How worried should I be about Cocci?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by PineBurrowPeeps, May 29, 2008.

  1. Right now I have 14, 6 week old chickens, 4, 6 week old ducks and 2 11 week old ducks...
    I have not ever fed them a medicated feed and no one has come down with Coccidosis that I have noticed and I watch my birds alot.
    I do keep a antibiotic on the farm in case I notice anyone coming down with anything but have not had to use it.
    I now have 25 new Jumbo Cornish chicks coming and while they will not be housed with my layer birds I am starting to wonder if I should be really worried about an outbreak of Cocci?
    Does anyone know how long those organiziums (omg horrible spelling, sorry!) can live in the ground?
    I do live on a 300 year old farm that was once used for poultry; turkeys and chickens. The property was last used for birds about 20 years ago before now, though the old farmers kept the birds in the 3 story barn/carriage house and we doubt that they ever had access to the outside (sad huh?), they were meat birds.
    Now, I know some things about Coccidosis in dogs and cats but do not know if the dog strain is transmittible to poultry?
    Show dogs were also raised on my property at one point and in dogs, once they contract Coccida even when it's cleared up, in times of stress or illness they can release the "bug" in their waste. I have 3 dogs of my own, two of which are confirmed as being immune to Coccida now but who can also still produce the "bug".

    Anyway, what should I be doing at this point to make sure I do not run into a problem with this? I know cleanliness is a big thing. Right now my 14 chickens are turned out with my 6 ducks in an 8X8 pen (I know it's small but it's only supposed to be for the ducks!) while I wait for my DH to build the chicken coop and pen, hopefully this week if we don't run into any more health problems of the human sort (everyones been sick, that's why the chickens are in with the ducks, they got too big for their brooder but had no where else to go but in with the ducks while we got better and build the other pen!).
    I worry with how dirty the ducks are that with all the poo building up in there they will come down with it. I have been letting the chicks and ducks out to range whenever I can and raking the pen to clean it up a little, I've even put down grass clippings in the bottom of the pen for now to keep them off the poo. I really should have put something down in the bottom of that duck pen before I put the ducks in it! Hindsight is 20/20... I need to put sand or something down in there, they are so messy!
    In the meantime does anyone have any tips for me on how to keep this pen clean when it's becoming a mud pit?!
    Sorry for the loooong post and all the questions!
    Thanks for reading!
  2. There is a vaccine that you can have the chicks shipped with if you like, it's a green gel that they eat while in shipping. It provides some water to them but mostly it gives them a low dose of a weak type of cocci so they can start to develop immunity.

    You can also give them powdered milk mixed in to the chick starter for the first week. I do this since I do some hatching and you can't buy the vaccine in just one pad. The milk powder tips the pH of their gut a bit to prevent cocci from getting going and gives them a strong start with the easy digestion. As you stated cocci is a problem to stressed critters.

    Soil moisture counts too. The cocci thrive best in damp soils and bedding so if your in a dry area it may never be a huge issue to you. If you see an outbreak get on it quick, if you want to stay unmedicated change their feed to half and half milk powder and give them milk as a treat, or yogurt. For medications make sure you are treating them with the right type for the purpose of the bird. Sulfonimides are not approved for any bird to lay egg for human consumption regardless of age as they do not clear it well. So as common as you hear of Sulmet being used it's a bad idea. If the person eating the eggs from a treated hen is allergic to sulpha antibiotics they can have a reaction to the eggs. For meat birds there is a withdrawal time to slaughter following Sulmet.

    Amprolium is approved for layers and meat birds with a withdrawal. You have to look your withdrawal up, they tend to change by country.
  3. Thank April [​IMG]
  4. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:Cornish Crosses are not vigorous animals at all. They tend to catch everything imagineable. So I would not use your experiences with hens or waterfowl as a measuring stick.

    Quote:Antibiotics in the strictest sense of the term do not prevent or cure cocci.

    Quote:It really depends on the climate. My hunch is yes in the northeast.

    Quote:The oocysts can live in the soil dormant for decades.

    Quote:Red flag.

    Quote:No, different strains affect different animals. It's not transferable.

    Quote:I used to believe that cleanliness and pasture rotation would prevent outbreaks. Our extension poultry adviser and vet had a good chuckle. They pointed out that people who claim rotation/cleanliness works probaby live in climates where cocci is rare to begin with. So, it's a self fulfilling prohecy.
  5. Ok, great info Greyfields, but what do you suggest I should do?

    I hadn't thought that the meat birds kept on the farm prior had been kept indoors because of a high chance of them getting sick, we figured they were just very inhumane farmers due to the discusting conditions our barn was in lol
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Three choices really:

    a) Use medicated feed which contains a coccidiostat.

    b) Do not use medicated feeds, but take droppings to your vet to get a fecal float. If/when cocci is detected, treat with amporilum in the drinking water. It's usually a five day treatment cycle, after which they will be 'immune' (not really immune, but it's the best word to use)

    c) Do not use medicated feeds, let animals sick with cocci die.

    In the long run, A and B are not sustainable. C is sustainable assuming you keep your resistant birds and start a breeding program to make your own chickens.

    All choices are rather crappy. But, I market antibiotic free chicken meat, so I'm currently operating under protocol C. I'm certainly dabbling in breeding my own broilers, but it's a very difficult task. You're far easier being able to breed/replace your hens, but meat broilers are different animals.
  7. What I'm finding really interesting is that NONE of the RI and MA feed stores sell medicated chick/chicken feed!!! This seems nuts to me if this is a problem in my area, no?

    Before I got my laying chicks I called 10 feed stores and none of them sells a medicated feed. We only have 5 feed stores in RI altogether. This has me scratching my head.

    We also don't have a vet who will see livestock chickens, if I want my chickens tested or treated for anything at a vet I have to bring them to a regular pet vet. *again scratches head* I have called three vets locally so far asking for reccomendations for livestock vets to keep on hand, got number for several, called them all and got told they only saw large livestock! [​IMG]

    Now I'm getting frustrated...
    I think my husband will kill me if all 25 of these birds drop dead on me.

    Can you eat birds that have been fed medicated feed anyway?

    Having medicated feed shipped to me would cost too much.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    It seems to me people have a harder time finding non-medicated feeds than medicated. [​IMG]
  9. I know why, it's all here in Rhode Island!!!!!! [​IMG]

    Seriously, we have tons of it. I don't understand why.
    It could be that the high majority of people raising chickens here for eggs and/or meat are in the organic/high quality movement and don't want anything in their feed.
    Same thing with vegetable and fruit gardening here, there are a TON of organic fetilizers and plant foods on the market at home depot and TSC but only one small section of things like miracle grow, etc.
    Having livestock here isn't exactly common. Keep in mind that you can drive from side of my state to the other in less than an hour!

    Just not too sure what to do now. I have these birds shipping out on June 4th. I guess I shall just have to "wing" it and see what happens.

    I have them going into a brooder in my garage and then am going to build a chicken tractor for them.
    I read somewhere here that someone recommended giving small chicks little bits of exposure to the soil starting at 3 days of age to help them build some immunity, how do you feel about this Gryefields?
    I already know I won't deal with these birds again and I haven't even gotten them! lol I'll do a different type that is more hardy to disease in the future.

    Makes me want to put these chicks in a glass bubble!

    Thanks bunches for your input Greyfields [​IMG]

    I can't breed these darn things, nor would I want to. I'm not sure if I should eat anything that's been eating medicated feed so I'm leaning away from that, and ditto if they do come down with it and need to be treated. I guess I shall be eating the survivors and burying the ones that kick the bucket. You live, you learn!

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