Coccidiosis (cocci) and your chickens

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Chambertin, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Chambertin

    Chambertin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2012
    Funabashi Japan
    My Coop
    This is a thread to help people know if their birds have coccidiosis (aka: cocci) or not.
    I read about this, or heard about it so many times. To be honest it always seems to come up in the "Whats wrong with my bird?" replies.
    The problem to me is that so many people misdiagnose this. Meaning the real problem continues and the medicine theoretically looses effectiveness.
    First, here is what you are fighting against:

    So here's how you can tell if your birds have Cocci.
    YOU CAN'T!
    Check out the wiki:
    "Most animals infected with coccidia are asymptomatic; however, young or immuno-compromised animals may suffer severe symptoms, including death."

    There are some subtle clues that you can find, but for the most part a healthy chicken doesnt even know until its too late, and only then its because of blood in the droppings. Most likely you and your chicken will be looking at each other in the morning pointing at the same bloody poo scratching your head saying, "***, that cant be mine / yours."

    Coccidiosis is a parasite that lives in the guts. Most often it lives at sustainable levels (wont hurt nobody) and the host wont even know. However every so often the parasite decides to go bonkers and over multiplies. In my experience this seems to happen with the first infection and only to the birds you really really like. This disease hits like a hammer or is never noticed, so be ready for that. The best thing you can do is react quickly and try to prevent it from building up.

    Your best defense and the only defense you'll ever need are a broom and maybe a mop with a disinfectant.
    Best and simplest way to avoid cocci is to sweep the coop out regulary. If they can see poop and eat poop they will build up cocci. Everything has the stuff, dogs, birds, pigs, hell people probably do too. The only difference is how much.

    Ok the next part: Looking for clues.
    Asymptomatic is asymptomatic. Runny poops happen, red poops happen, strange stringy poops happen. Dont get alarmed over strange poop. Poop has many colors and surprises, it really is a perfect way to see how your birds are reacting to their diet.
    I learned a lot about poop watching my chickens and turkeys as we have a large number of wild birds visiting our balcony and they poop and my chickens eat it. I was always looking for cocci and other things.
    Even with all that watching, there was almost no way to tell a major outbreak was impending. To be honest I shouldnt have been watching, I should have been sweeping.

    Nothing was out of the ordinary, NOTHING, until one night. I saw some watery and odd poop. The 3 before this one were fine. Solid, Solid, Cacel with snow (the chocolate pudding ones with white sprinkles before bed that STINK), then kablam this from the hen:

    It was different, but at the time I didnt think much of it. I took a picture only because there was a second one from the rooster in the morning. You will notice the much denser ura and the odd lining like strings. On their own not a big problem, but together this is the only warning you will get with cocci.

    24 hours later it was confirmed, the ONLY way you can confirm cocci unless you break out a slide and microscope. Blood in the fecies. Trust me that blood in the poop is unmistakable. It's blood and obvious. Vampires would ask for a shot of it its so obvious. Before blood there is nothing, no trickle, no specks, no rusty runny poo, its nothing then blood. My chickens even had healthy poop in between the warning squirt and the blood.

    If you want to treat early then buy the medicine when you see poop like the above

    So here was what I saw the next afternoon:

    Confirmed, it is coccidiosis. We ordered the medicine right away and it got here in time to make a big difference. However it was too late as it had spread into the chick area before we even knew we had it. In less than one day every bird was pooping bloody.
    The most confusing part about this disease is that the bird goes back to perfectly normal poops in less than 4 hours. As you can see:

    It even passed the sniff test by our dog. Its slighty reddish in the sniff check picture, but well within normal paramaters. Then the next morning was a bloody mess. So if you get caught by cocci dont feel bad about not noticing it, just get on the proactive list and clean more often.

    Coccidiosis is a cleaning disease, or really bad luck. Still I think its all about cleaning. Now with 24 chickens and 2 turkeys we havent had a repeat and thats after the new 14 met the old 10 who still have some cocci parasites somewhere in them or the dark corneres of the coop. We're much more active in the cleaning and it shows in bird health.

    What do do if you see blood?
    Get meds and hope for the best, the faster you can kill the parasite the faster the bird can repair the damage. You will see blood even after the parasite is gone, but dont worry it shouldnt get worse and these tough poulty can bounce back. Our largest two wernt even phased by it and they lots the most blood by far.

    Recap of the photos:


    The casulty of war
    He was much larger, and going to be a rare pure white feathered Black Phoenix Silkie.
    Zhimahu (jer-ma-who) You will be remembered

    I hope this story helps people to know more about coccidiosis and make the right decision on when and why to use treatment. The medicine is hard on the bird and should only be used like wormer, when you have the parasite.

    EDITS: Spelling and a couple other mistakes
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2012
    3 people like this.
  2. thebanthams

    thebanthams Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 12, 2010
    Safford, Arizona
    Thanks for the cool information ! Hope Newbies will learn from this !
  3. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    That's good information. I thinking cleaning is a good practice but mine have gotten it outside on the ground. Most of mine did not have blood in their stool, sometimes there's not, and sometimes there's blood just before they die. I've had 5 this summer die of coccidiosis with no symptoms the day before, normal poop, but the next morning I found dead birds, bloody stool, and they had bled inside as well. I started treating and no one else died.

    I hope you stay cocci free!
  4. Chambertin

    Chambertin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2012
    Funabashi Japan
    My Coop
    I just help that the post helps others.
    Getting that little lead warning can really help. Still so many times there really is no warning. Its a terrible disease and most of the medications and rough as well.
    Similar to worms, its better to treat only if you have the disease as the parasite can build up a resistance to scheduled treatments.

    Good luck everyone!
  5. Chambertin

    Chambertin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2012
    Funabashi Japan
    My Coop
    Bump back up for a fresh batch of people looking for information.
    Cocci gets blamed for a great deal of things, but its a tricky disease.

    I also saw a thread on looking for a natural cure. I haven't ever heard of one. At least not a reliable one.

    If it gets bad enough nothing but medicine will help. However if you absolutely refuse to treat then get them on some good immune building foods like onion and garlic, clean the area really well with a strong non bleach based cleaner (they can live through bleach) and make sure to clean up any fecies right away. This stuff stacks and the more they get in the faster they die.
    Hopefully they wont be damaged so bad the insides can live through.

    Still, best idea is a short burst of good medicine.
  6. maciasfamily925

    maciasfamily925 Just Hatched

    Jun 18, 2014
    What is the medicine and where do you get it?
    Jillio likes this.
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

    Jun 24, 2012
    My Coop

    Most people use amprolium (Corid, Amprol). Many feed stores carry it in the cattle section. For dosing, see the link in my sig.

    1 person likes this.
  8. mamabyrd2014

    mamabyrd2014 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 20, 2015
    Thanks for the info
  9. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    This is great info. I'd like to add that anyone that has a chick or junior that "looks sick" , standing alone hunched up should be treated right away for cocci. That's the most common. I've also had juniors die looking fine the night before, and dead in the morning. That may be enteritis and it's a bigger problem with chickens dying from it than people realize. If the sick ones don't improve in a couple days, add amoxicillin or Tylan. For 5-7 days.

    Worms can also damage intestines and leave the perfect place for e.coli, cocci, and claustridium to multiply if it if they are older.

    Always have Corid or Sulfadimethoxine on hand because it may take too long to get it when you need it NOW.
    1 person likes this.
  10. MysteriaSdrassa

    MysteriaSdrassa Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2015
    Central Wisconsin
    There is no CURE for cocci,, none at all,, period. Once your flock has it, they will ALWAYS have it,, forever, like luggage. A little bit doesn't hurt them, but if too much builds up too fast in your birds,, young are affected faster because they are smaller,, it has dire effects on them. The only way to help your birds is for them to develop immunity. Amprolium in any of it's forms,, Corrid, Amprol, whatever,,, all these medications do is to kill off enough of the cocci bacteria to allows your birds to build up a tolerance to the cocci. Don't get me wrong,, if your birds need it,, USE it,, I can not stress that enough. Just don't make the mistake of thinking it is a cure,, it isn't.
    I might add, there are different strains of cocci,, if your birds are tolerant of one strain, it doesn't mean they will be of another and they will have to go through the whole process again.
    Birds can ALSO build up this tolerance naturally through controlled exposure to infected areas. Cocci thrives in wet conditions,, therefore runs and coops that are kept dry will have a lot less cocci running amock than dirty wet ones and this will alow the birds to build up a natural immunity.

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