DISCUSSING COCCIDIOSIS: GLENDA HEYWOOD i WAS ASK THIS ABOUT COCCIDIOSIS (1) What are ways to prevent it? ANSWER: How do Birds Become Infected? IE: IF THE BEDDING IS WET AND NEEDS CLEANED UP, EVERY DAY. IE: KEEP A PLAIN PIECE OF THIN LUMBER UNDER THE CHICKEN WATERER. sO THAT THE FLOOR DOES NOT BECOME WET. IE: YOUR CLEANLINESS IS VERY IMPORTANT AS THIS IS WHERE THE OOCYSTS BREEED AND LIVE:WETNESS IS BREEDING GROUND FOR COCCIDIOSIS. Normally, most birds pass small numbers of oocysts in their droppings without apparent ill effects. Coccidiosis becomes important as a disease when animals live, or are reared, under conditions that permit the build-up of infective oocysts in the environment. The intensive rearing of domestic chickens may provide these conditions. Young chickens pick up the infection from contaminated premises (soil, houses, utensils, etc.). These premises may have been contaminated previously by other young infected birds or by adult birds that have recovered from the condition. Wet areas around water fountains are a source of infection. Oocysts remain viable in litter for many months. In this way, they can contaminate a farm from year to year. Oocysts are killed by freezing, extreme dryness and high temperatures. (2)What are ways to treat it? Treatment: 2-teaspoon amprolium (40 percent) per gallon drinking water for 5 days (this is not an antibiotic) A broad spectrum antibiotic to guard against secondary infections (yoghurt will restore the gut flora of the bird and make this more effective). Follow this treatment with a multi vitamin supplement (especially A and K) a regular dose of garlic in their feed also helps and is a great natural wormer. (3) What are ways to tell if my chicks have it or not? Spread of the disease Outbreaks are most common after wet weather or in damp conditions as it activates the oocysts in the soil. Damp or contaminated litter and overcrowding favour its development. Most commercial chick starters contain a drug that inhibits coccidiosis, but unless a clean, dry environment is maintained outbreaks can occur. Birds fed diets without preventative drugs are particularly at risk so clean dry litter and adequate space are especially important. If you have soil in your coop turn it, but dont allow dust to blow everywhere, as this will spread the disease. Sprinkling hydrated lime onto the soil and raking it into the dirt will help to eradicated the problem. Coccidiosis is spread when one bird eats faecal material from an infected bird, which contains the infective stage of the coccidia (small egg-like bodies called oocysts). Oocysts are ingested when birds scratch and peck at the litter or consume contaminated feed or water. The oocysts in the droppings need moisture and warmth to mature before they can infect other birds, and can do so very quickly (24 hr). Oocysts can remain alive in poultry sheds for more than a year and are very resistant to most disinfectants. Each oocyst breaks down in the gut to release parasites that multiply into thousands, damaging the gut and causing disease that may lead to the fowl's death. Beginning five to seven days after infection, thousands of oocysts pass out in the droppings of the bird to continue the life cycle. It is impossible to prevent this spread unless birds are housed so that they have no contact with feces. Antibiotics don't cure Coccidiosis, just help stop the possibility of a secondary infection taking hold of your bird, which is often what ends up killing it.