrong, so i know what to do later for myself and others.
I did try to simplify it. Just trying to get the basics across.

This is a fairly good write-up on it. Like a lot of things on chickens this is pointed more toward commercial operations than us, but the basic principles hold.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/agdex4616

You’ll see where it says that younger birds are more likely to be affected, but further down it says that’s because the older birds are probably already immune.

I’ve seen that comment about medicating chicks pointed toward broilers a lot more than hens that will join a laying flock. Broilers, Cornish Cross, Cornish X, whatever you want to call them are usually given something that totally eliminates the cocci protozoa so they never build immunity. They won’t live long enough for that to be an issue. Chicks that will become layers are generally given something that limits the numbers of the protozoa but doesn’t kill them all. It keeps the numbers in check so they are less likely to get ill yet can develop immunity.

I purposely feed my chicks in the brooder dirt from the run on about their second or third day in the brooder to introduce the cocci I have in my flock. I don’t feed medicated feed but rely on keeping the brooder pretty dry. Some strains are worse than others so this doesn’t always work for everyone. Some people on this forum have said their problems with cocci greatly decreased when they started doing this.

Feeding medicated feed does absolutely no good if cocci is not present. The biggest risk time is after they first come in contact with the ground. Another too common occurrence is that people feed medicated feed while they are isolated in the brooder and never come in contact with cocci but stop feeding medicated feed when they take them out of the brooder and put them in the run. If the run is wet, they can get pretty sick.

I don’t see anything wrong with feeding medicated feed. It does not hurt them at all. In some cases it is really helpful but often it’s just not needed.

The medicine in practically all medicated feed intended for chicks that will be layers is Amprolium. That’s the stuff we normally buy. In the dosage in medicated feed, it does not kill all the protozoa but just helps keep the numbers in check so they can develop immunity. If the brooder, coop, or run is wet, they can still get deathly sick from cocci. The medicated feed does not cure cocci but can help improve your odds so they don’t get sick.

Amprolium is the active ingredient in Corid, which is used to treat cocci. The dosage in Corid is much higher than the dosage in medicated feed.

Some medicated feed intended for broilers is something other than Amprolium or sometimes Amprolium plus something else. It’s always a good idea to read the label to see what the actual medicine is in medicated feed.

It’s been a few years since I checked, but last time I checked, the vaccine for cocci only covered a few of the strains. It’s still possible for them to get sick from another strain even if they are vaccinated. If you feed medicated feed or antibiotics to vaccinated chicks in the three weeks after the vaccination you can negate the vaccination. It generally takes them three weeks to develop that immunity after exposure, whether from the vaccine or from contact with the ground.

I’m sure I’m forgetting some stuff but that’s enough. Have a good one.
thank you for the information, i always exposed my chicks to coop conditions (in a cage so the larger chickens couldnt get them) in about the 6th week of life. i have had many issues with it, but only one severe case - when i was just getting started and wasnt sure what it was. that is when i used the bleach to clean with, i also switched from chick to turkey starter and the problem seemed to go away. of course this is just with chicks, adults would be treated differently.
Banty Girl - So sorry you lost your pullet!!!

Evrybody else - thanks for all the good info. I read somewhere else something about "If you know you have cocci in your area..." I think it was in reference to helping decide whether to use medicated feed or not. How would one know if you had cocci in the area. And if it is spread in manure and soil wouldn't it have to be only in our yard? If I'm in a neighborhood that doesn't have livestock and I think we're the only ones with chickens - does that make it less likely we have it in our area??? Or is that whole line of thinking kind of useless?
i believe it can be spread by any bird. from what i have been told it pretty well exists everywhere, its just a matter of how much of it you have in your yard.

i used to tell people to always use medicated starter, but it has issues in its own as mentioned before. the medication in it doesn't always work on the strain you may have. for the most part it does make a descent preventative. just not always.

now i use unmedicated starter, if i notice the symptoms (wet litter and huddled chicks with ruffled feathers, any signs of blood in the manure) i will go ahead and give a dose of corid.

im not sure this is the best advice, but it has worked well for me this year. Management/40/introduction

Here is a really good site for information on cocci. On the upper left are links to many different sections worth reading especially if you are into details.

Cocci is pretty species specific. Turkey cocci will not infect chickens. But cocci can be spread by wild birds or other things that can move dirt, even the wind. You can spread it on your shoes if you walk where it is and then go to your chickens.

Banty Girl, you said you have it in your soil. Where are you located? I suspect it is somewhere with a warm wet climate. The US Gulf Coast is particularly susceptible to cocci. It can be anywhere else; all it takes is warm weather and damp soil but it is more likely to be in warm wet areas than in the middle of the Sonoran Desert or in the upper Midwest. Even in the desert if your waterer is leaking you can still have a problem with it but it is less likely. It is a case of how much you have in your yard but how much you have in your yard depends a lot on your weather and your local conditions. 72 degrees is the perfect temperature for cocci development. The further away from 72 degrees you are the less likely you are to have a problem. But even if the air temperature is in the 100’s the soil temperature can be a lot less.

The dosage in Amprolium-medicated feed does not cure cocci. It reduces how much the cocci reproduces, thus helps control the numbers while allowing enough reproduction for them to build up immunity. Some strains of cocci are stronger than others. Also a wet brooder, coop, or run is a dangerous brooder, coop, or run. The medicated feed is a preventative but it can only do so much. How much good it does depends on the strain you are dealing with, moisture, and temperature. Using medicated feed does not mean you can neglect good management practices.

If you read through that link above, you’ll see where the chicks need two or three cycles of those oocysts to develop immunity and they need damp soil or manure as part of that process. So if you introduce dirt to help them develop immunity while in the brooder you need to either allow a bit of poop to build up so it is slightly damp (not wet. A wet brooder is a dangerous brooder) or continuously introduce new slightly damp dirt from outside to maintain a constant but controlled supply of oocysts for about three weeks. That also supplies them grit and if you have adult birds it gets any probiotics the adults have into the chicks systems.
I live in the Oregon countryside. The coccidia was already on the property, we only found out we had it when our first litter of puppies showed signs of having it. We took them to the vet to be sure, so from then on we have had to treat each new litter for coccidia. My older birds and most of the chicks are immune to coccidia, I just had a few chicks that were not.

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