As you know, my flock of eight hens has been treated for coccidia over the last week or so. There’s no question that the girls are acting 100% better; I thought for a day or so there we might lose a few.
But when I took a stool sample back to the vet’s to have it rechecked, it still tested positive for coccidia. Which means we treat again with Albon and then recheck in about 10 days.
Coccidia is an intestinal parasite that damages the intestinal tract of the bird. The parasite is species specific, which means that the chicken coccidiosis will not infect the dogs or cat or even a turkey.
But it’s a problem because coccicia are everywhere, and reinfection is pretty likely. And it’s also likely that at some point, every chicken will be infected. Because there are so many species of coccidia, how much damage is caused depends on which kind they pick up.
According to the Miller Hatcheries website:
“Young chickens pick up the infection from contaminated premises (soil, houses, utensils, etc.). These may have been contaminated previously by other young infected birds or by adult birds that have recovered from the condition. Wet areas around water fountains are a source of infection. Oocysts remain viable in litter for many months. In this way they can contaminate a farm from year to year. Oocysts are killed by freezing, extreme dryness and high temperatures.”
As you know, I’m no chicken expert. But I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a giant pain in the rear end to get rid of the coccidia in the coop. David did fix the drainage problem, with new soil and a hefty dose of sand. No puddles. And we’ve cleaned the coop well, and I’m scooping poop daily the way I do the cat’s litter box.
But the chickens are diggers, and they’ve created huge holes in the run. Then they manage to tip the waterer and viola. Puddles. Then it rains. More puddles.
So I’m not sure what further steps I need to take to get rid of this, other than waiting for the first freeze. Which in Rochester could be September.
One good thing I read on ThePoultrySite.com: “The birds that recover from coccidiosis gain immunity, but production may never recover.” Good they recover, bad they stop laying. But that’s OK. My chickens are very much pets. All I ask is for some companionship and a few laughs. If we get eggs, that’s just a bonus.
ThePoultrySite.com actually has a pretty extensive section about coccidia, if you want to check it out.
If you have any thoughts or suggestions on this topic, I’d love to hear them! (Just a thought: leaving comments here on the blog rather than on my Facebook page will help other readers who are not my FB friends.)