I often receive calls from worried hen owners that have Googled their hen’s symptoms and come up with Coccidiosis.
Coccidiosis is included in the cocktail of vaccinations that your hen will have received before going into cages so a newly re-homed hen is unlikely to have it.
However, hens can pick up Coccidiosis from wild birds in your garden.
What is it? Coccidiosis is caused by a parasite known as a protozoa that lives in the lining of the gut. The damaged gut cells are unable to absorb nutrients from the food and as a result the birds cannot obtain the energy they need. Healthy hens are able to cope with a moderate burden of Coccidiosis, and older hens develop immunity.
A hen with Coccidiosis will normally have loose droppings, often with blood. She will have lost weight and may be fluffed up and reluctant to move. Often she will have gone off her food.
It is easy to diagnose by sending a sample of the droppings in a test kit for analysis available to buy from our online shop here. A specific anti-coccidial drug is needed to treat it and your vet will guide you on this. Remember to follow up with a probiotic to restore the normal gut bacteria.
Coccidiosis eggs like warm moist humid conditions. Try and keep the area around your feeders and drinkers dry and include disinfecting your feeders as part of your regular routine.
If you would like to ask Gaynor a hen health question please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Hen Central on 01884 860084.