Sulmet/ Bloody stool/ dying chicks


7 Years
May 12, 2012
Auburn, AL
I am brand new to chickens and I need help! We got 20 chicks last week, they were supposed to be a month old. Today I found two dead chicks. Within an hour another one was dead. I noticed there was bloody stool in the bedding. I got on this site and came to the conclusion it may be coccidiosis. ??????

Most of the threads said to use Corid. I cleaned the pen and went to the feed store. I texted a chicken savy person while at the store and they said to get Sulmet not corid and get a better medicated feed. After three feed stores and a trip all over town I am back home with two bottles of sulmet and a new bag of feed. I added 2tbs of sulmet to their water and mixed my new feed with what was left of my old feed.

What more can I do and am I even doing what needs to be done???? Out of the 20, 5 of them were "mine" the Barred Rocks and they are the ones dying. I am down to only 2! Help me save my chicks:(
Don't ask ANYTHING of feed store personnel, I hate to say. You were given bad information. That person was not as chicken savvy as they made out.

Medicated feed will NOT treat cocci once they have it. Sulmet makes things worse sometimes as it's harder on their intestines than Corid and will not treat every type of cocci (there are 9 regular types). Corid IS the way to go. Sulmet is a sulfa drug and will continue the intestinal bleeding longer than necessary. Corid is concentrated amprolium, a thiamine blocker, and will not hurt their intestines.

They can still get cocci on medicated feed. It has a very minor amount of amprolium in it. In fact, the best way to avoid chicks getting cocci is to put dirt in their brooder their first week of life and forget the medicated feed. It really does not matter! Of course, these came to you already infected, it seems to me, so you have to treat them now.

As long as you have the Sulmet, use it, but do get Corid because you may have to re-treat them if Sulmet doesn't do the job (and it may not). And, get plain no-sugar yogurt to help replace the good gut bacteria that Sulmet will destroy and that cocci will also damage.

I have vast experience with cocci as the oocysts are rampant in my soil, but now, I know that Sulmet was causing me to have to treat and retreat groups of chicks when I would have had much better luck with Corid in the first place; then later, I got wiser and just put dirt in their brooder for them to play in and haven't had cocci issues for ages.
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Oh goodness, I am sorry. Coccidiosis is nasty and it moves fast once it gets to the stage where you are seeing these symptoms.

I would dash back to the store and get some Corid right away. See if they have Corid 20% water soluble powder, labeled for calves, it's often easiest to find. Dose is 1/2 tsp. per gallon of water for 5 to 7 days. Sulmet is very harsh on them and they just don't need more stress if they are to survive at all. My avian vet has advised me never to use Sulfa meds on my chickens.

Good luck, I hope you are able to save them.
Thanks. But I actually didnt get advise from the feed store. I called someone that breeds and shows chickens, so you see why I am more confused. Her reasoning was sulmet treated a larger spectrum of illnesses.

Should I: 1.stop sulmet and start Corid, 2.treat with the sulmet I have, or 3.treat with both drugs?
Thanks. But I actually didnt get advise from the feed store. I called someone that breeds and shows chickens, so you see why I am more confused. Her reasoning was sulmet treated a larger spectrum of illnesses.

Should I: 1.stop sulmet and start Corid, 2.treat with the sulmet I have, or 3.treat with both drugs?
I would not treat with both. I would stop the Sulmet and use Corid as it actually is the one that takes care of more strains of coccidia. It is also easiest on the chicks themselves. The person you spoke to may have been meaning that the Sulmet can also treat other types of illness? That's probably what she's getting at but in this case it look's pretty clear that you are dealing with coccidiosis.
Also how do I know what they really have?
The bloody stool is your biggest tip off. Do they have any other symptoms? Coughing, sneezing, anything respiratory sounding? The only way to know exactly for sure is to have a vet do some tests. That gets pricey quick and takes time. In chicks this age and with the symptoms you described.... I'd be surprised if it's anything else.
no other problems that I have noticed but then again I dont know anything about chickens if they were large farm animals we would be good!
Well if they had some nasty respiratory thing going on as well you'd definitely notice! If it were my chicks I'd treat the whole batch of them right away with Corid. You can safely double the dose and treat them at 1 tsp per gallon of water the first couple days since you are seeing obvious symtoms and are loosing chicks. The active ingredient in Corid is Amprolium which is simply a thiamin blocker. It works by creating an unfavorable environement for coccidia to grow inside the chick. It's very effective and works quickly but you do have to get them treated before their symptoms are severe. By that time there is so much internal damage from the coccidia that they cannot survive.

Best of luck, hope they make it.
The chicks are the age for cocci and the symptoms support that. I'd use Corid in the future. If they are dying already, it's far advanced now. I've had plenty of instances of cocci over the years, but not one chick ever died from it because I knew the symptoms and caught it early. It's very treatable and the person who sold you the chicks should have seen the symptoms.

If you're already treating with Sulmet, best to continue that. You don't have any time to waste. After the round of Sulmet, give them probiotics (plain yogurt) for a few days. If they are still showing symptoms, do a round of Corid.

The person who told you to get a "better" medicated feed really didn't give useful advice. ALL feeds have amprolium at the same dosage, as far as I know. Some have an added ingredient, but I've used several feeds and they all have the amprolium in exactly the same amount. And, mine got cocci anyway. I'd feed non-medicated if I could find it without paying 50% more than my preferred chick starter brand (which comes only in medicated).

Chicks raised by broody hens who get out on the ground in the first week of life rarely, if ever, get cocci. They pick in mom's poop and since she is immune, it's almost like being innoculated against it, plus they eat stuff out on range with mom and get the oocysts in small doses immediately to develop immunity.
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