CLUCK, CLUCK, CLUCK!!!
Or should I say, SQUIRT, SQUIRT, SQUIRT! LOL OK that's mean... anyhoo, Coccidosis is what this poor girl, pictured above, has, I am sorry to report. (Once again, I feel like a bad owner to one of my beloved pets.)
According to Wikipedia, which is not the most reliable source for you kids doing any research projects, Coccidiosis is "the disease caused by Coccidian infection. It is a disease of the intestinal tract of animals caused by Coccidian protozoa." So far in my experience of watching this girl poo, it seems a lot like the human stomach virus. Except she isn't puking, but has a case of the runs. Which we all know can be deadly if left untreated.
How did I know she had a case of Coccidiosis? Well, in the beginning I didn't. I noticed this bird, one of my Speckled Sussex, laying around Kennel Bar one day. She was laying down, half on her side and when she did get up, she walked hunched over with her wings out a bit. She wouldn't venture very far before she'd slump back down again. It was super easy to catch her, another indicator something was wrong.
I decided to isolate her in the cat carrier first, just in case she had something that might infect my other birds. Next I thought maybe she was egg bound or even worse, have had an egg break inside her. This thought came to my mind first because when I picked her up the first time, some yellow stuff that looked a lot like an egg yolk came out of her butt., well technically, her vent. I was hoping for just a lodged egg, since if you can catch a stuck egg and help the poor girl out, it is less deadly.
A chicken can get egg bound when she can't pass an egg, if the egg is too big, she's stressed out or any other number of reasons. You can check to see if there is an egg in the vent.
How do you do this??? The only way is to stick your finger inside the vent. Apparently, if an egg is in there, you'll know.
So of course, you all know what I did...
Yes, I put on a pair of stolen rubber gloves and stuck my finger up her butt. I didn't feel anything...unless I didn't go in far enough, but I don't know how far is too far. I didn't want to hurt her. I also thought perhaps she was constipated...either way, a warm bath would help her relax her back end and I could maybe find the problem.
To help a chicken pass an egg you can submerge them in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes.
Here she is enjoying her bath. I asked her if she wanted a book to read, but she said she wouldn't enjoy the trash novels that I like...
She got a little self-conscience when Dan got home, so I had to hold her in place:
I did this twice that day, and after each "bath" she pooped A LOT but still acted the same. I even repeated her cavity search and still felt nothing. That evening I was going to keep her in the cat carrier for observation, but when I checked on her for the last time, low and behold there was an egg! I felt relieved and figured she was egg bound that day and would be good as new. Hot dog! I had saved her life! I let her back in with the rest of the flock, confident she was OK.
The next morning she was behaving just as she was the day before. My elation sank. After reading Google and getting nowhere fast, I used my ace in hole and put a phone call into Gene Debruin. Gene is an animal nutritionist and if you ever have an animal-related problem you call Gene...because the saying around here is, "Gene knows everything." (He helped me the day the chicks got pasty butt.)
After relaying her symptoms, Gene said she was most likely suffering from Coccidiosis. We were to isolate her and give her Amprolium in her drinking water. If we caught it early enough, she would be fine. If not, death is the most likely outcome. I had gotten Amprolium and treated the chicks with pasty butt, so thankfully I already had a big bag of it. I was actually debating just giving her that anyway, but it's always good to double check. Gene also said that usually when a chicken acts weird, you can pretty much bet Coccidosis is the problem.
Good to know.
I learned after some research that Coccidosis destroys cells in the intestine. The protozoa are passed through eggs in poo and this usually affects younger birds in warmer months. By the 8th or 9th day, the bird is either recovered or dead, where death usually occurs around day 4 to 6.
Today is day 4...she was still looking good, to my eyes, tonight before I sat here to write this. Please pray my little cluckie gets better! She is more comfortable living solo in Brooder 2.0, which I'm thankful we kept. It's a good large, safe place she can hopefully recover.
Saturday there will be extensive coop and kennel cleaning. Not only to kill any protozoa that may be lingering, but it needs it anyway.
...cluck... cluck... cluck...
"Coccidiosis." Wikipedia. 2012. 6 Sept. 2012. www.wikipedia.com
Hanson, J.A. (BSC., D.V.M.) & Kennedy, Murray, J. (P.H.D.). "Coccidiosis in Chickens." Alberta Agriculture. 6 Sept. 2012. www.millerhatcheries.com