Prevention, control and management of coccidiosis in chicken Farming Business

If one of the birds start showing signs of coccidiosis, it’s good to treat the whole flock. FILE PHOTO | NMG

By JOHN MUCHIBI

Coccidiosis is a disease caused by a protozoa parasite which affects birds and other animals by attaching on their intestinal lining.

The parasite damages the intestinal walls’ tissues causing bleeding and mal-absorption of nutrients thereby encouraging growth and multiplication of bacteria.

The protozoan parasite that causes coccidiosis can lie dormant in the soil until it’s exposed to moisture, either from rain, water spillage a round drinkers.

Wetness provides a suitable environment for the protozoa to thrive and multiply causing infection to the birds. Poor hygiene also contributes to the spread of infection within a flock.

The disease is spread from bird to bird through unsporulated oocysts (eggs), which are passed through droppings of infected birds.

If the unsporulated oocysts come into contact with moisture, they sporulate (infectious) and once ingested by other birds as they scratch and feed, they get infected.

The oocysts can also be transmitted through shoes, farm equipment, contaminated water and feeds. Birds are infected by different strains of protozoal parasites whose severity varies.

It is important to know the strain causing the disease to treat more effectively.

Clinical signs

The disease may start showing signs in about eight days. The symptoms include:

• Pale combs and skin
• Poor appetite
• Poor feed digestion
• Ruffled feathers
• Weight loss
• Retarded growth in young birds
• Drop in egg production
• Bloody droppings

Treatment

If one of the birds start showing signs of coccidiosis, it’s good to treat the whole flock. Amprocox is an anticoccidial drug that is used to treat coccidiosis in birds and livestock.

Always mix the drug with Stressmix as the disease induces stress to birds and other animals.

Prevention

Maintaining good hygiene is key in prevention of coccidiosis. Wash and disinfect drinkers and feeders, provide clean drinking water and drain any stagnant water in the environment.

Do not overcrowd birds as stress may induce the disease.

Any new birds brought onto the farm should be quarantined for a minimum of two weeks to prevent introduction of oocyts.

The poultry house should be kept clean and dry. All drinkers should be raised appropriately so that there is no spillage of water.

Control movement of people into the farm as the oocysts can be carried by shoes and cars’ wheels.

Secure the poultry house to prevent entry of other wild birds into the house.

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