Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ask Bee - Coccidiosis... What Is It and How Do I Prevent It?



Dear Bee –
My next door neighbor recently lost a number of chickens to coccidiosis. I’m concerned my flock has been exposed. Can coccidiosis be prevented?

Bee’s Answer:

All birds have coccidiosis present in their bowels.... they don’t become symptomatic of coccidiosis unless they develop an overgrowth of the cocci. 

How do you prevent an overgrowth of cocci? Creating balance in the chicken, in the coop (see our Deep Litter Page) and in the surrounding soils is the first step.  Doing one without the other is kind of useless as they will just get imbalanced again as the chicken moves between environments. 

Providing healthy gut flora will eventually inhibit the overgrowth of things like cocci, e.coli, salmonella, etc.

One of the best means of helping your flock develop healthy gut flora is the use of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (U-ACV) in their water. Combine that with feeding your flock fermented feed (see our FF Page) and you have a winning combination. 

 Product Details
It doesn't really matter how much ACV you put in their water... whatever amount your birds will tolerate.  I never measure... I just tip the jug, allow a glug to flow and that's it. One glug for more water, a little glurp for little waterers.   The thing is, it doesn't take much unpasteurized ACV to make a difference and any is better than none.  You just don't want to put so much that they won't drink the water or you see their beaks dissolve when they dip for a drink!    Just kidding....  that won't happen.

The following information – research describing why ACV is so good for the bowels  - is from a very good site that you can find by clicking HERE.

Quote:
“Pediococcus acidilactici (the stuff in unpasteurized ACV) can function as immune modulators. Animals fed with P. acidilactici have shown enhanced immune responses against infectious coccidioidal diseases.

(Translation: Animals that are fed unpasteurized ACV are healthier and don’t get sick as easily as animals that don’t get U-ACV)

“Pediococcus acidilactici is also known to prevent colonization of the small intestine by pathogens like Shigella, Salmonella, Clostridium difficile and Escherichia coli among small animals.

(Translation: those scary-sounding diseases listed above don’t like that magic stuff in U-ACV and don’t grow well in animals that are fed U-ACV.)

“Pediococcus acidilactici has not been stated in any literature to have toxic effects. Another potential benefit of using them as Probiotics is their use as alternative medicines against infectious parasitic pathogens like Eimeria in broiler-chicken.”

(Translation: The magic stuff in U-ACV isn’t poisonous and won’t hurt your chickens. U-ACV is used to keep commercial broiler-chickens healthy… before they are broiled, of course.)


Quote:
“Eimeria,  genus of parasitic protozoans of the spore-producing phylum Apicomplexa (previously Sporozoa). Eimeria, which causes coccidiosis in livestock and wild animals, infects mainly the cells of the digestive tract, although it also attacks cells of the liver and the bile duct. Symptoms of infection are diarrhea, weight loss, and general weakness. Eimeria is characterized by spore cases that contain four spores, each with two infective sporozoites. Among the common pathogenic species are E. necatrix and E. tenella (in poultry); E. stiedae (in rabbits); and E. bovis, E. ellipsoidalis, and E. zuernii (in cattle).”

(Translation: The thing that causes coccidiosis is a tiny little thing that mostly lives in the cells of an animal’s digestive tract, but it can also be in the cells of the liver and bile duct. If too much of those little things grow in an animal, the animal will "get" coccidiosis and may have bloody diarrhea, may lose weight and may be weak.)


As you can see (provided you know how to translate “Scientific”) is that cocci doesn’t like unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and won’t grow well inside animals that are fed U-ACV.

Pretty cool, huh?


- And for those of you who tend to fret over poo, HERE is a wonderful (and very graphic) page of what you do and don't want to see on your coop floor. Perhaps it will help put your mind at ease... and you can quit being all up in your chicken's... ahem... stuff.


Bee -
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Comments

19 comments:

  1. Most excellent compilation of the poop group of things to know for chickens! You've done your research!

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  2. What a great post about preventing coccidiosis! i think of it as being sort of like the E. coli in people. Everyone on the planet has E. coli in their gut. It's just when it gets in the wrong places that it causes problems! I've never had an overgrowth of cocci in my chickens and only one batch of rabbits out of hundreds. I never feed medicated feed, either as I'm of the school that figures they should get exposed to it and get over it as soon as possible. I think feeding medicated feed would be just prolonging the exposure and maybe increasing the risk of an overgrowth later if the medicated feed is stopped.

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    1. Good insight, Mary! Thank you for sharing :)
      Leigh

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  3. Great post! I'm learning so much!

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  4. Once again, you've done a great job!! I so appreciate it!!

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  5. I make Apple Cider Vinegar even though I live somewhere that apples can't grow. I'll share what I do, but w/out the wordy explainations: Use frozen apple juice withOUT added calcium. Added vit. C is fine. Mix up according to directions then throw in a few gluggs of Braggs. I start with a gallon (2 frozen cans) and around a half a pint bottle. In a glass jar only. Cover with coffee filter or paper towel held with a rubber band. Leave it there for a month. There. Now you have a gallon of the stuff for around 2 dollars.

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  6. my hens have coccidioidal just got done with corid . some hens still have some loose poop Do I need to keep them on corid longer I had them on it for 5 days 2 tsp. / Gal of water. Please help don't want to lose another hen. Also do I need to start them on probios now? thanks so much katatdawn

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    1. No more Corid. That is why their stools are loose - Corid is very harsh on their systems. Start the probiotics as soon as you can, and supplement their diets with raw liver to help boost their iron and vitamin levels. You can also add liquid baby vitamins (Po-i-Vi-Sol without iron) to their feed or water. Greens like Kale are also really good for them.
      Good luck and best wishes - please let us know how they recover.
      Leigh

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    2. ok I have 50 hens how much probios do I add to water and how long do I keep them on the probios? thanks katatdawn

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  7. I had one of my little 12 week old hens come down with cocci. It was awful. She was pooping blood and looked like a crime scene. She was also light as a feather, so to speak. It was over NYE so I didn't think anything would be open. Doing some surfing I found an obscure blog whereby a woman cured three of her chickens with GSE (grapefruit seed extract). I bought some. Mixed 10 drops in 2 cups of water and sort of forced my non eating, non drinking pullet to drink some mixed in gatorade. By that evening she was drinking the water laced with GSE and by the next day eating. Her poo went from pure blood to normal over the course of 4 days and now she's fine and back with her friends. Very scary that cocci, but the GSE saved the day. And it was inexpensive. It also apparently kills candida so will treat sour crop as well.

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    1. Kara - that is great information! I'll have to do more research on the benefits of grapefruit seed extract. Thank you for sharing!

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  8. so if your chickens are pooping blood is it too late for the ACV? should i just go to the corid?

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  9. Yes - if your chickens have dark red bloody stools, you absolutely need to medicate them right away. There are natural remedies, but if they are very sick, your best bet may be to go directly to Corid as Cocci can kill very quickly. If they will drink, electrolytes and probiotics in their water will help.
    Check what you saw against the photos at THIS LINK to be sure you are in fact dealing with Cocci.

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  10. very good to find this helpful info! thank you!

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  11. Question please... is corid toxic to the meat? Will it effect the taste?

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    Replies
    1. I would personally wait at least 3 - 4 weeks to process any birds that have had Corid.

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