Chickens may not get the typical head cold like we do, but they are subject to some illnesses that are really tough on their immune systems and can even lead to death. One such illness, called coccidiosis, is very common among young chickens, but can be treated effectively if caught early.
Coccidiosis is contracted when a chicken eats coccidia, which are microscopic parasites that can be found in the ground or in bird feces. Coccidia are a part of most chickens’ natural condition. The parasites attach themselves to the lining of the chicken’s stomach and gut, and are passed through the chicken’s feces a few days before symptoms occur, so the disease is very contagious. General coccidiosis is not an issue unless it gets out of balance and is not kept in check by the chicken’s immune system. It can be fatal, but older chickens that have had the disease before will be immune to it. Young chickens and chickens that have poor diets or live in dirty or wet conditions are most susceptible to the disease.
Signs and symptoms of this disease include pale comb and skin, blood in the feces, yellow or foamy feces, a general look of un-wellness and unkemptness, weakness and listlessness, and lack of thirst or appetite.
If you suspect that one of your chickens might be infected with this disease, the first thing you should do is quarantine them to prevent other chickens from getting sick. Then, you can use a liquid solution of Corid to treat the sick chicken and the whole flock. Use 9.5 ml of Corid per 1 gallon of water, and substitute this for your chicken’s normal drinking water for 7 days, mixing a fresh batch of water each day. You can follow up this treatment with vitamin supplements and probiotics to help build back some of the good bacteria in the gut. Sulfa type treatments work well in the water as a good way to attack a full blown coccidiosis issue. Amprol type treatments work better as preventative measures before an issue has happened.
The best treatment is prevention: make sure your coops are cleaned regularly, and that your chickens watering area is not damp. If you can change your waterer to a different spot every 2 days to keep dampness build up. If you spot a chicken that looks like it might be sick, remove her from the rest of the flock immediately to prevent the spread of disease.
From the Cackle Coop.