One of the most common diseases of poultry is coccidiosis. Whenever and wherever it occurs, coccidiosis often causes massive chicken deaths. Affected birds find it difficult to feed, which reduces their immunity against diseases. When this poor feed conversion ratio combines with poor appetite, disaster happens and chickens die. Because of its global reach, poultry farmers need to know how to cope with and prevent coccidiosis in chickens. In this article, we explain the aetiology, method of transmission, symptoms, and preventive strategies for coccidiosis in poultry.
What is Coccidiosis in Poultry?
Compared to other chicken disease, coccidiosis is due to internal pathogens that attack the intestines. These protozoans have the family name ‘Eimeria.’ Besides, you can call the plural form ‘coccidia.’ Coccidiosis has five major strains that can affect your birds namely Eimeria tenella, E. acervulina, E. necatrix, E. maxima and E. brunetti. Although these strains are nine in number, the most lethal of these presently are the Eimeria necatrix and Eimeria tenella. You will find them in the small intestines and caecum of your chickens. What they do is puncture the sides of the small intestine to initiate bleeding.
Moreover, for coccidiosis in poultry life cycle, it takes between four and seven days for full development. Due to its varied nature, precise identification is critical to proper diagnosis and treatment. Besides, these protozoan pathogens occur in oocyst. Each oocyst has the ability to corrupt thousands of cells within the intestines. Under favourable conditions, this oocyst grows into a sporulated oocyst that is capable of considerable infection.
Mode of Transmission of Coccidiosis in Poultry
If you want to know – how does coccidiosis in chickens move from one bird to another, you will find the answers here. When birds ingest contaminated substances, which is the surest way to contract it. By contaminated substances, we mean feed, water, litter, and soil. The oocyst can live in a hibernated form for several months until the environment becomes favourable.
Wet litter serves as a breeding ground for the coccidial protozoans. When the ammonia level becomes unbearable for your chickens, these pathogens get to thrive. With a smart device, you can know exactly when the ammonia level is becoming toxic.
Symptoms of Coccidiosis in Chickens
For those asking ‘how can you identify coccidiosis in poultry’, we have created a list of potential symptoms. Once you observe any of the following characteristics, isolate the affected bird and start watching got complications.
- Chickens start clustering together, whether the weather is cold or not.
- Loss of appetite.
- Scattered feathers.
- Poor feed conversion.
- Water or bloody excretions.
- Frequent prostulation.
- Pale look.
Prevention of Coccidiosis in Poultry
Like other dangerous poultry ailments, it can be difficult to treat once your flocks contract it. Thus, you should prioritize these preventive measures. Apart from saving you from significant losses, they minimize physical stress and increase your productivity.
• When you administer coccidiosis vaccine to your chcikens, it is advisable to do so within the first seven days after hatching. That way, your poultry can build antibodies and immunity as they grow.
• You can buy anti-coccidial medications for your chickens, either to treat or prevent the outbreak of coccidiosis. However, ensure you consult a qualified and experienced Veterinarian for excellent advice.
• Evacuate poultry litter before they become wet. You should pay more attention to your litter condition because mouldy litter is a breeding ground for oocyst and sporulated oocyst. If possible, you can turn chicken litter so that the upper part goes below and the drier bottom can come up. You can also use a simple smart device to determine precisely when the air quality becomes toxic for your birds.
• Manage moisture drops appropriately. To prevent your litter from getting wet easily, consider tools and equipment that can help you control moisture drop effectively. You can replace tour traditional through drinkers to conserve water and mitigate spillage.
• Overcrowding is a result of poor poultry management strategy. When chickens are clustered together, infections can move faster from one bird to the other. In addition, overcrowding makes the pen environment very humid, which is suitable for the growth of pathogenic organisms. Penkeep will help you determine the correct humidity condition of your pen every minute.
• Practise good biosecurity protocols on your farm. It may be as simple as washing your hands thoroughly after entering each pen to moving your chickens from one location to another after some time. This fallow period allows coccidiosis pathogens to die off.
Concluding Thoughts on Coccidiosis in Chickens
Coccidiosis is a common poultry disease that caused massive deaths. Strict biosecurity measures represent the most effective way to mitigate the outbreak of coccidiosis in poultry. Vaccination also plays an important role of building essential antibodies in chickens.
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