1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Not treating coccidiosis

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by limhyl, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. limhyl

    limhyl In the Brooder

    Dec 15, 2012
    Ok, I have searched and searched and can find no reference to folks just letting their chickens cure themselves of this thing. I'm just trying to get an alternative to treating with antibiotics so here is the deal. I have two sets of chicks from two different breeders, one group is 8 weeks and one is five weeks. They all have had bloody stools for a few days at different times. Seems to be working it's way through both groups. None of them are showing any other signs of being sick and are eating and drinking normally. This has been going on for two weeks now and I suppose each of them will get it and then clear it from their systems and become immune. I realize that I may lose one or two but my thought is that the ones that survive will become immune at least to this strain and that is a good thing. I have been giving them chick probiotics and vitamins in their water and organic chick starter crumbles. Has anyone tried this? Thoughts? I realize most of you will say treat them asap but I am more interested in thoughts about NOT treating. Thanks.

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Good luck.
  3. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

    Oct 3, 2011
    My Coop
    I know of no natural treatment for this. I dont think you will find it. But of you change your mind i have treatment for it if you havent found the usual treatment already.
  4. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    The medicated feed used to prevent coccidiosis does not contain an antibiotic. It has a niacin inhibitor that prevents the parasite from effectively reproducing. It has no effect on the birds at all, and there are no residues as it is used only in young chicks.
  5. limhyl

    limhyl In the Brooder

    Dec 15, 2012
    I guess my thought is, and this is how I treat myself and my family as well since I'm an RN, if they are not showing ANY signs of being sick and the bloody stools seems to be self limiting lasting only about 48 hours for each chicken, what is the point in exposing them to antibiotics allowing other bugs exposure to them and subsequently possible resistance to them down the road? What happens when the chickens get sick with something more serious and I really need the antibiotics to work to save their lives? I'm just wondering if people treat too quickly with these drugs like we sometimes do in humans and could we be doing more harm than good? I understand if the chickens are sick and dying from a particularly virulent strain but that is not the case with mine.
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Crowing

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    If you read my post above, you would see that they are not receiving an antibiotic. With birds, often by the first sign of illness they are already very sick - and chicks are particularly quick to die if stressed or ill, and can suffer poor growth even if they don't die. Feeding them a medicated starter only limits the ability of the parasite to multiply, and does not kill them, so they still develop natural immunity. We keep chicks in close confinement that conentrates their exposure to parasites, and starters with coccidia inhibitors are a valuable tool to keep them healthy.
  7. JerseyGiantfolk

    JerseyGiantfolk Crowing

    Jan 12, 2012

    If chicks are hit hard by cocci they can be prone to other diseases because of their weak system.

  8. Erica

    Erica Songster

    Dec 5, 2010
    Hi Limhyl,
    I've written extensively about this topic on my blog.

    My old 1940s chicken handbook shows how cocci used to be treated (before medications). Basically the birds were moved every 24 hours to new (absolutely new -- no chickens on it for many months) ground. If they were in a cage then it meant newspaper changed daily. By the time blood is showing they've had an overwhelming exposure so everything depends on how bad that exposure was; they'll either recover or not. Since many people see cocci even in medicated chicks, you're not being 'cruel' as long as you treat any that show signs of pain/illness and take some measures to prevent cocci in the first place.

    The point of changing the floor every 24 hours during treatment is that the fresh droppings aren't infective for about 48 hours after being dropped. Thus the birds aren't acquiring more coccidia while trying to combat their first exposure.

    I have a whole how-to for preventing cocci on my blog, too -- you can find it if you follow all the 'raising chicks without medications' subject links or there's a booket for sale (but basically all the information is on the blog, though not as clear or structured as in the booklet).

    But in a nutshell, the keys to med-free chick raising without cocci are:
    1. A probiotic-enhanced milk product like kefir -- easy to make, easy to use, and I'd say it's as good a cocci preventive as the chemical ones, though for other reasons.
    2. Exposure from day one via a handful of healthy hen pen soil or litter sprinkled through the chick brooder.
    3. Avoid damp warm litter by only heating the sleeping end of the brooder.

    There are more tips and tricks but those are the main ones.

    I've currently got a batch of 24 chicks at 10 weeks of age, all raised without medications on ground that's had plenty of chicks and chickens on it. They're currently in my worst (dampest) pen, it's summer here (Australia), raining and hot, and none of these birds has ever shown a symptom of cocci. Management used to be the only tool people had; I believe in it, but keep a bottle of medication on hand in case a bird gets sick. But when I follow all my own protocols this never happens; nor is it a common problem (under reasonable husbandry conditions) when hen-raising.

    Good luck, and while this isn't a path for beginners it's a worthwhile one.

    1 person likes this.
  9. limhyl

    limhyl In the Brooder

    Dec 15, 2012
    Thanks Erica, you make some good points and have great suggestions. I did not start them with medicated starter and the ones that started with the bloody stools were from the most fastidious breeder I have ever seen. None of his breeding stock or any of the chicks had ever been on soil of any kind. So I'm not sure how this group became exposed but nevertheless I will keep a close eye on them. Since they are still in the brooder and it's freezing outside it will be difficult to keep the droppings picked up but I'll do what I can. None of them currently have blood so perhaps it's worked it's way through them all.
  10. Chickenfan4life

    Chickenfan4life Crowing

    Aug 28, 2012
    Planet No
    I can only say that this method is risky. Don't attempt it if you're a new chicken/animal owner, or if you have doubts.

    This method has worked once before. A chick named Fuzzy got Coccidiosis. We just put her in a box with light, food, water, and bedding. After 3 days of bloody stools, she had lost a lot of weight, and was weak when she started to eat and drink again. She grew up, and is now a happy, healthy hen.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by