Coccidiosis – Backyard Chickens’ Health and Care

Illnesses in chickens

What is Coccidiosis?

Coccidiosis is a common and economically significant parasitic disease of chickens. The disease affects the intestinal tract of the birds, causing diarrhoea, decreased feed intake, and weight loss. Understanding the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of coccidiosis is important for backyard chicken owners to maintain the health of their flocks.

Coccidiosis Symptoms

Chickens infected with coccidiosis may show a range of symptoms, including diarrhoea, blood in the poop, decreased feed intake, weight loss, and poor growth. Severely affected hens may also exhibit dehydration, depression, and weakness.

Coccidiosis Causes

Coccidiosis is caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Eimeria. The parasites multiply in the intestinal lining of chickens and cause tissue damage, leading to the symptoms of the disease. The parasites are commonly found in the environment and can be transmitted through contaminated food and water sources.

Coccidiosis Diagnosis

Diagnosing coccidiosis in chickens involves a combination of clinical signs and laboratory testing. Fecal samples can be examined for the presence of the parasite, and post-mortem examination can also be used to confirm a diagnosis.

Coccidiosis Treatment

Treatment for coccidiosis involves the use of anti-coccidial drugs, which can be administered in the feed or water. It is important to follow dosing instructions carefully.

Coccidiosis Prevention

Preventing coccidiosis in chickens involves implementing effective management practices, such as maintaining a clean and dry environment, providing adequate nutrition and hydration, and using appropriate biosecurity measures. Vaccines are also available to prevent coccidiosis infections in chickens.


Coccidiosis is a common parasitic disease of chickens that can have significant impacts on the health and productivity of poultry flocks. Implementing effective management practices and vaccination protocols can help prevent and control outbreaks of this disease, minimising its impact on the poultry industry.

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