Raising backyard chickens is a true joy in my life. Before we reentered raising our feathered friends, I’d scroll through social media and dream about coops, chicken breeds, how I would decorate their living space, and so on. And, for the most part, it really is absolutely everything I’ve dreamed of. However, raising chickens isn’t always a Pinterest party. It is true that chickens are known to be more susceptible to sickness and disease if not taken care of properly. One disease we will discuss today is coccidiosis.
Coccidiosis damages the gastrointestinal tract. If your chicken is sick with coccidiosis, they may have mucus-like or bloody diarrhea, dehydration, anemia, listlessness, ruffled feathers, stunted growth or even death if left untreated. For this topic, we brought in our friend and poultry expert, Dr. Bob Stock, poultry nutritionist for Strong Animals Chicken Essentials. I was able to ask him some basic questions about coccidiosis and I’m excited to pass along to you what I learned.
Annie: What is coccidiosis?
Dr. Stock: Coccidiosis is a common disease in poultry that is found worldwide. It is caused by protozoa and is generally host specific, with different species of the protozoa infecting different species of animals. All birds are susceptible to coccidiosis.
Annie: How do I protect my chickens from it?
Dr. Stock: Good sanitation is important, but that is not a guarantee that your chickens will not get coccidiosis. It’s almost impossible to keep chickens from getting some cocci. The good news is that chickens develop immunity to coccidiosis. Some people have their chicks vaccinated for coccidiosis at the hatchery. Other people opt to use an anticoccidial drug to keep the level of infection low and allow the birds to develop immunity. Other people use a natural approach with essential oils and probiotics/prebiotics to support digestive health and immune function. But overall, to keep birds healthy, good hygiene and vigilance can keep their level of exposure low enough so that they can develop immunity without becoming sick from cocci.
Annie: Can I get it from my chickens?
Dr. Stock: No, people are not susceptible to the species of cocci that chickens have. You can spread it between birds from your shoes, clothing, equipment, or other items transported between birds. People can get coccidiosis but the strain is specific to humans.
Annie: Do any of our Chicken Essentials products protect against it?
Dr. Stock: Both Chick E-lixir™ and Chicken E-lixir™ as well as Flock Fixer™ help maintain a healthy gut which will minimize the impact of coccidiosis. They help stimulate the immune system which will help the chickens develop immunity to coccidiosis when they are exposed. Use Chick E-lixir and Chicken E-lixir for digestive health and daily maintenance. When challenges occur, add Flock Fixer to the water. For more product detail information go here.
Annie: What do I do if one of my chickens gets it?
Dr. Stock: If a chicken gets coccidiosis, my first recommendation would be to take them to the vet immediately. It’s likely that they will be treated with Amprolium. I would also recommend adding Flock Fixer to their water. Additionally, make sure to thoroughly clean the pen, feeders and waters. I would also add fresh bedding and sprinkle Coop Recuperate™ over top of it.
While I haven’t had to deal with this disease in my flock, I feel it’s important to be educated on some of the different things my girls may face, so I know how to best help them if it would ever arise. For now though, I think I’ll just head out to the coop and tell them how wonderful I think they all are!
–The Wing Lady