What is Coccidiosis?
Coccidiosis (aka: cocci) is a very common disease that affects chickens. It is an intestinal disease that occurs when a microscopic parasitic organism attaches itself to the intestinal lining of a chicken, and rapidly multiplies. The stomach tissue becomes damaged and causes bleeding preventing the chicken from absorbing nutrients from food.

Coccidiosis can be fatal to your chickens, however with early diagnosis it can be easily treated. Younger chickens (under six months) are more at risk for this disease due to their low immunity, however adult birds can also become infected.

Common Symptoms:
Coccidiosis works quickly as the incubation period is around eight days. Symptoms can appear gradually or suddenly. While diarrhea, blood and/or mucous in droppings is the most prevalent symptom, ensure to also look out for the following:

  • Weak, inactive chickens
  • Huddling together (as if cold)
  • Pale skin color
  • Loss of appetite
  • Ruffled feathers
  • Weight loss
  • No growth in baby chicks
  • Inconsistent egg laying or none at all

How is it spread?
Microscopic eggs, called oocysts, are ingested and then multiply in the intestines; they are then expelled in the droppings. The eggs are then spread by a person’s shoes, equipment or other animals. It is commonly transmitted through dirty water or contaminated food.

Tips for Prevention:

  • Clean and dry chicken coops
  • Fresh and clean water
  • Clean feeding areas
  • Provide more space (avoid overcrowded areas)
  • Keep new chickens quarantined for at least two weeks
  • Vaccinate day old chicks

How to Treat:
Once one chicken has been diagnosed with Coccidiosis, all of your flock must be treated. First, make sure to isolate your sick chickens from the rest of the flock, and immediately clean their space. You’ll need to treat your chickens with a commercial treatment called Amprolium; this is a liquid treatment added to their water supply which treats the disease. However, it’s always best to first contact your vet for professional advice if Coccidiosis is present in your flock.

Other common diseases among chickens include:

  • Fowl Pox (Symptom: White spots and sores)
  • Botulism (Symptom: Tremors)
  • Fowl Cholera (Symptoms: Diarrhea, joint pain, struggle to breath)
  • Infectious Bronchitis (Symptoms: Sneezing, snoring and coughing)
  • Infections Coryza (Symptoms: Swollen heads)

Remember, if a member of your flock is experiencing any health issues, it is always strongly recommended to contact your local vet for professional advice.


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