Managing Coccidiosis Outbreak - Update and Seeding Advice

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by williamsl77, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. williamsl77

    williamsl77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here's the story: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=572252

    Here's
    the update: We are on Day 4 of having sick chickens. I've lost 4 birds out of 30 so far (one Wednesday, one Thursday, one Friday and one today). I have one still not walking well and looks like starting to slow down a bit more. I also have about 3 more that look a little tiny bit sluggish, but are still eating and drinking. They have all been on sulfadimethoxine since Thursday morning. I have only had one bird with frank bleeding (lost her Thursday am). I have a lot of birds that have very normal looking poo. I can't really tell if there are any more having bloody diarrhea. I have 3 of the sluggish looking ones isolated. I have released some of the previously isolated birds back into the coop because their poo looks normal and their behavior has perked up. (Again, all are on antibiotics). I have been giving them lukewarm water because it is pretty cold outside and that seems to increase their drinking. I've also been keeping their coop a little warmer with a heat lamp, so they are less stressed by the change in temperature.

    So... here are my questions... how long should I expect for this to run its full course? Can I assume remaining birds are immune? I wasn't feeding my birds medicated chick starter before this (they are about 5-6 weeks old now). Should I start medicated feed? If yes, now or after this runs it's course? (I know medicated feed can help prevent, is not used for treatment, etc). I have also read that medicated feed works differently than antibiotics and can actually interfere with antibiotics, so I'm guessing starting now is not a good idea. (And this goes back to are they immune now anyway?). I have asked some of these questions to the chicken expert at the local cooperative extension and his answers weren't as helpful as I'd hoped they would be. He just gave me a hard time for not having them on medicated feed to begin with, keep them on antibiotics, and then said just let it run it's course. I also have a friend of mine that is holding a healthy silkie that I was going to add to my flock (needed a home and I wanted a silkie). Of course, I will wait until things are well settled here, but what should I expect about my chickens being carriers now and adding a bird?

    I'm still trying to understand the microbiology of coccidiosis... it's something that can be in the environment in soil. It can also be passed from wild birds to domesticated birds (we have wild turkeys come through our yard on a regular basis). I did all of the recommended things to avoid general chicken illness prior to this outbreak (clean feed and water 2-3 times per day, plenty of space, clean pine shaving bedding while in the brooder, starting composting bedding when moved into the coop). Things I could (will) do differently in the future: medicated feed for the first few months for new chicks, will scrub down at minimum the nests and perches with bleach when this is done and then paint them, probably the whole coop. Have an outdoor run in the process of being constructed, but not done yet. Don't know how to feel about letting them forage in the soil now anyway, though I can't imagine not letting them, either.

    Anyway... all thoughts are very appreciated. I would love to hear from anyone else who has had an outbreak like this.... Thanks soooooo much.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    My cocci are particularly hard on my game chicken line and one of my dom lines. The brooder reared birds have been most efffected but hen reared have problems when ground is wet and they are feeding around older free range birds.

    While in brooder with cocci sensitive chicks, every effort is made to prevent transfer of material from from outside flock to brooder. I also use the medicated chick starter while chicks are in brooder. A few days before chicks are moved from brooder to chicken tractor I hit them with Sulmet laced water with treatment continued for 2 weeks.


    Chicks of lines not sensitive to cocci are simply watched closely. If loose stool noted, then treatment started with Sulmet. Starting with Sulmet with birds strongly affected by cocci can cause an uptick in mortalities. Obviously sick birds are isolated from healthy flock and treated as you describe plus electrolytes are added to water. It take several days for birds to recover owing to repair time required to replace digestive tract lining.

    Next year I will be efforting to spot cocci cycts / spores in feces using microscope. Birds in my program that are strongly affected by cocci are culled from breeder population in effort to select to resistance.
     
  3. Bat Cave Silkies

    Bat Cave Silkies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2010
    Bat Cave, NC
    Cocci is everywhere....it cannot be eliminated, but there are things we can do to control it's impact on our flocks.

    I only raise Silkies (which seem to be sensitive to everything) so I can't speak to how it affects other breeds.

    I do not use medicated chick starter; all chicks are hatched & raised inside of my house. At 4 weeks of age, I treat their water with Amprol for 2 days, then put them in their outside home/run. They stay on Amprol for 5 more days. Then they get chopped boiled eggs with ProBiotic powder on it (ALL of my birds receive this once each week).

    For prevention of future outbreaks of cocci, this is what I do: every month, every bird (outside) receives Amprol for 2 days, the next month they receive Sulfamethadioxide for 2 days, and I continue to rotate.

    Every time I strip/clean a house & run, I saturate all of the surfaces (including the dirt) with Oxine. Let it dry, add the PDZ, cover in shavings, then sprinkle with Poultry Dust.

    Birds under the age of 5 mths are most prone to become sick & die from cocci, therefore they are observed DAILY for any signs of "puffing up"----head drawn in (like a turtle), wings held a bit low. The MINUTE I observe this, that entire group of birds receives Amprol for 7 days.


    Haven't lost a bird to cocci in quite a long time.
    Best of luck
     
  4. Ozchicken

    Ozchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Birds need to acquire an immunity to coccidia through trickle infection, repeated low level infections. The best way you can stop them getting overloaded is to keep their cage and littter super dry. Stop any drinker leaks and stop any contamination of drinking water or food. They pick up more from any droppings. Some birds get such severe damage to their intestines that they do not recover regardless of medication.

    I don't think the chlorine dioxide will destroy the Eimeria oocysts, but it will have an effect on bacteria. Ammonia will kill coccidia that comes into contact with it for a period of time. I don't worry to much about it though. You don't need a sterile cage.
     
  5. williamsl77

    williamsl77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What about eating the eggs of chickens treated with antibiotics? How long after they've received antibiotics do you not eat their eggs? Not that mine are laying, but if I'm going to be treating them for this in future I should know.

    Thank you for the prevention regimens. I appreciate this. I did keep the shavings dry, although I had a friend take care of the chickens over the weekend and I don't know for sure if they always checked the shavings. I did, though.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Sterile cage will not work.

    Getting the birds to develope an immunity to coccidia is a short-term objective of mine. Controlling the the initial rate of exposure is problem. How do you do it? My system has birds potentially exposed to too heavy to too lightly cocci contaminated material. My anti-microbial treatment simply suppresses infection until immunity developes, thereafter bird's immunity must kick in or bird is culled by disease or my hand when selection for breeders is made.


    Below is example of how a bird severly infected looks relative to cocci resistant full-sibling hatched same day. Photograph made about 2 weeks after cocci infection licked by smaller bird on right. Bird on left never became symptomatic. They are red jungle fowl x American game.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. williamsl77

    williamsl77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So after this infection, they should be immune, right? I probably don't need to do antibiotics every other month if they chickens stay the same?
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Mine are immune to cocci on my place. Move them and stress them at same time and you can start process all over again. Same appears to operate with round worms.
     
  9. Ozchicken

    Ozchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are many different strains of Eimeria and immunity to one doesn't necessarily transfer to another. Over a few weeks your chickens will become immune to the current infections. Immunity stays high due to ongoing exposure in the environment. The ones that get through it will be fine.

    Even the birds that showed no symptoms will have the same infection at subclinical levels. That's normal and healthy.

    If you take a bird to a new property and there is a new strain there, it can start all over again. Also at times when a bird is sick, stressed & immuno compromised it can lower their immunity and you can have problems. I often find that birds that come down with another illness (eg. pox) can need some coccidiosis medication.

    I live in the sub-tropics. It's warm, moist and there's wild birds everywhere. We have perfect conditions for coccidiosis. So in drastic outbreaks I just put the chicks on wire grills for a while to stop them ingesting the oocysts while they are recovering. Then I have to stage down their ground exposure again. The idea is to dramatically reduce the amount of coccidia in the bird's intestine while they are being treated, then allowing them to be re-exposed at a gentle rate giving them a chance to develop immunity. It's a balancing act. Some people don't like using wire floors as they say it stops the coccidiosis too effectively and prevents immunity building up, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I think the solution is all in the gradual ground exposure after they recover. You basically start all over again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  10. williamsl77

    williamsl77 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is all very, very helpful... So when should I clean out and bleach their coop? When we are almost at the end of the antibiotics? Sooner to decrease the exposure to their ooyctes?
     

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