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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:09 am 
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Fiesty Fowl
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Hi guys! Well due to numerous forum posts (sorry about that) you've probably all heard of my struggle with coccidiosis ever since I got chooks.

Someone suggested I vaccinate and recommended this:

http://www.jefferspet.com/coccivac-d2/camid/LIV/cp/0041104/

Now, I know it only covers a few species, but with the way I'm going ANY species at least partially eliminated is good.

Does anyone have any experience with this or other coccidiosis vaccinations?
This one you spray on their feed at 4 days old.

:th


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:41 am 
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The idea of the coccivax in it's various forms is that it exposes the chicks to a small dose of oocysts of a particular strain of Eimeria in order to stimulate an immune response.

This is different to in other vaccines where a less-virulent strain may be used to infer protection against a nastier more vilurent strain. That does not work with coccidia because the disease is strain-specific. So in order to develop immunity to a particular strain, the chick must be exposed to (and recover from multiple infections of) the specific strain in question.

The vaccine is merely an aid to giving a tiny dose and allowing those multiple (hopefully subclinical) infections take place as the chick repeatedly recovers and the immune system is strengthened.

I would not bother with the vaccine because once you understand that all you have to do is control the number of oocysts ingested by the chick, you are in control of the disease process.

In the case where breeders are rearing batches of chicks, I am in favour of wire-bottomed brooders as a starting point. You can stop the chicks pecking at their own droppings which is how they pick up oocysts. We want to expose them, but not to allow them to be overwhelmed.

We have worked out what works for us. Others may not agree with it, but I can say that years ago we were at the point of giving up, especially when people kept telling us that Sulphaquin was the answer. It wasn't. Medication may be a part of the answer, but it isn't the whole answer. Husbandry is the answer.

Our system for anybody who's interested:

1. Chicks hatch and go into a wire bottomed brooder for four weeks. No particular disinfection takes place with equipment apart from normal washing of food bowls. They are probably exposed to some coccidia at a very low level. Their immune system is developing. No ground contact at all.

2. Chicks are transferred into a second brooder and a dirty bowl from a pen with older chickens in it goes in there - just the once. Then they are just housed there for a couple of weeks. No ground contact and still on a wire floor. They stay here for a couple of weeks. They are definitely exposed to the local coccidia. No treatment is required. Sometimes we see the odd bit of intestinal lining shed in a dropping but they cope fine.

3. Chicks are now at least six weeks old. We put them the ground for a day in a tractor. Then they go back into the larger wire bottomed brooder. We watch them. Due to the life cycle of the coccidia, we know to expect symptoms about five days after the ground contact. If a week passes without illness, that's a good sign that the immune system is strengthening. If we are confident we will put them out into similar aged pens from 8 weeks old. If the chicks looked sick five days after the ground contact, we treat them with Baycox. They pick up after a few days and we introduce a dirty bowl and wait again. If all's good we put them out on the ground for a day again. Once we know they are coping, they go out into pens.

The important thing is to keep up the very slow trickle infection. They need to keep getting coccidiosis at such a low level that you can't see it. It takes multiple infections for immunity to get strong enough.

Never put young chicks in with older birds. It's asking for trouble.

Always keep your pens clean and dry. It helps by stopping the oocysts sporulating (becoming infective).

In dry climates you will have less trouble with this disease, but it's still there as a potential problem.

Any system will work if it controls the number of sporulated and infective oocysts that a chick ingests. This is not the only way of doing that. You could work out a different way if you understand what's going on. Medication is another way of tipping the balancing in favour of the chick, but we almost never need it if we control the environment.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:45 am 
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Hi Chicken 07, it's the chicks that go on the ground that have the problem, never had an issue in the brooder.

I put them down at about 6 weeks old, and they're not about 8 weeks and they've started having problems. I don't really have the room for a set up like yours but I might try the dirty water bowl.

Thanks for the info regarding the vaccine though, I'll just persist with trickle dosing Amprolium at a maintenance level, once I actually get the Amprolium next week. They're getting bay cox at the moment. :-)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:52 am 
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If they get sick once they hit the ground, then they are ingesting oocysts from the ground at a greater rate than they can manage.

The easy answer is to put a wire base under your tractor. It takes no room. We've done it with four pieces of recycled pine and a sheet of wire mesh. Let your chicks have a day on the ground and then put them on the wire to watch them.

This works. The wire here is too fine but the principle works:

Image

Image

Alternatively, give your chicks a day in the pen, and then put them back into your brooder. However, if your brooder has shavings in there and they are able to peck at their own droppings they will be reinfecting themselves in there too.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:54 am 
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Our tractor actually does have a wire bottom, so I could elevate and watch.

Thanks for the advice, I'll give it a go!

I've heard liming the ground with agricultural lime also helps, does this ring true?

EDIT: Just checked my records, they're coming up to 10 weeks old.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:56 am 
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No, it's not true. Oocysts are amazingly resilient.

I have heard of some people getting a chook dropping from another pen and putting it in the drinking water of their chicks in order to 'immunize' them after a fashion. It sounds gross but it would work on the same principle as the coccovax and cost a lot less. I would only do this if confident of controlling the situation and for us that means wire floors. It would only expose them to the strains at your property though. Moving a chicken to another property with different strains can introduce something new.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 10:57 am 
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Chicken07 wrote:
No, it's not true. Oocysts are amazingly resilient.

I have heard of some people getting a chook dropping form another pen and putting it in the drinking water of their chicks in order to 'immunize' them after a fashion. It sounds gross but it would work on the same principle as the coccovax and cost a lot less. It would only expose them to the strains at your property though. Moving a chicken to another property with different strains can introduce something new.


Ok, that sounds like a plan. I will try that.

Are some soils worse than others? I feel like I've been jinxed.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:25 am 
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No, you haven't been jinxed. Once you have troubles like this and get your head around how it works, raising chickens becomes something you can manage. I think it can be worse on some soils, it can be worse in some climates. However those that don't have much problem with it can become blase and not really understand the situation. I know that having people tell me to just give the chicks a few drops of Sulphaquin and all should be well, was a most confusing attempt to help because it was never going to work for a few reasons.

Understanding the life cycle of the Eimeria is helpful to understanding how the disease works.

I will quote or summarize from Jordan (2008) ....

It is caused by protozoa of the phylum Apicomplexa. Most coccidia in poultry belong to the genus Eimeria.

The life cycle of a typical Eimeria comprises a parasitic and a non-parasitic phase. The infective stage - the sporulated oocyst - is ingested and the action of mechanical and chemical factors in the gut (bile salts & tripsin) leads to the release of sporocysts and then sporozoites in the duodenal lumen. The sporozoites invade the mucosa, sometimes passing down the whole length of the alimentary tract before doing so. These follow phases of intracellular growth and asexual multiplication with periodic release of merozoites back into the gut lumen. After a number of such cycles, sexual forms - the gametocytes - develop intracellularly. These differentiate into macro and microgametocytes. The microgametocytes releases many microgametes, which are flagellated and motile and migrate to the macrogametocytes. These develop into a single macrogamete, which, after fertilization, develops into a zygote and thence an oocyst.

This whole cycle is quite rapid - about 4-5 days and involves colossal multiplication. There may be hundreds of thousands or even millions of oocysts produced from one ingested oocyst.

When oocysts are passed in faeces they contain an undifferentiated spherical body. These oocysts only become potentially infective after undergoing sporulation. This entails subdivision into four sporocysts, each of which contains two sporozoites.

Sporulation requires three conditions: warmth, moisture, and oxygen. Under optimal conditions, around 25-30C, this takes 1-2 days. Sporulated oocysts, protected by the thick oocyst wall, are resistant to a fairly wide range of normal environmental conditions and the ability of at least some to survive for months or years is a key factor in the epidemiology of coccidial infections. Temperatures above 56C and below freezing are lethal, as is desiccation, but oocysts are able to tolerate most disinfectants. Only low-molecular-weight compounds, such as ammonia and methyl bromide, effectively kill oocysts and these gases are used to decontaminate experimental facilities.


So you can see why some climates may be more favourable to the sporulation of the oocysts and therefore favourable to coccidiosis.

When you think about the need for warmth, moisture and oxygen, you can also see why brooder boxes are such a likely place for outbreaks.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:29 am 
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Yeah that makes sense.

I'm certainly not blasé about it let me tell you.

I'm going to lock the chicks up and raise them off the ground this afternoon, once I get home from work. They'll get medicated water, and medicated food.

If some oocysts take months or years to die, does that mean I have to find new ground for raising chicks?
Also I'm in Melbourne and it's currently very wet, but only between 8-17 degrees, so will that slow the oocysts down a bit?

None of mine have outbreaks in the brooder, it's always when they first hit the ground.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:42 am 
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No, you don't have to fix your ground. You only have to control the rate of ingestion of the oocysts and allow the chicks' immunity to build up. Our ground is laden with this.

You are having outbreaks once they hit the ground because they are getting exposed to new strains, or otherwise they are just ingesting a lot more of them, or both. It's about the numbers.

Don't be lulled into any sense of security by the current temp. It's about the temperature at the oocyst, not where the weather station is measuring. You only need a bit of sunshine directly onto a area of ground, it warms up to a higher degree than the surrounding air temp and you've got sporulation.

There are some things here that you can control and some things that you can't control. All you have to do is break the cycle by manipulating something that you can.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:44 am 
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Ok thanks Chicken07, I'll take them off the ground and keep giving them Baycox until my Amprolium arrive next week, then I'll reassess how they're doing.

Fingers crossed I pull them all through this. ohjeez

My favourite Cochins are in that pen (but not showing symptoms as of yet).


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 12:26 pm 
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Arquella, thanks for asking these questions and Cathy for some really detailed answers in dealing with cocci outbreaks.
I can relate to what youre experiencing Arquella; i think the soil where i am is also laden with oocysts; am now dealing with another outbreak a week after a bit of rain; ive got 2 different age groups that are affected (8 weeks and 2 and a half weeks) have managed to save all chicks affected so far except for 1 this morning, a 2 week old in a group of 8 under a broody.
Will have to change my set up here for raising chicks too, as im over having to medicate them to get them through this- time to put them on wire floors here too.
Thanks again....ive been tearing my hair out about this ....your post has helped :thumbs:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:11 pm 
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No worries Angelcake, it's really been making me upset as well.

You just have to keep medicating and hope they make it. The two of mine who were bad this morning seem to have picked up a bit this afternoon and were at least having something to eat. I'll have just enough Baycox left to last until the Amprolium arrives.

Fingers crossed we manage to pull our chicks through this. :help:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:56 pm 
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Yep lets hope they all pull through :thumbs:
The group of 8 week olds are looking a lot better- they have had amprollium in the water for 5 days , a 2 day break and back on it after spotting a couple more suss poops; im not surprised this lot got cocci, we has a storm here a bit over a week ago, part of their roof was blown off and they got wet- they are now in a new area that should stay dry( with the hopefully coming rain this next week).
The ones under the broody i was initially a bit surprised by- but she is proving not to be the best mum- shes quite clumsy and tends to step on them instead of over them, doesnt always call them to food and ive noticed her chicks are a bit smaller and thinner than the other broody raised lot ive got, so maybe they are a bit stressed.
Oh the fun and joy of it all ohjeez


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:24 pm 
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Chicken07 wrote:
If they get sick once they hit the ground, then they are ingesting oocysts from the ground at a greater rate than they can manage.

The easy answer is to put a wire base under your tractor. It takes no room. We've done it with four pieces of recycled pine and a sheet of wire mesh. Let your chicks have a day on the ground and then put them on the wire to watch them.

This works. The wire here is too fine but the principle works:

Image

Image

Alternatively, give your chicks a day in the pen, and then put them back into your brooder. However, if your brooder has shavings in there and they are able to peck at their own droppings they will be reinfecting themselves in there too.


This has been a really informative thread and this post is gold!!
I've been trying to work out how to put wire bases into my brooders for weeks. My brain's been aching with so much thinking!! :aaargh: :aaargh:

Cathy, you've shown how easy it can be.

I haven't had much trouble with coccidiosis here but two, 5 week old chicks I sold last weekend died after only a few days with their new owners who are experienced chook keepers. Since hearing the news I've been trying to work out what else I can do to make the chicks less susceptible.
:th for the pics and info.

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Last edited by konopiste on Mon Dec 01, 2014 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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