Should I regularly disinfect my chicken areas?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BackyardDove, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I ask this because one of my two chicken area's was contaminated with coccidiosis some months back, and unfortunately this is also the area where I plan to hatch and raise chicks. I also recently found out that my flock of chickens might have parasites since the area they live in was once available to the wild chickens that roam around the town here. Is there anyway to get rid of these parasites from the ground? Like spraying down the area with diluted bleach while the chickens are out?

    I am having a fecal test done on a stool sample from my chickens that I suspect may have parasites tomorrow, so I'm not sure what kind of parasites they have or if they even have parasites. If they do, then I have a major issue on my hands, since I recently had to put a booted bantam hen in with my pheasants and doves since she refused to stay in her old pen. If they have parasites, it's likely she does too, and that also means my pheasants and doves have been exposed, which means extreme frustration for me...

    EDIT: I also just realized I sometimes let the chickens into the yard where the dogs have access to. Which means they could be exposed to parasites, which also means the cats could be exposed, ugh...
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hello, welcome & relax!!! As disgusting as it may seem, we are all hosts to parasites of some sort (children not included [​IMG])!
    You don't say what your yard is made of - concrete, dirt etc. If it's concrete or similar, a thorough hosing down and scrubbing with bleach/disinfectant at least 2-3 times should do the trick. If it's dirt - do you have no other option for your chicks? Coccidiosis can stay in the soil for a very long time and chicks are extremely susceptible to this disease. I don't think power washing/bleaching/disinfecting the ground would be effective or satisfactory. I strongly urge you to keep chicks away from the contaminated area until they are full grown and able to better combat the infection.
    Wait until the tests come back before worrying about the results - you might be pleasantly surprised. Have your chickens shown any signs of illness? Check them scrupulously for lice/mites. Any signs of infestation, dust down the birds, change bedding, clean out houses and dust them down. All of them - doves, pheasants, chickens etc. Annoying? Yes - but better now than in the summer months when an infestation can become a Biblical plague....[​IMG]
    Generally speaking, that which infests birds doesn't infest dogs & cats - at least not the same variety of pests. Just as a cat flea will bite you, it can't live on you. My cats & dogs roam around with the chickens, into the hen-house and no-one has had any problems with 'catching' parasites.
    Hopr this helps a bit, I'm sure others wiser than I will also chip in, good luck [​IMG]
     
  3. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh my bad! I meant to say what they live on but forgot. Half of it is dirt and the other half is concrete, though the area they are usually in is the dirt area. It's also almost constantly muddy since that area hasn't grown any grass for several years. I've tried to figure out how to make the ground firmer, but I also have a horse who shares the the bigger pen with the chickens and she eats any signs of life back there. As for the area contaminated with coccidiosis, it's all dirt. I'm afraid I don't really have a choice with keeping them in there. I don't have another pen they can go into and there's no appropriate area to build another pen. I've kept the area as clean as I can and I recently put down a layer of wood chips. The infection wasn't very bad, I had one chicken die of coccidiosis but he was the only one infected badly enough to show symptoms. They had only been in the pen for a couple weeks before I realized something was wrong, but nonetheless the area was contaminated.

    Only one hen has shown signs of illness, but I'm starting to think it was just a stomach ache. All my chickens are a healthy weight, healthy appetite, feathers are in great shape, etc. But yesterday one of my hens was acting lethargic, constantly drinking, not eating, and pooping mostly green liquid with some solids. She had been let out into the yard the previous day. She's doing much better today and is acting, drinking, and eating normally again. Her poop is still green, but mostly solid now. I started them on a roundworm treatment today, but they barely drank any of the water and she was eating before she drank any of the treated water. However, like you said I'm not worried about that until I find out there is a parasite problem. I'm mostly concerned about the other pen that had coccidiosis, since like I said that area is supposed to be where chicks are raised. Is there anything I could maybe cover the ground up with? When I was buying the coccidiosis treatment the people there told me I could spray down the area with diluted bleach and that would kill the parasite.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  4. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Good morning, Well, I went to the learning center tab to check my facts. It's very informative and I recommend you read the article on coccidiosis. So - you can get your chicks vaccinated against the disease, that should help you some.
    My best suggestion for the dirt area where you want to raise them is pebbles, or other such stone material. My outside covered area is stone base - it's easy to wash down - just hose it. If you can first spray the area with dilute bleach, then cover with 2-3 inches of gravel/stone, that should provide a good measure of safety for the chicks.
    Wishing you luck, keep us posted! [​IMG]
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You can use chick feed that is medicated with amprolium to help the chicks get immune to it without getting sick.
    Coccidia exists naturally in the ground and in any bird, it's keeping the numbers down and the chooks immune is the key.

    Some folks expose their chicks to a piece of grass/plant material with dirt attached from the yard when still in the brooder to start the immunity process, with or without medicated feed.

    Bleach sprayed on the ground is not going to do much to disinfect the ground...best bet is to make sure the ground drains and dries well.
    Adding some organic matter (dry leaves, straw, hay, grass clippings) can help alot to form a balanced soil......
    ......just make sure it doesn't get sodden and airless enough to form an anaerobic environment.

    Treating for any parasite that you are not absolutely sure exists, only creates resistant parasites and the meds might not work id you DO need them.
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    “Worry is interest paid before it is due”. I stole that phrase from someone else on here. I know it is hard to do but try to find out if you have a problem before you worry too much. Reality is often much nicer than our imaginations though sometimes reality sucks.

    Your problem with Cocci is not so much that you have it but your ground is wet. The problem with cocci is not that it is in the chicken’s digestive system but that the numbers get out of hand. That cocci bug thrives in wet soil that has manure in it. The chickens peck in that and eat a lot of the ”eggs” which then develop inside the chick and the numbers quickly get out of hand. There are a couple of strains of cocci that are really damaging because of which part of the digestive tract they attack, but the majority of the problems people have with cocci is when wet is involved, either dirty water, a wet brooder, or wet ground.

    Once cocci is in your flock, cocci is always in your flock. Even if you were somehow able to eliminate it from your chickens and from that patch of ground, it will just come back in from outside the sterilized area. You have it but you can deal with it.

    Chickens will develop immunity to a certain strain of cocci with two to three weeks exposure to it. The secret is to allow them to develop that immunity without the numbers getting out of hand and getting them sick. I don’t know how that immunity works but it does.

    The medicated feed probably contain Amprolium. I’d check the label for active ingredients before I depended on it, but the dosage of Amprolium in medicated feed is meant to be a preventative, not a cure. It reduces the ability of the cocci bug to reproduce so it limits how many “eggs” are laid but it still allows some reproduction so they can develop immunity. It is still possible for them to get sick and even die from cocci while they are on medicated feed, but it does help reduce the risk. You still have to know the symptoms and be ready to treat. And try to keep areas dry.

    What is happening with yours is that the adults have the bug in their system and they are producing those “eggs”. Those eggs get in your wet area and thrive. Even if your chicks are on medicated feed and not producing many of those eggs themselves, they can easily become fatally sick because of the cocci bug thriving in that wet soil.

    So how do you manage? If you can, dry that area up. Trust me, I know how hard that can be in some circumstances. It may be impossible. Still, if you can, that should be your main effort. Maybe put pallets or something over it to try to keep them out of the worst of it.

    It sounds like you may be planning to use a broody instead of an incubator and brooding them yourself. If you are incubating and brooding yourself, keep the brooder pretty dry, change water completely every day if they can poop in it or scratch bedding in it at all, and feed them small amounts of dirt from the run to expose them to the bug so they can work on their immunity. One fairly common happening on this forum is that someone broods the chicks in isolation, feeds them medicated feed, but does not introduce the cocci bug to them. Then when they are old enough they stop feeding medicated feed, put them on the ground where they are introduced to the bug, and the chicks get sick and maybe die. Your goal is to strengthen their immune system, not raise them in a sterile environment.

    If they are being raised by a broody you can just let them go and see if you have a problem, being ready to treat at the first sign of a problem. If she has a drier place to hang with her chicks other than that mud hole it might work, but they are not going to want to be on that concrete much. She’ll want them somewhere they can scratch and peck, even if it is mud. Still, this may be your best option.

    I personally like a broody to raise her chicks with the flock from Day 1, but we have to have some flexibility and be ready to adapt. If you can isolate her and the chicks from that wet area for about three weeks they should develop the immunity they need. They will be exposed to the bug with the broody hen pooping in that area. After three weeks introduce them to the flock before she weans them so she can handle integration for them.

    No matter what you do, watch them closely and be ready to treat at the first sign of cocci.

    Good luck with it. Many of us have somewhat similar situations. My run can be really wet when the weather sets in wet for a while. I’ve only had one outbreak of cocci, that was with a broody hen raising them in really wet weather, but my broodies have a somewhat drier area to go and the manure load is not that great in that dry area.
     
  7. BackyardDove

    BackyardDove Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for all the helpful replies! I found out today that my chickens do not have any parasites, which is a big relief. The area where I plan to raise chicks isn't usually wet. The other, bigger area gets wet easily on the other hand, but has the concrete area that's always dry. The chick area absorbs better and is better protected from rain, so mud is not an issue with that area. The bigger area that does get muddy is impossible to keep dry. It's too big of an area and it's hard to find anything that the horse won't eat and won't destroy/toss around. My only solution with that area is to let the chickens from that area and horse out into the yard so that they don't have to stand in all that mud.

    I figured medicated feed would prevent coccidiosis, but I also know that the chickens who got coccidiosis were raised on medicated feed. However, I made the mistake of keeping them in one small cage together for longer than I should have. It was impossible to keep clean but I was afraid of letting them into a bigger outside area since my last batch of chicks died soon after being put outside due to the elements. I do plan on having my chickens hatch and raise their chicks themselves. I'm not sure how long I'll let them raise the chicks before selling them, but they will be raised by hens for at least a couple weeks.

    I think what I'll do is just leave the area be for now. There shouldn't be an overload of coccidiosis in that area, like I said they were only in there for a couple weeks before I noticed, and the area is usually pretty dry. The hens will be living in that area while laying/hatching/raising chicks, so they will always be exposed to the soil there and could pass on some immunity to them, plus I'll have the chicks start on medicated feed from day one. If I have an issue with chick mortality, I'll lay couple layers of rock/pebbles and see if that helps any.
     
  8. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Sounds good - wishing you lots of peeps! [​IMG]
     

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