Homesteaders Need To Know About Coccidiosis

Listen To The Podcast

In this podcast episode, I discuss the dreaded coccidiosis which is a common problem among homesteaders raising livestock. I talk about what coccidiosis is and how to prevent and treat it. 


Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian or a doctor and what I share in this post is knowledge gained through my own research and personal experience and should be taken as such. Please do your own research and/or consult a doctor or veterinarian for answers concerning your health or the health of your animals.


Homestead Updates:

  • Making wine racks and wall shelves out of pallets for Christmas presents.
  • Been dealing with a slight rodent infestation.
  • Bartering rabbit breeding stock for other meat.
  • Might have killed an apple tree…ugh!
  • Podcast Trumps Blog Going Forward!

Homesteading Relevant News:

Chattanooga Times Free Press – Gateway to a better future is the lure of sustainable living


Hangin’ Out on the Homestead Front Porch:

No group question this week but I will encourage you to join our group. It is a closed group but all you have to do to join is ask and answer a couple of questions to be a part of this great community.


Main Topic Of Discussion:

Homesteaders Need To Know About Coccidiosis


Why This Episode?


Anne Marie’s Question – The parasite coccidiosis has been a huge obstacle to overcome on my homestead. I️ get lots of conflicting info on it from my research. I️ might give up raising Rabbits because of it. Chickens have also been affected and now they are telling me my dog could get it? I️ would love to have a plan moving forward. I️ am an urban homesteader so have very limited space. This parasite might defeat me!


My Experience with Coccidiosis

A wake-up call to the realities of raising livestock. I discuss this in detail in the podcast episode.


What Is Coccidiosis?

It is the infection caused by coccidia which is microscopic, spore-forming, single-celled parasites. These parasites must live and reproduce within an animal cell. Coccidian parasites infect the intestinal tracts of animals.


What Can Get It?

There are many different species of coccidia that can infect different animals but Coccidia can infect all mammals, some birds, some fish, some reptiles, and some amphibians. Yes, that means even humans can get it, humans generally become infected by eating undercooked meat but can contract the infection by poor hygiene when handling cat waste.


How Do You Know Your Animal Has It?

Coccidia infection can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and nervous system effects and changes to behavior, and may lead to death.


How Is It Transmitted?

Infected animals spread spores in their stool. When another animal passes over the location where the feces were deposited, they may pick up the spores, which they then ingest when grooming themselves. The spores may also be ingested by mice; when another animal eats the mouse it becomes infected.


How To Treat It Conventionally

Coccidiosis is most commonly treated through the administration of coccidiostats, a group of medications that stop coccidia from reproducing. In dogs and cats, the most commonly administered coccidiostat is sulfa-based antibiotics. Once reproduction stops, the animal can usually recover on its own, a process that can take a few weeks, depending on the severity of the infection and the strength of the animal’s immune system.


How To Treat It Naturally


Apple Cider Vinegar

One tablespoon per 32 oz. water bottle is sufficient, but you may add as much as you want as long as your rabbits will still drink.


Blackberry Leaves

Fresh or dried this is a powerful anti-diarrhea herb for rabbits and in many cases, prolonged loose stools are the real reason your rabbit will lose the battle with coccidia.


Clean Environment

Clean cages, feeders, and water bowls with a bleach or vinegar solution to kill any trace of the parasite in their living environment and prevent the spread.


How To Prevent It


Raise rabbits separated in clean wire cages.

Wire cages are designed to let their waste fall through the floor. Many people worry that the wire bottoms hurt their feet but if the wire is close enough together it doesn’t bother them, 1/2″ spaced hardware cloth is ideal for cage bottoms.


On the ground move them regularly in a tractor avoiding waste from other animals.

If you’re dead set against putting your rabbits in cages then a mobile rabbit tractor is another option. These will give your rabbits fresh grass and you can move them daily to limit their exposure to parasites.


Avoid permanent rabbit colony setups.

It sounds like a pleasant existence for a rabbit, having a permanent home with lots of open space, spending your days playing with your fellow rabbits but this is a breeding ground for coccidia parasites and will more than likely make raising rabbits a nightmare. In my opinion, this option only works if you are going to treat all your rabbits with conventional medicines. 


Boost immune system with a good diet.

Just like any living thing, a good diet makes for a strong immune system which can help ward off any infection. Giving your rabbits a balanced healthy diet will make them stronger, healthier, and happier.


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