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Coccidia

This parasitic infection of the intestines can lead to intestinal damage and, in severe infestations, death of birds. More commonly, poor control of sub-clinical infection reduces feed conversion, or leaves pullets with chronic irreversible intestinal damage. Such flocks may be uneven or underweight at housing, and may not perform to their full potential in lay.

Currently, effective control is achieved with drug treatments in feed that suppress oocyst output. These may involve the use of ionophores or chemicals on a step-down program to ensure immunity in pullets. An alternative to anti-coccidial drug treatments is using a live vaccine. Live coccidial vaccines are available that can be administered by spray in the hatchery or by feed or water application the first few days in the brooder house. All treatment/vaccination strategies should be supported with effective biosecurity. The use of a disinfectant with proven efficacy against coccidial oocysts will reduce challenge pressure. Maintenance of good dry litter will reduce oocyst build up. 

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