High death toll last year, advice on how to prevent cocci??

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Amandakae, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Amandakae

    Amandakae Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2015
    Hi, last year was my 1st time raising meat birds, I got 50 Cornish Cross chicks. They were free range from very early. I fermented their feed and gave them limited rations, unfortunately too limited and it stunted their growth. Other than being very hungry at feeding time, they were very happy and seemingly healthy chickens until all of a sudden half of them died to coccidiosis. It was a horrible experience to wonder how many would be dead this time, every time I went to check on them. I was able to save 25 of them once I figured out what was happening. I know that I did not keep their feeding dishes clean enough, but other than that, what can I do to try to keep that from happening again? I am undecided on whether I want to feed fermented feed again or just make sure they have apple cider vinegar in their water. Should I feed medicated feed since I know we have high amounts of coccidiosis around?

    Thank you for reading, everyone on this formum has been so helpful to me in this new endeavor.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    The best way to avoid coccidiosis without using medicated feed is to keep the bedding bone dry and feeders full.
    Coccidia need a moist environment to complete their life cycle.
    Chickens are voracious eaters and especially CornishX. They will eat something regardless of if they have feed available or not. It may be bedding, feces, sticks, whatever.
    If they don't have enough food, they'll eat the bedding/feces and thereby getting a huge dose of coccidia oocysts.
    Voila - coccidiosis.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Feeding medicated feed sounds like a no-brainer to me. Is there a reason you would not?
  4. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Medicated feed for at least the first two weeks they are on soil. That way, they have a bit of protection while their bodies develop a resistance to the types in the soil. They need unlimited feed for the first 4 weeks. Then you can begin limiting their feed to three feedings a day, no more than can be consumed in 15 minutes.
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    A bit of info on cocci might help you. Cocci is caused by a “bug” (technically a protozoa) that you have in your soil. Once it is there, it is always there. They thrive in wet conditions.

    Having a few of these bugs in their system is a good thing, they develop an immunity to that specific variety after two to three weeks of constant exposure. There are several different varieties of those protozoa, immunity to one does not give immunity to others, but you have the varieties in your soil that you have, that’s your target.

    The problems come when the numbers of bugs get out of hand. What typically happens is that there are a few bugs to start with but they really thrive in wet conditions, dirty water and wet soil or wet manure-filled litter. The chicks peck at the infected water or soil and the number quickly gets out of hand. That’s when you have your problem.

    Medicated feed does not kill that bug, it interferes with its reproductive process. It allows a few to reproduce so they can still get that constant exposure for immunity but really helps keep the overall numbers down. If the water is dirty or the environment is wet medicated feed may not totally work, but consider it an arrow in your quiver when fighting cocci.

    My suggestions are to feed the medicated feed. You have cocci in your soil, help them fight it. Keep the water clean. There are different ways to water, but if that water gets poop or dirt in it, dump it out at least every two days to interrupt the life cycle of that bug. Do not just continue to top off the waterer, dump it.

    Meaties are notorious for being messy. They eat and poop, poop and eat, then poop again. It can be hard to keep that poop from building up to dangerous levels or staying wet. But keep them as dry as you reasonably can.

    I can’t guarantee you that you will never have a cocci problem again if you do all this, some of those strains of cocci are really strong. But you should see a big improvement.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Amandakae

    Amandakae Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2015
    Thank you all so much for all of that info! I will be feeding them as suggested, with medicated feed to start. I never thought about them eating poo if they were hungry... [​IMG] Live and learn I suppose!
  7. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2016
    Great post thank you! I've never had that problem, knock on wood, but good info to know. I wasn't aware that the 'bug' was in the soil.
  8. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    I am gonna weigh in here because your questions about cocci pertains to a study I have been working on the past several months. I am guessing here you are getting your broilers as day old chicks.
    In broilers there is fascinating research being done worldwide on how to raise them without antibiotics and still prevent cocci and other diseases.
    The one thing all the researchers agree on is getting the feed to the birds as soon as possible after hatch. Within 6 hours if possible. Why? because on day 17.5 of incubation the chick opens its mouth and starts to drink the albium fluid. This is because the other sources of its previous nutrition have become depleted. By the time the chick hatches, the nutrition in the albium fluid is now very low. So we think, no problem! The chick has a yolk sac and it can live on that for up to 3 days.
    Except ...that is not what nature has intended. Biologically, the nutrition in the egg yolk is reserved for the development of muscle tissue and the development of the G.I. tract. Now go back and reread what I just wrote. The yolk sac is not meant to be used for energy to live. If the chick is not fed within about 6 hours of hatch, it starts to use the yolk sac for energy. This means the chick does not have that nutrition available for either myelination of the muscles or development of the G.I tract.
    Researchers agree that if this inital"starvation" occurs, they see challenged G.I. tracts in the chicks and less muscle on the birds at slaughter.
    Now the neonatal G.I. tract in the chick is immature when the chick is hatched. It goes thru massive development the 1st week of life. In addition to biological development, the G.I tract must also populate itself with the proper raitios of flora for digestion and defense against harmful pathogens...in addition to having to adjust to digesting complex carbohydrates. Add to all this the fact the yolk sac is being used for energy to live and the chick finds itself stressed. The door opens for pathogens to attack the chick.
    So what do we do? What is the worldwide industrial poultry community doing? Well they have found in their studies that the best ways to combat pathogens getting established in the chick's G.I. tract are three fold.
    1. Proper environmental management.
    2. Start feeding the chick no later than 6 hours after hatch. '
    2. Get the G.I tract up and functioning properly as so as possible. The G. I. biome , the proper flora ratios which allow the chick to efficiently uptake whatever nutrition is provided to it. and provide a G.I. tract environment which is detrimental to harmful pathogen establishment. Right, pathogens have a real hard time getting settled in GI. tracts with proper bacterial flora ratios!!
    Wait minute, if the G.I. tract is stressed and stress helps keep it from uptaking nutrition efficiently... then how do we get the extra nutrition into the chick? If I feed the chick helps that need to be digested and the chick has had to use the yolk sac for energy and so the G.I. tract s stressed, ...how do I get the extra nutrition into my chicks? Well, the answer is you need to either get it in them before they are hatched, thus preventing the yolk sac from being used as energy in the first place ( in ovo injection of supplementary nutrition at 17.5 days of incubation). Or.... we need to give the chicks nutrition which doesn't need to be digested.
    Nutrition which can mainline directly into the bloodstream providing the nourishment the body and immune systems need at this critical time. The prestarter period ( 1st 7-10 days of life)
    . Because the modern broiler has only about a 42 day lifespan the prestarter and starter period have become crucially important to their welfare. We must act swiftly when the broilers hatch to support and enhance their immune system, ability to lay on muscular tissue, and get the G.I tract up and running as soon as possible. Research worldwide has shown that a healthy G.I. tract is a powerful weapon against harmful pathogens getting established in the chick. It's one of the formidable ways they are using to raise chickens without antibiotics.
    For over a decade, I have used supplements called Bovidr Labs Drops and Drenches on my collies and poultry. I have seen superb success using Pet Nutri-Drops on the collies and Poultry Nutri-Drench on chicks. I have never had a sick or dead chick when raised with Poultry Nutri-Drench in their water the 1st 2 weeks of life. For broilers, it would be the 1st 10 days ( circa). http://www.nutridrench.com It is measurable in the bloodstream in 10 minutes. All natural, prevents pasty butt and diarrhea. I have found I needed no other supplement in addition to feed and water. One season, I raised 42 Sussex on their Goat Nutri-Drench making sure to use the poultry instructions. These were dual purpose birds, not broilers. I gave them the Drench in their water so it looked like very weak tea for the 1st 2 weeks of life. Not a sick or dead bird. No pasty butt or the runs. Just robust chicks.
    If I had broilers, I would instead follow the instructions on the Drench webpage at Bovidr.
    Click on "poultry" and read.
    Click on "questions" at top of page and read.
    Click on blue "immune system" icon and read
    There you have it in a nutshell. Why it does what it does and why that is so very important.
    The folk at Bovidr are very knowledgeable and willing to help with additional information.
    Anyway, this is another way, in addition to proper environmental management ,that we can help our bird's body systems be ready to repel harmful pathogens.
    Best Regards,
    Karen in western PA, USA
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by