Coccidia is almost universally present in poultry raising operations. A decreased growth rate, high percentage of visibly sick birds, severe diarrhea, high mortality, and finally depressed feed and water consumption all describe coccidiosis. So what exactly is coccidiosis? Coccidiosis is a single celled intracellular parasite that has one purpose, to invade living cells and then kill them. They invade the cells that line the intestinal tract where they then reproduce until it is excreted in the feces in the form of an Oocyst. This “cocci” form through ingestion can then infect other birds in the flock causing the cycle to repeat itself. In order to control coccidiosis, a number of medications have been approved worldwide, but unfortunately limited in the United States.
With this though, resistance or reduced sensitivity to some medications is increasing and no new anticoccidial compounds are know to be under development. Cocci control may be accomplished through the use of lonphores, chemicals and immunity. Anticoccidials are given in the feed to prevent disease and the economic loss associated with infection. Be wary, continuous use of anticoccidial drugs promotes the emergence of drug-resistant strains of coccidian. Various programs can be used in attempt to slow or stop selection of resistance.
Producers may use one anticoccidial continuously through succeeding flocks, rotate anticoccidials every four to six months or change anticoccidials during a single grow out period. And finally, no matter what medication/rotation you should choose for operation, part of the overall management plan is a solid coccidia control plan.
MacFarlane Pheasants, Inc.