Coccidiosis is an intestinal disease that occurs when a microscopic parasitic organism (called a protozoa) attaches itself to the intestinal lining of a chicken. It damages the tissue of the gut, causing bleeding (which can be evident in their droppings), prevents the chicken from absorbing nutrients and creates an environment in which bacteria can thrive. Basically it’s bad news for chickens.
Younger chickens (under six months) are more at risk as they haven’t yet had time to develop their natural immunity, however adult birds can also become affected
What are the symptoms?
Coccidiosis works quickly as the incubation period is only about eight days. Symptoms can present either gradually or suddenly – it’s not uncommon for a chicken to appear fine one day and very sick or even dead the next. The most common symptom you might notice is blood or mucous in the droppings. However, don’t get this confused with caecal droppings chickens shed naturally that is also brown/red in colour.
Also note, blood in poop is not necessarily always a symptom, so also look out for:
Weak, listless looking chickens not moving around much
Huddling together as if cold
Pale comb and skin
A loss of appetite
Baby chicks failing to grow
Inconsistent egg laying – or not at all
How is it spread?
Unfortunately it’s easily spread. The oocyst can be transmitted via shoes, shovels, contaminated water, food and poop.
Ensure water is clean and fresh
Keep feeding areas clean and dry and don’t throw food on the ground where it can be contaminated
Ensure your girls have enough space – coccidiosis will take off in an overcrowded area. Chickens need four square feet of space each in their coops
Provide medicated starter feed for chicks. If your chicks have been vaccinated against coccidiosis, don’t give them medicated starter feed, it will simply cancel out their vaccination.
If you live in a particularly wet area consider giving amprolium as a preventative.
If introducing new members to your team of chickens, keep them quarantined for a minimum of two weeks, for the protection of everyone in the hen house.
Content created and supplied by: Aliyyahbaby (via Opera News )