How I almost lost all my chicken in a day: coccidiosis is deadly - FARMERCIST 254

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Sunday, 11 March 2018

How I almost lost all my chicken in a day: coccidiosis is deadly

The past one week has been so traumatizing for me, as a poultry farmer. I almost lost all my chicken in a day...to a condition that found me off-guard and one that I had never experienced before.

It was last Sunday after attending a church service at St. Michael and All Angels parish that I invited a few friends to come and see how good my small, urban chicken farm was doing. Since some of them were interested in buying a few chicks, I decided to let my two months old chicks out for the first time that week...I had avoided this for some time since there had been a lot of rains and I had feared that my chicks would catch a bacterial infection due to the chilly weather conditions.

What I never realised was that by caging the birds the whole week I had done more harm than good to them. I had had a busy schedule at work the whole week and had paid little attention to the hygien of the chicken run, the feeders and the drinkers. I had noticed that, for a reason I never understood, my chicken had had more droppings than usual. As a result the run had become uncharacteristically dirty and the utensils were relatively untidy.

We spent the better part of the afternoon discusing everything poultry...how unique the frizzle-feathered chicks looked, marveling at how beautiful the necked-neck ones graciously walked within the compound, and many other chicken stuff. After my visitors had left I noticed that one the chicks, the hugest of them, was kinda dull. It never bothered me much since I assumed that it was perhaps just relaxing after having so much to feed on that afternoon...never assume any unusual behaviour in your chicken!

What I met the following morning made my heart to almost skip a beat. The chick was completely down with the infection. A few others had also started becoming dull, but there was little I could do since I was already running late for work. I quickly administered an antibiotic to the sick bird and made a mixture for the rest to drink...instead of inviting a qualified vet officer to assess the situation and advise accordingly. I had assumed that the infection would be over by the time I would be back from work.

Unfortunately, and discouragingly so, by evening all the birds were down with the infection, save for few mothers and the big cock. I still never consulted and went on to introduce another antibiotic; this time round mixing this with the antibiotic I had used in the morning...I somehow forgot that this wouldn't be advisable since drugs worked differently and a combination, without the advice of a vet, would even be more perilous.

That night alone I lost 16 chicks. This was the alarm...it was time I consulted a professional and a more experienced person. After looking at the yellowish watery droppings and some other symptoms that only his trained eyes could see he concluded that that might have been coccidiosis and advised that I get coccid immediately. He was also concerned about the untidiness of my coop and advised that the litter be changed immediately and the feeders and drinkers cleaned. This led to a big improvement, though most of the chicks were still weak and had not regained their appetite, after two days.

The vet later introduced ESB 3 30% that he informed me was a stronger broad spectrum antibiotic. As I write this, my chicks are doing almost completely fine though they are still on antibiotics and multivites. They have since lost so much wheight but am hopeful they are soon going to be  just fine. I have since resolved to keep high levels of cleanliness and never to prescribe any drug for my birds...am a farmer and not a vet officer, I have learned the hard way. Just that simple, I almost all my precious birds in just a day!

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