How Coccidiosis Makes Your Chickens Sick [Infographic]

Life cycle of coccidiosis in chickensDo you need to protect your chickens against coccidiosis? And if so, how?

Coccidiosis, also called “bloody diarrhea” (eww!) is one of the few poultry diseases that give most chicken owners trouble, at least once in a while. It’s caused by coccidia, protozoan parasites with a complex life cycle: part of their life is spent inside the chicken and part of it is spent outside. The infographic shows the cycle and the danger points.

Oodles of Oocysts

In short, coccidia “oocysts” (think of them as eggs) are present in the droppings of infected chickens, and these droppings can infect other chickens, and also reinfect the same chicken. This last point is important, since coccidia can’t reproduce indefinitely inside the chicken: if the chicken stops ingesting oocysts, the infection stops.

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Your Chickens in May [Newsletter]

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter

News from the Farm

The Corvallis outdoor farmers’ market is already in full swing, and sales are brisk! In addition to pasture-raised chicken and free-range duck and chicken eggs, we have frozen turkey. A while ago we offered poultry by the piece as well as whole, and this is all doing well.

Other farmers have early strawberries, asparagus, all kinds of greens, potted plants, and all kinds of meat and cheese products.

Our early pullets and broilers are doing well on pasture, and we just got six weaner pigs, cute as buttons!

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Put Your Eggs in the Right Basket

Let’s quickly review the three basic types of containers used for collecting eggs: wire egg baskets, galvanized buckets, and plastic buckets, and why you’re probably using the wrong one.

Plastic Buckets

don't use plastic buckets when collecting eggs

Don’t collect eggs in plastic buckets.

You could probably find something worse than a plastic bucket, but I don’t know what it would be.

Plastic buckets have flat bottoms, allowing the eggs to roll around freely, cracking each other. The bottoms are solid, so if you acquire some rainwater, or some eggs break, you get a yucky pool at the bottom of the bucket, dirtying up all the eggs on the bottom row. This is especially bad if the eggs sit in the bucket for hours or overnight before being washed or packed.

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

5 Brooder Lamp Safety Tips

Sad to say, brooding baby chicks with heat lamps presents a fire hazard. How much of a fire hazard? That’s up to you. Here are tips for dialing down the risk.

1. Avoid self-disassembling clamp lights.

Unsafe clamp light

Cheap clamp lights are exactly wrong for brooder lights. The clamps are weak, the screw holding the swivel together tends to come undone, the sockets aren’t rated for 250-watt heat lamps, they don’t have heavy-duty cords … they’re an accident waiting to happen. Stay away.

2. Use a real brooder lamp.

A Good Brooder LampA high-quality brooder lamp has special features to make it safe for brooding:

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

Three Forgotten Chicken Coop Design Concepts

You can read about chicken coop design in a lot of places, but what does everyone fail to mention? Here are three chicken coop design concepts that have been pretty much forgotten:

1. Accessibility: If the chicken coop not tall enough to walk around in, it needs to be small enough that you can reach everything from outside

hoophouse chicken coop for broilers

One of our daily-move broiler pens, made from lightweight cattle panels bent into an arch and covered with tarps. Tall enough to stand inside, this is a convenient portable broiler house.

Many chicken coops violate this rule. In some of them, such as the pasture pen designs of Joel Salatin, you end up crawling across chicken poop on your hands and knees if you need to get at things in the back corners. In others, there’s simply no access at all!

The same rules apply for chicken runs: if you can’t walk around inside them, they need to be get-at-able in some other convenient way.

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.