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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My barred rock squirts a watery diarrhea every time she poops. It been going on for 2-3 months, I hate to say. There doesn’t seem to be anything else wrong with her besides she is small for her breed (5lbs) and lost weight during her molt in December that she still hasn’t regained. She has lots of energy and spends the day free-ranging, dust-bathing and keeps her fluff clean. I have one other barred rock who doesn’t have any of this diarrhea and weighs a good 6lb, so it doesn’t seem to be very contagious.

They have unlimited access to oregano growing in the yard, and recently I snuck more oregano into their oatmeal for a few days in case it was a parasite. I removed anything in the yard that traps rainwater and added apple cider vinegar to their fresh water supply and the oatmeal (a tsp of apple cider vinegar disappears in oatmeal as I found out). Didn’t seem to help. I ordered a fecal test kit so I can send a sample to a lab to check for parasites. What else can I try?

Thanks!
 

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I'll ask @dawg53 to weigh in. He's stayed up on this type of chicken problem.

There is not a natural remedy that works to remove existing internal parasites. So the oregano you're giving them really isn't doing anything at all.

Does she seem to be drinking more than usual? I would also up her protein for a while to see if that doesn't help her get over her molt a little faster. Freeze dried mealworms are about the easiest to give them as a treat.
 

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Give her layer feed and provide fresh water and stop all the other stuff you're giving her. Add plain boiled white rice to her feed to eat for several days, it will settle her innards. Make sure the cooked white rice has cooled before giving it to her to eat.
Be sure to send off a fecal sample to the lab.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks @dawg53 - they always have access to their regular layer feed and grit but I’ll offer a little boiled white rice every day and maybe some dried grubs per @robin416 comment. It’s been raining a lot in Northern California so they are getting a few earthworms in the yard too. I’ll send the fecal sample in when I get that kit, fingers crossed it’s not parasites but always good to know what you’re dealing with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Following up on the chicken diarrhea issue - the rice didn’t help, sent in the fecal parasite sample today so should find out by Tues. our other chicken started having intermittent diarrhea but seems healthy and is still laying. I’m wondering if it could be coccidosis and am going to search for some Corid powder at our nearest feed store until more arrives by Amazon Tuesday. Not sure it can help anymore though. Our most affected chicken is starting to go down, we are keeping her in a box in our house at night because she has lost so much weight she is having trouble keeping warm outside. Fingers crossed.
 

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Just for your information: If there are a few cocci oocysts on the microscopic slide, it doesnt mean there is a cocci infection, since all birds have the protozoa to begin with. However, if the microscopic slide is loaded with cocci oocysts, that means there is a problem and the bird needs to be treated.
Please let us know the test results whether it's cocci or worms or both.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Some good news, first the fecal test came back negative for worms.
Second, the most affected hen is doing better and the second hen's diarrhea cleared up. On Sunday, I found some Corid liquid amprolium at our local feed supply. We started the barred rocks on the Corid Sunday night. Come Monday, instead of the overnight miracle we were (unreasonably) hoping for, the sick hen looked the worst yet. For the first time, she was looking like the photos of coccidiosis hens I’d seen online - hunched and puffed with tail down, pale (pink) feet and pale comb. We took her inside throughout the day to rest and put her under a chick brooder to keep her warm. But Tuesday, day 2 of Corid treatment, she seemed to turn a corner. Today, Weds, she is more active, holding her tail high again, and seems to be recovering. The challenge is going to be fattening her up again - she is down to just 3.0 lbs from 5.0lb. I think she will make it though.

I wonder if the abnormally wet weather in California (which is ideal for coccidiosis multiplying in the soil) coupled with the stress of molting and unusually cold temps, COVID and avian flus and everything else going around right now (we had COVID in our household in December and in theory chickens can get it too), coupled with never having vaccinated or giving my chickens protection against coccidosis before (probably accounts for their smaller stature) may have resulted in coccidiosis infection. They never had bloody stools though, just diarrhea, which threw me off until I read not all strains of coccidosis will cause bloody stools.

What I decided to do differently to prevent this happening again - let me know your thoughts as well...
1. If it is extremely rainy/wet during the chickens molt time (or any other stressor + ideal conditions for coccidiosis to multiply in the soil) I would prophylactically treat with Corid/amprolium.
2. 35F is too cold outside when chickens are molting. Next time, I plan to buy chicks hatched in Jan/Feb instead of hatched in May, as I've heard they will molt earlier in the winter (not in December like my chickens did the past 2 years). Is that a thing? Also, I'm installing an overhead IR radiant heater over the chickens' roost - we've been getting overnight lows in the 30s (though it never freezes here).

Thanks for the advice & thoughts!
 

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Did the vet test for cocci in the float test? Was that negative or positive? That would have confirmed it.

Personally, I would not treat unless they're showing symptoms. You don't want to overuse medications or throw money out the window. Generally, healthy adult chickens develop an immunity to whatever coccidia are in their environment, so just because it might be rainy and wet doesn't mean they're going to get it. If it was in fact Coccidiosis they had, it could have been brought in on your boots, by wild birds, or a stroke of bad luck. Treating just because the conditions are "right" won't do anything.

35 is not too cold for molting chickens as long as they have adequate shelter. Don't install a heater. I live in ND, and my chickens don't get heat unless the temps start to dip into the negatives, and that's only because my coop is a little too big for the number of chickens I have so they're body heat doesn't always keep it warm in extreme temps. Adult chickens are more than capable of keeping themselves warm. Cocci like warmth and wet, so you would only be helping the parasites, anyway. That's why coccidiosis is such a huge killer of baby chicks in the brooder. Warmth and wet. I have groups of chickens that were hatched at the same time and molt at different times. I have one that's molting right now in the coldest part of our winter, some that molted earlier in the fall, and one that will probably start molting this spring. They don't follow a schedule, it seems.

The best thing you can do to prevent coccidiosis is keep your coop and run as clean and dry as possible, provide plenty of fresh clean water, and keep them on a balanced diet. Start new chicks on a medicated feed OR have them vaccinated as chicks. Avoid overcrowding. Practice good biosecurity.
 

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You don't want to use Corid without the illness being present. It blocks the absorption of Vitamin K that Cocci need to thrive. Unless something else is not right they shouldn't have continued issues with Cocci. Adult birds can usually deal with any cocci in their systems without intervention.

35 is not cold. Remember, they're wearing what they stuff in coats for warmth. Hitting zero is cold.

Too wet is not normal for you so you shouldn't have to deal with it on a regular basis. I just got another three inches of rain here. I'm used to the wet and the extra rain. None of my birds are having a problem with it. They've also experienced temps in the low teens this Winter without issue.

It's a general rule of thumb they molt in the fall but it not written in stone. I had birds molt in the Spring and Summer.

I'm surprised they did not report seeing cocci. You were looking for an answer on internal parasites. Cocci is an internal parasite.
 
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