How do you KNOW it's Coccidiosis?


10 Years
May 26, 2009
Washington, Georgia, USA
Last week I lost my 23-25 week old Silkie pullet, Allison, after a three-week battle with what I originally thought was Coccidiosis. Her first symptoms were decreased appetite, uneven gait, and droopy wings. It took me 3 days to figure out that it was most likely Cocci, and then I bought some liquid Corid and started her treatment. She continued to decline, eating less and less, and after a week of of noticing her sickness, it seemed as though she was going to die. That night I mixed her dry food with some of the Corid-water and she was able to eat much better(Why hadn't I thought of doing that before? -smacks self-). After a week of being on the Corid-water I switched her over to an electrolyte mix, and was giving her a raw egg and some yogurt in her mash once a day. Eventually she got to the point where she couldn't even walk anymore, she'd sit on her hocks and flap her wings around, and then she would just stick her legs out in front of her. I thought she might be off balance because she had lost a lot of weight, but I don't know. I began taking her and massaging her legs a bit and moving them around to keep the blood circulating, and also gave her 3ish drops of Poly-Vi-Sol once a day to replace the Vitamin B she had lost during the Corid treatment. I was thinking she might have a Vitamin B deficiency now, because I'd read that it sometimes causes the legs to not be able to work properly. I checked her for mites at the beginning of her sickness and didn't see any, but when I checked her again at this point (about 2 weeks after sickness started) she had a lot of bugs on her, so I bathed her and that got rid of them. Anyway..She was eating pretty good although still not able to walk and one day she just died overnight. Her poop throughout the entire ordeal was fairly normal, no blood at all. When I bought her (at about 14 weeks old) she was healthy and I bought two cockerels with her, all from the same breeder. Up until the time when Allison got sick, all three birds had been out in the garden several times. Both cockerels have stayed healthy through this, one I moved out of her pen when she became sick and the other I kept with her because he seemed to encourage her to eat. She really stumped me. I thought she was doing better.

Three weeks ago, I had 11 Silkie chicks shipped in from the same breeder as I bought the pullet and two cockerels from. They were about 2-4 weeks old then and I've taken them outside in the garden twice(Once a week after I got them, 2nd time just 2 days ago). Yesterday I noticed the only white one in the group was acting sluggish with droopy wings and a decreased appetite. I'll be honest, my initial thought was "Oh no, here we go again." The chicks were starting to outgrow their brooder so I moved them to a bigger one, and everybody seemed fine except the white one. This morning I noticed that the only splash chick's bottom was all pasted up with fairly good-sized poo for a 6-7 week old chick(It was mostly white & brown but had a bit of red in it, though I think this was probably just intestinal lining). It was not like this when I moved them just the other day, so I'm thinking the splash is sick as well as the white one. The splash was also doing a lot of peeping this morning, unhappy peeps. The other 9 chicks (most of them are a bit younger than these 2) are acting fine and healthy. Last night I gave them an electrolyte mix (Quik Chik) in their water, hoping that maybe they just had a slight vitamin deficiency. They are being fed Purina Gamebird Starter. When I cleaned their old brooder I found some mold underneath the top layers of shavings, and though I'm 99% none of their food got into the mold, I would assume that just breathing air that might contain mold spores is awful for them(Their new brooder is clean and I will be more diligent in making sure it stays that way). Do you think this could be the problem with the little white one? Last night I told myself that if it hadn't improved by morning I'd dose their water for Cocci with the Corid, and that's what I did this afternoon.

We have never (that I can recall) had a problem with chicks getting droopy wings. When I bought the 3 older birds, I also brought home 5 six week old chicks from another breeder, and they were out in the garden as much as the older ones and have not gotten sick. This is the first time we've ever bought chickens from an outside source, besides the feed store or a hatchery.

So what do you think? Coccidiosis? Vitamin deficiency? Mold exposure? Could it be Marek's?

How can you really know if it is Coccidiosis? Can treating for Cocci with Corid cause a vitamin B deficiency that would be able to lame or kill a chick? Mom broke out the microscope and we are thinking about taking stool samples later to see if we can see the coccidia oocysts.
The only 100% certain way to know exactly what kind of internal parasite they have is to get a fecal float test. Other than that, it's all speculation... which can be very accurate, but won't give you a definitive answer.
The only 100% certain way to know exactly what kind of internal parasite they have is to get a fecal float test. Other than that, it's all speculation... which can be very accurate, but won't give you a definitive answer.

Okay. We have still not checked their feces under our microscope but will have to look into getting stuff to do that test.

The Splash chick hasn't shown any more signs of being sick, just the pasty poo that one day. The White chick seems to have improved a little bit. She's not as droopy as before and is holding her wings better. Still a little wobbly, but not too bad. I was just wondering about this because none the chicks I've hatched or bought from hatcheries have gotten sick like this, although once a guinea keet got droopy winged and wobbly and I was told it was a yeast infection. But I guess it could be that chicks I've hatched have more of a resistance to our strain(s) of Cocci since their parents live here, and/or because the hatchery chicks are so young when they come here that they start building a resistance right away. Thank you for the response, Silkiechicken.
Yes, early exposure is one of the best ways to grow up chicks immune to your strains of cocci. Chicks hatched from your flock or given just a bit of dry soil from your area in the brooder within the first few days will give them a low dose exposure which will greatly help them gain immunity. Medicated feeds will aid their immunity development by not allowing ingested protozoa from reproducing.

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