Coccidiosis In Chickens

What Is Coccidiosis?

  • Coccidiosis is a common parasitic disease of poultry which affects the digestive tract and is primarily found in chickens and turkeys.


  • Ruffled feathers.
  • Unthriftiness.
  • Head drawn back into shoulders.
  • A chilled appearance.
  • Diarrhea which may have blood in it.
  • If not treated can lead to mortality.


  • Coccidiosis is caused by a protozoan parasite (coccidia).
  • Poultry are exposed to the protozoan parasite via their droppings, dirty drinkers and damp litter in their huts.
  • Coccidia thrives in damp conditions such as damp chicken litter and is found in chicken manure.
  • Coccidia can also be found in water that is not kept clean and free of chicken droppings.


  • Separate affected poultry and use medicated feed and water.
  • Use of coccidiostats.


  • Keeping poultry on a wire floor where their droppings can fall through.
  • Feeding coccidiostats in the growing diet can help the poultry to build up an immunity to coccidiosis.
  • Vaccinate against coccidiosis.

If you keep hens or are interested in keeping hens then visit the farmingfriends hen forum for the latest chat about hens and then check out the books shown below about keeping hens which are informative and excellent for the beginner and a handy reference for the more experienced hens keeper.

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Comments received

  1. Do the chickens recover if it is discovered quickly enough, with proper treatment? This was a sad post….I always thought it would be fun to raise chickens, but now I would wonder if I could handle it.

    Comment by Julie – October 25, 2007 @ 12:54 am

  2. Hi Julie,
    Yes the chickens can recover if it is detected quickly enough. I hope that this has not put you off. I have only had two guinea fowl adults die of what I suspect was coccidiosis out of about 60. I just wanted to make chicken keepers aware of this disease. The reasons for keeping chickens and the fun and joy they bring certainly out weigh the sadness. It is sad when one of my poultry dies but then I remember that they have had a good life free ranging on the farm.
    Thanks for your interesting comment and for visiting.
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – October 25, 2007 @ 1:48 am

  3. Does this mean that your chickens are sick?
    I hope not.
    Good information though.

    Comment by chigiy – October 25, 2007 @ 3:12 am

  4. Hi Chigiy,
    Thanks for your concern. I am pleased to say that all my poultry are doing well. I currently have 39 birds to keep me busy. Although I have been rearing guinea fowl for 3 years now, it is still good to remind yourself of the signs of illness to look out for. I am always checking to make sure Hatty the hen is doing ok and if she looks out of sorts the first thing I do when I get back to the house is grab the poultry manual! Thankfully all are well.
    Thanks for your lovely comment and visit. Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – October 25, 2007 @ 5:53 am

  5. I have a hen which died, she had pinkish tint things in her droppings that looked like brain material, a spongy typpe substance, cone appeared bluish, Im treating hens now for coccidosis,but my question,my oldest hen died, now 2nd oldest sick, I am reading coocidiosis mainly effects younger hens, ,thanks debbieComment by debbie – July 12, 2008 @ 7:08 pm
  6. I found a reference that said they used to use milk (cow or goat) to treat coccidiosis ( So I tried it – giving milk to drink and putting it in their food. Within 2 days, our japanese bantam had recovered significantly and has continued improving. This was a relief because if you use the sulphur based medication, you can’t eat the eggs. I hope this helps, Shaun.Comment by Shaun – October 5, 2008 @ 2:40 am
  7. Hi Shaun,
    Thank you so much for this tip about using milk to treat coccidiosis. I will find this very useful as will my readers.
    Just to let you know that I have recently set up a forum which is free to join
    with categories about chickens, guinea fowl, ducks and quail which you may find interesting.
    Thanks again.
    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – October 5, 2008 @ 10:41 am

  8. why do chickens get coccidiosisComment by danielle – October 23, 2008 @ 10:33 pm
  9. Hi Danielle,
    Chickens get coccidiosis when they ingest the oocysts (a capsule with a thick wall protecting the parasite) that are in the droppings of infected birds. As chickens pick food from the ground they can often pick at the droppings in the litter. Oocysts can also be spread by wild birds, shoes, dust and insects, so it is not just the conditions that the chickens live in that causes the coccidia to be present.
    Coccidiosis usually affects younger birds because older birds build up an immunity to the disease once they have been exposed to it. Older chickens can be affected if they have not been exposed to coccidiosis.
    I have been told that giving milk to birds that have early signs of coccidiosis will help the birds but the birds can be treated with medication from a vet.
    I hope this information helps.
    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – October 26, 2008 @ 10:24 am

  10. Just had my favourite bird die of it and not wanting it to spread among the flock.
    I am now using wood shavings instead of straw beding to make it easier to clean out and hopefully stop the litter being wet on the floor.
    Have read that vinegar in the water helps prevent it, has anyone any experience with this?
    I read to use cider vinegar however people I know swear by ordinary vinegar to de-worm so maybe this would help against coccidiosis also?

    Comment by abi – November 3, 2008 @ 4:54 pm

  11. Hi Abi,
    I am sorry to hear about your favourite bird. I have also heard that vinegar can help. I have just googled about it and found this site that sells apple cider vinegar for poultry @ £7.99 for 2.5litres.
    It seems that lots of people on the web use apple cider vinegar for their poultry and game birds. They put one tablespoon per gallon of water. I have read that you need to use real apple cider vinegar.

    Hope that helps.

    Kind regards
    Sara @ farmingfriends

    Comment by Sara @ Farming Friends – November 3, 2008 @ 7:35 pm

6 thoughts on “Coccidiosis In Chickens”

  1. Found this online. Mine have gotten coccidiosis from the TONS of wild birds hanging around my chickens. I am now following this medication & instructions below. I got the medicine from PBS Animal Health that it right down the street from me but you can also order it online from their site. It’s good to keep this on hand no matter what!


    oldtimegator, the bottle of Amprol 9.6% I got from First State Veterinary Supply indicates a dosage as follows:

    Mix 9.5 cc/ml in a gallon of water and give for 5 – 7 days. For the treatment of coccidiosis.

  2. Hi Sad Chicken Owner,

    You can get medication to add to the water so you could put it in the chicks drinker. You can also get chick crumbs with a coccidiostat in the feed. I have read that cider vinegar in the water can help and milk can too but I have not tried these myself.
    I hope your chick recovers and grows well. Let me know how you get on.

    kind regards
    sara @ farmingfriends

  3. In science class at school we did a unit on embryology. one of the chicks that hatched has been diagnosed (by me) with coccidiosis. I have been doing research on the treatment of it but since it is not here at my house, it is very hard to treat! Do you know any way I can treat it at school? If not I could take it home, but I do want to treat it there… 🙁

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