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Mrs Frugal

Useful information on common ailments

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This isnt a common ailment, but comes from Peter, responding to my posts - if you think its in the wrong place other mods, please move it :D





Very sorry to hear about Margot.


I noticed that you mentioned the cause might have been coccidiosis. A brief search on the forum produced very few hits about this condition, so I thought it might be helpful to provide some information about the signs and symptoms for future reference (hopefully never to be used).



Coccidiosis (cock-sid-e-osis) is caused by a protozoan parasite. There are nine recognised species of protozoa that cause disease in chickens, three of which are clinically important. For the poultry industry, coccidiosis is a major problem, as it is impossible to erradicate due to the method of rearing. The protozoa is transmitted between chickens through faeces; the protozoa makes its way to the intestine and undergoes developmental changes which damage the intestinal wall. The key to controlling the disease is therefore good husbandry, although as we can see from Mel's situation, this is not always enough.


Most (if not all) chickens are vaccinated within a few days of hatching (Paracox vaccine) - I understand that Omlet hens are vaccinated, but if you obtain your hens elsewhere, it would be advisable to check with your supplier. It is possible to use drugs known as coccidiostats to control the disease prophylactically - this is common in the industry; however, these drugs cannot be used once the chickens start laying, as they interfere with egg quality and production, and chicken fertility. Indeed, some of the coccidiostats are only licenced for use in broiler chickens. Other drugs marketed as coccidiostats are actually antibiotic growth promoters - evilness to be avoided at all costs! In addition, overuse of such drugs can lead to the development of resitant strains of the protozoa.


The signs and symptoms of coccidiosis are:


Ruffled feathers





Poor feeding




Peters next post


Coxoid is certainly used in chickens as a treatment (not a prophylactic) but it is not licenced for such use, only in pigeons. The main advantage is that it is available through pet shops and the like without the need for a prescription, but the problem comes from knowing what dosage to give, as the instructions are based on the dosage needed for a 500g pigeon drinking approximately 50mL per day. I guess if you assume that heavier birds drink proportionally more fluids per day, then the hens should receive enough of the drug to treat the infection. Obviously, eggs must be withdrawn during the 7-day treatment (if indeed the hens are laying), and for safe measure I would continue for a few days after. Also, as Coxoid is not licenced in chickens, if you choose to use this product, you do so at your own risk - but that may well be a risk worth taking, especially if it will take the vet several days to get hold of the prescription product.


Regarding the Paracox vaccine, this is also prescription only, so it will need to be obtained from your vet. The smallest size in which it is available is a 100mL sachet, enough to treat 1000 birds! This vaccine is administered by addition to the drinking water. Another vaccine, Paracox 5, safeguards against the five most common species, rather than all possible species. This is available in a 4mL sachet, but again will treat 1000 birds and is POM. Both vaccines are live, and are therefore suitable for single use, rather than being stored for subsequent use in the future.


Generally, treatment of coccidiosis involves replacement of fluids to combat dehydration and the use of a coccidiocide licenced for treatment (rather than a coccidiostat licenced for prevention) such as Baycox or Tribrissen (both prescription only), both of which are added to the drinking water.



I hope the above is of some use/interest. Just to validate the information, you might like to know that I am a qualified pharmacist, working as a lecturer in pharmacy at Aston University (Birmingham). In addition, I am currently finishing a postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Pharmacy at the moment, so have access to all sorts of information. Cue the requests for pharmaceutical advice...


Best wishes,




[Credentials if required: BPharm MRPharmS PhD]

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We tried syringing sugar water into Trinny's mouth when she wasn't eating a lot and possibly had dihorreha. About 4-8ml 2-3 times a day. Sometimes we got her to just drink small amounts as she developed a thirst. We checked with a vet and they thought it was a good idea.

We thought she pepped up a bit when we did this.

The vet suggested grapes to get water into her.

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