Why cocci is a big prob­lem Some Starter feeds con­tain oregano which helps to pro­tect the gut

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

COC­CID­IO­SIS is a com­mon world­wide disease caused by a gut par­a­site (coc­cidia, col­lo­qui­ally known as ‘cocci’, pro­nounced ‘cocksy’) which can cause se­vere, of­ten fa­tal, dam­age to the gut lin­ing and is most com­mon in young birds as they have no im­mu­nity. How­ever, birds of any age can be af­fected (see page 62).

There are many species of coc­cidia and they tend to be host-spe­cific – it’s im­por­tant to know the avian and mam­malian species do not cross in­fect. Cocci can be a prob­lem in calves which is why many calf meals are med­i­cated in the same way as Chick Starter, but it is a dif­fer­ent species of coc­cidia to those which af­fect chick­ens. Tur­keys have a cou­ple of species spe­cific to them as well.

There are at least six species which can cause sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems in chick­ens. Be­cause it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to pro­tect birds from be­ing in­fected with coc­cid­io­sis, there are sev­eral cour­ses of ac­tion you can un­der­take to min­imise loss. • PRO­VIDE the chick with med­i­cated feed or wa­ter, at a level to pre­vent the coc­cidia tak­ing a hold so as to cause disease – the treat­ment level is pro­gres­sively re­duced over a num­ber of weeks to al­low slight leak­age of in­fec­tive or­gan­isms which trigger the im­mune re­sponse. • EN­SURE chicks are get­ting the full amount of med­i­cated feed per chick. Do not di­lute with grain, scraps or free range too soon or the chicks will not get enough med­i­ca­tion to cover any break­through in­fec­tion. Most good qual­ity com­mer­cial Chick Starter feeds you can buy will con­tain a low level of coc­cid­io­sis med­i­ca­tion (this will be noted on the bag). Many also in­clude oregano which has been shown to pro­tect the gut. • TRY to pro­vide con­di­tions which pre­vent the oocysts (eggs) from de­vel­op­ing in the lit­ter. Hot and wet con­di­tions, eg a drinker un­der a brooder lamp, must be avoided. Raise the drinker up on a solid plat­form above the lit­ter or sit on a grid which al­lows the drips to fall on to a floor or tray the chicks can­not reach. Non-spill drinkers or nip­ples are prefer­able. • HAVE a treat­ment in your first aid kit as an in­sur­ance, as at the first sign of cocci the whole flock needs to be treated. You can­not wait half a day to get med­i­ca­tion as it can kill very quickly. Cox­iprol (avail­able with­out a pre­scrip­tion) and Bay­cox (which does need one) are ex­cel­lent treat­ments. • VAC­CI­NA­TION of the young chick with at­ten­u­ated (made weaker) strains of sev­eral coc­cid­ian species trig­gers an im­mune re­sponse in the bird to the in­va­sion of weak­ened strains be­fore it might en­counter a wild field strain. How­ever, this is an ex­pen­sive op­tion, and as noted on page 60, you will then have to con­tinue vac­ci­na­tions for­ever.

Decades ago, milk was used as a ‘flush’ for young birds suf­fer­ing from coc­cid­io­sis. Sci­en­tists have found that it is not a cure, but we do know it can help (but not al­ways!) if you time it per­fectly (dif­fi­cult). Chick­ens are lac­tose-in­tol­er­ant; when given milk, their kid­neys ex­crete large amounts of fluid, sweep­ing the gut con­tents out and

caus­ing di­ar­rhoea in the chick which cleans out most of the coc­cidia be­fore they can em­bed in the gut wall. How­ever, this is nowhere near as ef­fec­tive as pre­ven­ta­tive steps or med­i­ca­tions, and get­ting the tim­ing right is very dif­fi­cult to do. It’s also po­ten­tially harm­ful to the chick for other rea­sons (nu­tri­tion, hy­dra­tion).

Chicks do get a cer­tain amount of ma­ter­nal im­mu­nity but this wanes as they YOU MAY spot drop­pings con­tain­ing bright red blood, usu­ally caused by Eime­ria tenella and this is the symp­tom most peo­ple as­so­ciate with cocci, but it’s by no means the symp­tom of all types.

Typ­i­cally your first clue will be the ‘crook chook’ stance: stand­ing alone, feath­ers fluffed up, eyes closed, not in­clined to eat or drink and the bird will usu­ally also have cold feet.

Once this stage is reached it will have lost weight and is likely to die, although some TLC and in­di­vid­ual dosage of med­i­ca­tion might pull them through.

The dif­fer­ent species can af­fect dif­fer­ent parts of the gut and even at dif­fer­ent times of the bird’s life. One species ( Eime­ria ac­ervulina) can cause a chronic wast­ing and a white di­ar­rhoea in much older birds. A par­tic­u­larly se­vere type, Eime­ria neca­trix, can cause very sud­den deaths with few symp­toms. If you are do­ing a post-mortem, a very swollen gut, of­ten with the ap­pear­ance of a pep­pered sausage, would in­di­cate coc­cid­io­sis from this species.

Wendy Ma­joor loves chick­ens. The long-time poul­try en­thu­si­ast breeds flocks of colour­ful her­itage birds on her block at Pukekohe.

Her ex­per­tise will be a bonus for cus­tomers who come to her new Chook Manor store just south of Auck­land.

A North Is­land-based Chook Manor fran­chise is the cul­mi­na­tion of al­most 10 years of hard work for the com­pany’s founders, Greg and Ch­eryl Boyle. Their thriv­ing busi­ness is based in Christchurch, and they wanted to be able to of­fer a more eco­nomic op­tion for North Is­land cus­tomers says Greg.

“When you or­der off the Chook Manor web­site, if you’re in the North Is­land it will be Wendy who will take care of you. It’s faster and more cost-ef­fec­tive for our cus­tomers: Wendy will be able to get prod­ucts to Auck­land cus­tomers for just $6 freight, rather than $25 if we send it.”

Both the Chook Manor stores stock We­ston Milling feed, a wide range of in­cu­ba­tors from Brin­sea, Black Chick, and Eg­gtech, and a wide range of health care prod­ucts, from worm­ers to red mite con­trol, and or­ganic op­tions in­clud­ing Smite Or­ganic prod­ucts.

Their big­gest seller is the Feed-o-matic trea­dle feed­ers in 5kg, 12kg and 20kg sizes, a safe, al­most silent way to feed your flock, and keep it out of reach of pests.

in a large pot in our green­house. We’re push­ing the cli­matic limits of this warmth-lov­ing plant; ear­lier plants died when I put them di­rectly into green­house soil. I’ll use a much big­ger pot and put in more plants next divi­sion time be­cause it seems we can use more than the one plant.

Lemon­grass hails from Asian coun­tries and is an eas­ily-grown and much-used kitchen ad­di­tion. It also looks lovely as it moves in the breeze and the soft green leaves re­lease a great scent as you brush past them.

Lemon­grass is eas­ily grown from divi­sion in spring or sum­mer. It’s a mat­ter of tak­ing off two or three outer stems in­clud­ing the roots and trim­ming off the green­ery, then plant­ing into a well-ma­nured soil in a frost-free, full sun, shel­tered place. Keep the plants well-wa­tered in sum­mer and main­tain fer­til­ity with com­post and liq­uid fer­tiliser. In late win­ter, if the fo­liage hasn’t died down, it can be cut back and used as a good weed-free mulch for the plant. New growth will soon come away.

The leaves can be used to make a fra­grant tea (see page 66), and the stems are an in­te­gral part of Asian cook­ing, used when they are thicker than an av­er­age fin­ger. Har­vest from the outer stems and peel off the tougher outer layer be­fore use.

Why I chose rush hour to drive from east to west Christchurch to buy mus­tard greens, I can’t imag­ine. It was 25 fraz­zled, traf­fic-clogged min­utes and it was with min­utes to spare that I zoomed into the Asian gro­cery shop and scanned the vege shelves for the magic in­gre­di­ent I was after.

Half the veg­eta­bles were not named, as reg­u­lars queu­ing at the counter must know their veg­eta­bles by sight. Not me. Pak choi looked fa­mil­iar but noth­ing else – I only knew what mus­tard should taste like.

I spot­ted bunches of large, rough-look­ing, slightly ser­rated leaves, which bore a re­sem­blance to the baby mus­tards in my gar­den. Were they mus­tard leaves? Every­one in the store was flat out so I sneaked a piece of tat­tered leaf off the side and bit into it.

Def­i­nitely mus­tard and it had a kick! Ten min­utes later, twid­dling thumbs at a long traf­fic light, the af­ter­taste was still re­ver­ber­at­ing around my mouth, bright green, fresh, and mus­tardy. No chance of fall­ing asleep on the long road home. Why has it has taken us this long to wake up to mus­tard’s pos­si­bil­i­ties? One web­site I found quoted a sur­vey say­ing mus­tards (va­ri­eties of Bras­sica juncea) were the most feared veg­etable. I was both ex­cited and ap­pre­hen­sive about what the cook could do with them. I was aware it could go badly wrong.

It seems the key to suc­cess is just the right amount of cook­ing, com­bined with the right flavours that en­hance the taste and coun­ter­act the pun­gency.

Mus­tards go well with stronger flavours such as duck, sal­mon, ba­con, ham, sesame oil, gin­ger, cumin, gar­lic, onion, tomato, curry, soy sauce, pro­sciutto, toasted nuts and sharp cheeses. In Asian cook­ing, tamarind, sake, rice wine vine­gar, gin­ger and chill­ies are com­mon com­ple­ments. In­clud­ing olive oil and nuts helps to make the rich sup­ply of an­tiox­i­dants and vi­ta­mins in mus­tards more eas­ily ab­sorbed. Cook­ing with mus­tards is good for your health. They have ex­tremely high lev­els of the im­mune-boost­ing vi­ta­mins A and C, are low in calo­ries, high in fi­bre and vi­ta­min K, and have good lev­els of es­sen­tial min­er­als in­clud­ing cal­cium, mag­ne­sium, zinc, se­le­nium and man­ganese.

They are also high in chloro­phyll, which is be­lieved to pull en­vi­ron­men­tal tox­ins from the blood, and neu­tralise heavy me­tals, chem­i­cals and pes­ti­cides in the body. In­ter­est­ingly, mus­tard plants have been used ef­fec­tively to re­move heavy me­tals, such as cad­mium, from soils.

The rich sup­ply of flavonoids in mus­tards (in­doles, sul­foraphane, Fresh mus­tard leaves are deep green and broad with a flat sur­face, and edges which may be may be toothed, frilly or lacy, de­pend­ing on the va­ri­ety. Gen­er­ally mus­tard leaves are rougher than other Ori­en­tal bras­si­cas and more pun­gent.

The de­gree of pep­per­i­ness varies enor­mously with va­ri­ety, age of leaf, grow­ing con­di­tions and even part of the plant. Stems can be mild and leaves hot, and vice versa. Small leaves are milder and more suited for sal­ads than larger leaves, although these can be shred­ded to add ex­tra ‘zing.’

I sprin­kle a few mus­tards in my mesclun mixes in au­tumn and spring to liven up our sal­ads and add in­ter­est­ing tex­tures and colours.

Tex­tures range from bub­bly, savoyed types to the del­i­cately fringed, curly types, of which my favourite is one called Lime Streaks. We grow this lit­tle beauty in our mesclun mix year-round for its golden, lacy leaves and mild, pep­pery bite. It is heat-tol­er­ant and more bolt-re­sis­tant for sum­mer use, with a pleas­ant, mild mus­tard flavour. It also re­grows faster than other va­ri­eties, which are quite slow.

Hav­ing said that, it was the colour, rather than the flavour of mus­tards, that first at­tracted me. I was in­dulging my dan­ger­ous hobby of brows­ing seed cat­a­logues and spot­ted the vi­brant pur­ple and ma­roon red leaves.

They shouted “Plant me! I’ll cheer

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