Coccidiosis is a parasite that affects a chicken’s digestive tract. Every chicken keeper should familiarise themself with this particular parasite as not only is it fairly common in backyard poultry; it can prove fatal if not treated swiftly. Furthermore, Coccidiosis is highly contagious and will spread throughout your coop in a matter of days. Our advice is to know the signs and be ready to act if your birds are exhibiting symptoms of coccidiosis
What exactly is Coccidiosis?
When a tiny coccidial parasite is ingested by a chicken, it will adhere itself in the lining of its intestines. This is where the parasite will multiply and cause damage to the chicken’s intestinal tract resulting in bleeding, a change in stools and weight loss. Coccidiosis is the intestinal disease caused by this microscopic parasite.
Along with causing bleeding, the parasite will also be responsible for malabsorption of nutrients. This may result in the bird appearing unwell, thinner or presenting with pale combs. You may even notice a reduction in egg production or eggs with soft or malformed shells.
Know the signs of coccidiosis in chickens
Does your hen have Coccidiosis? Know the symptoms and treatment. Coccidiosis can affect chickens, ducks and turkeys. If your chicken is a healthy adult, it is likely they will be physically immune to a strain of coccidia that is already present in your coop. However, when a new or different strain is introduced to your flock, your hens will have absolutely no immunity, and the parasite can quickly take hold.
- Change in faecal droppings to a watery consistency and/or containing blood
- Noticable lethargy and appearing weak
- Ruffled feathers. Feathers look messy
- Combs and wattles look pale
- Weight loss or poor growth in chicks
How should you treat Coccidiosis?
The most widely used treatment for coccidiosis is Amprolium. This is added to the water supply and works by inhibiting the parasite’s ability to multiply.
How to prevent coccidiosis
Prevention is always better than trying to get ontop of a coccidiosis oubreak. There are certainly some measures that you can take to prevent cocciosis in your henhouse.
- Choose a hygienic chicken feeder and drinker. The Dine A Chook range reduces the risk of contamination. Our drinkers ensure a supply of fresh, clean water that has not been walked in by dirty chicken feet
- Always isolate new chickens or hens before adding to your flock. Monitor their health, looking out for any symptome of coccidiosis
- Ensure that the coop and henhouse remains dry. Chicken do love to thrash and play in their water. Use a Dine A Chook Drinker to prevent muddy puddles.
- Don’t feed scraps or throw food on the ground for the chickens to eat
- Ventilate the coop and keep it clean
- A healthy diet will boost your their natural immunity. Remember, food scraps and scatch mixes are like candy to hens. Read more about what to feed chickens
- Add Diatomaceous Earth and probiotics to your hen’s eating plan