Thoughts and Questions about cocci

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DJF, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. DJF

    DJF In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    New Hampshire
    We are just starting out with chickens and are using the medicated chick starter for our chicks. I would like to use the unmedicated starter next year and have been trying to learn as much as I can to prepare myself.

    The learning curve is quite steep and the new information is overwhelming at times.

    In this discussion on Antibiotic Resistance on the forum at, D Cavany says, in his third post down, (hope I counted correctly) that you can vaccinate your chicks for cocci by mixing some chicken poop (from older chickens) with a quart of water and giving this to your chicks. Repeat this treatment at week two and again at week three.

    On, there is a discussion asking if anyone has tried the cocci vaccine that is available. In it, Wes in TX refers to the same treatment of putting poop in the chicks' water (post #5).

    D Cavany says, in his post, that he has had good success with this method.

    Has anyone else tried this method of vaccinating your chicks? What was your experience?

    Also, and I know that this is kind of dumb, but would you just put a handful of week-old poop/litter in the water?

    I assume that I would stir or shake and strain but I am concerned about the amount of poop to use.

    Here are the two links to the respective conversations:

    Antibiotic resistance

    Has Anyone tried the Cocci vaccine?

    My searching for more information on Cocci lead me to this page as well:
    Dealing With Coccidiosis In Pastured Poultry

    Now, all the way down near the bottom of this page, there is a section for treatment and in it, there is a recomendation of using raw milk as suggested by Jeff Mattocks of Fertrell.

    Has anyone tried this as a treatment? What was your success using it?

    Just trying to get a better understanding of what the risks are to the various options and approaches to cocci and chicken husbandry in general.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  2. pipermark

    pipermark Songster

    Jan 26, 2007

    First know you enemy.

    Ok, so antibiotics do not work, they do handle some secondary problems that occur , but not the real problem.

    The idea is to give the birds time enough for their immune systems to be able to deal with the little buggers.

    Ok , then logically , could the idea of adding chicken poop to their water help. Well logicaly yes, becuase if the poop had a small amount of cocci in it then this slow controlled would allow them to build their antibody attack system without being overwhelmed. Especially assuming that the birds whos poop you are using had already developed their own antibodies, so any cocci that are in the poop are inactive or dying.

    Of course , this also means that if you put poop from an infected bird, with hight active protozoa in it, you probably just caused one heck of a problem for any bird that drinks the water.

    This problem has been studied by the scientist, becasue there is now amble proof that by feeding medicated feed all these years, that thee are now protozoa that are immune to the affect of thiamine inhibitors, and before you realize what you are dealing with , you have lost a generation of babies.

    SO , they are concentrating, instead, on ways to strengthen the immune system.

    I personally use to things, no proof these work, other than my own experience.

    1. DE or lime in the bedding. - the protozoa needs moisture to survive, the de adsorbs all the moisture out of the poop.

    2. Introduce the chicks to the ground slowly , a hour or less a day for the first week, then increase slowly.

    3. Garlic in the water, there had been some evidence that high concentrations of garlic controls parasites. I put enough cloves in the water that it smells, yet the birds still drink it.

    4. Apple cider vinegar in the water- most parasites do not like an acidic environment.
  3. DJF

    DJF In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    New Hampshire
    pipermark, You don't use the medicated chick starter then-right?

    Your approach looks quite sound. Do you mind if I pick your brain?

    You mix both the apple cider vingegar and the garlic together in the same water? Or do you offer two different water fountains? Or do you alternate every other day?

    Regarding both of these, do you just use them for your chicks / or when you think the birds need it? Or do you offer at all times to all birds?

    I have been reading about apple cider vinegar but I haven't yet read much about the garlic.

    Using your regiment, have you had to deal with Coccidiosis anyway?

    If you have, at what ages did your chicks experience problems? What did you do to treat it? And, what was your success with treatment?

    What medications do you have on hand, if any, in case of an outbreak?

    Thanks for sharing pipermark.
  4. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

    May 11, 2008
    Howell Michigan
    I use garlic and vinegar in my waterers and I use the deep litter method with pine shavings and DE plus "Stall Dry" for odor and my birds are staying real healthy. I'm convinced that keeping the coop dry is extremely important for keeping your birds healthy.
  5. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    I have heard mixed reviews on the cocci vaccine issue ~ there are just so many types of cocci out there, and nothing so far has proven foolproof. Gail Damerow's Chicken Health Handbook has a wonderfully informative section on coccidiosis, including charts on the part of the gut affected by each type of cocci. Very helpful.

    Although I only keep adult birds at this time, my approach is:

    1) Patrol up droppings in the run and coop every day, so that cocci oocysts do not have time to form (well, not so many, anyway). I have read they generally require 36 hours to generate a reproductive cycle in droppings.
    2) Keep run and coop as dry as possible.
    3) Keep birds as fit and healthy as possible, so their resistance to cocci is high. This is the most important part of my backyard hen keeping ~ provide plenty of space; feed good, fresh feed; add plenty of fresh greens/vegetables; administer vitamins, electrolytes, probiotics on a regular program; allow plenty of fresh air, sunshine and exercise.

    I do agree that birds must be exposed to the "natural flora" in the soil of their environment. This is also a good part of poultry management. The trick is to expose birds to naturally-occurring cocci, but not so much that intestinal damage occurs.

    Good luck in your research!

    * I do keep Amprolium on hand in case of an outbreak, but I would rotate this with Sulmet if I had recurring problems so cocci resistance did not develop. If I had recurrences, though, I would also question the general health of my flock.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  6. Mac Momma

    Mac Momma Crabgrass Queen

    Apr 27, 2008
    North Georgia
    Quick question......I did a lot of research and reading. I have received five new additions to my flock ( about 8 weeks) and have quarantined them to a chicken tractor that I have predator proofed fairly well. It is on the grass nearest to my house, and away from my other flock. I am reading this and it concerns me that I may have created a problem, as they are on the ground too much! I have this as temporary housing for minimum of 30 days, and they were brought home last night. Should I find somewhere else for them?
  7. DJF

    DJF In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I have been very deliberate and mindful with the Isa Browns we are currently rearing.

    I have been removing wet litter as soon as I notice it.

    Several times a week, I make a point to remove the chicks' fixtures and fluff/stir their litter back into the middle where they scratch.

    I might add, I make it a point to feel for wet spots with the *back* of my hand while I do this.

    I want them to scratch in this and they now start scratching in it as soon as I pile it up.

    At the perimeter areas and around the waterers, I add more clean fresh litter.

    In addition to this, I have been providing, in a rubbermaid playbox, dug up soil and sod from sweet ground (no poultry).

    They do their dust bathing at one end of the box, more or less, and scratch in the sod that I continue to provide in the other end.

    My intentions here are to give them adequate exposure and repeat exposure to the local flora without overwhelming their little systems. But I question if I am giving them enough exposure?

    Their diet is good. In addition to the chick starter offered free choice, My mom chops up greens of all sorts for breakfast and for supper. I give them handfuls of chopped clover and grass when I top up their playbox. We introduce a new food every few days. I tried yogurt twice, but they don't seem to like it yet. I will try again this week.

    I just got a bag of DE this past weekend and haven't started using it yet.

    I couldn't find amprolium for chickens--only for large livestock like cattle. I didn't know that I could use that.

    So, my research now will include the garlic; Amprolium and Sulmet; and Stall Dry/PDZ. I will also look for more information on the different types of chicken cocci.

    The two things that I absolutely must improve upon next year are providing sunshine and alot more fresh air.

    Thank-you all for your input. The feedback gives me confidence with my decision to use the unmedicated feed next year.
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2008
  8. DJF

    DJF In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Mac Momma,

    I can't offer you advice based on experience but perhaps we can compare notes on our readings?

    You mentioned that no chickens have been on the ground that you are using. So, if your tractor is dry and especially if you can place it on ground that has received sunlight you are doing the right thing.

    The Cocci protozoa are everywhere--right? The chickens *will* be exposed to them. Your job is to expose them to *your* cocci strains in a manner that will build up their immunity without overloading their systems.

    I think that their stress of being moved to new surroundings will lower their immune response so adding vitamins and perhaps the ACV and the garlic to their water might help in that regard and certainly couldn't hurt.

    If you add a little DE to their feed, their poops might be drier and thus slow down the process of the oocysts sporulating and becoming active.

    In addition to the disinfecting properties of sunlight, (it kills them I think.) I have read that the oocysts don't do well in a low ph environment. This is why some folks say to pour vinegar on the ground that you are going to use.

    It seems to me that I read that pine needles or pine trees in the area might help accomplish the same thing. Our soil tends to be more acid than alkaline.

    And one last note: Be ready with the Amprolium and or Sulmet and have the recipe for dilution taped right to the bottle or box or bag because the success of recovery from an outbreak is all about response time on your part.

    Congradulations and good luck with your new birds.

    grammar correction
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2008
  9. Jenski

    Jenski Songster

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    DJF, sounds like you are doing an excellent job looking after your chickens and researching poultry health.

    The main places I order poultry meds from online are McMurray Hatchery and First State Vet Supply. Jeffers Poultry sometimes has what I need, too. My local co-op and Tractor Supply are occasionally useful too.

    I added a longer version of this spiel on another thread, but the short version (OK, not so short) is that many of the newer drugs poultry folks are using are only FDA approved for larger livestock. This is purely an economic issue, as no large poultry interests wanted to put up the $ to sponsor the research. There are plenty of resources to help us poultry people dose correctly, and there are even some home made dosage charts floating around on the forum. I always cross-check my sources and use my best judgment.

    On a different tangent, if your chickens don't care for yogurt (mine don't), you might try a good probiotic powder in their water on a regular schedule. I just picked up McMurray's Immuno Charge after having them fax me the ingredient list. It has a pretty wide range of beneficial bacteria, plus some good supplements.
  10. DJF

    DJF In the Brooder

    Jul 17, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Thank-you thank-you thank-you Jenski for the suggestions on where I can follow-up with supplies. I will check out those resources.

    Your post helps give my thoughts a little more focus. Sometimes, the information overload causes everything in the thinking department to turn to mush.

    I was a little uneasy about many of the products being made for large livestock. You help put me at ease with that concern.

    The forurm helps to keep things straight. Thanks again. I will look for your long version on the supplies.

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