How to Treat Colibacillosis in Poultry Birds

Colibacillosis in Poultry Birds is always a point of debate in the poultry sector. Avian Colibacillosis is one of the most difficult to diagnose bacterial diseases in poultry birds. Chickens of all ages are susceptible to colibacillosis, but young birds are more frequently and more severely affected, including developing embryos.

If your birds are infected with Colibacillosis then you are at the right place. Here we will give you a complete guide on Avian Colibacillosis. This article will help you a lot if you are really serious about your bird’s health status. So let’s get into the detail.

What is Avian Colibacillosis?

Avian Colibacillosis refers to any localized or systemic infection caused partly or entirely by avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC), which includes several clinical disease manifestations.

Other names: Escherichia Coli Infection, Avian Colibacillosis, Coliform Infection

Causes of Avian Colibacillosis:

The cause of avian colibacillosis is Escherichia coli (APEC), which includes several clinical disease manifestations.

Manifestations of E. coli infection in chickens:


Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection resulting in inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue of birds, typically seen in the lower abdomen and upper legs.


Septicemia, also known as blood poisoning, occurs when E. coli has invaded the chicken’s bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the infection quickly spreads throughout the body. It is a serious, life-threatening condition that is associated with acute onset of very generalized clinical signs of sickness, such as listlessness, depression, weakness, and loss of appetite.


Omphalitis, also known as yolk sac infection, is an infectious, non-contagious, common condition affecting the naval of newly hatched chicks. It is caused by invasion by several bacterial, with one of the most common being E. coli.

Egg peritonitis:

Egg peritonitis, salpingitis, and oophoritis are frequently caused by E. coli, which ascended from the cloaca or by imprint metastases from infected air sacs. Affected hens may have a history of egg binding, usually within the past six months.


Also referred to as Hjaerre’s disease, a rare form of colibacillosis that occurs sporadically. Coligranulomas are thought to occur secondary, following damage to the intestinal mucosa by other agents. It is thought that the galactans found in the E. coli capsule stimulate the granulomatous reaction.

How is Avian Colibacillosis Transmitted?

Large numbers of E coli are maintained in the poultry house environment through fecal contamination. Initial exposure to APEC may occur in the hatchery from infected or contaminated eggs. The bacterial portal of entry into birds varies but can include the respiratory tract, skin trauma, cloaca, damaged intestinal mucosa, and navel.

From these entry sites, E coli can extend locally or gain access to the bloodstream to cause colisepticemia, which may progress from acute septicemia to death. Infection can also extend to serosal surfaces to cause subacute polyserositis and chronic granulomatous inflammation.

Symptoms of Collibacillosis in Poultry Birds :

Symptoms of Collibacillosis in Poultry Birds are usually nonspecific and vary depending on the manifestation of the infection. The severity varies depending on the age of the bird, duration of infection. The most obvious signs are:

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Poor growth
  • Pasted vent
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Droopy head
Collibacillosis in Poultry Birds

Pasted Vent

Collibacillosis in Poultry Birds

Droopy Head


How to Diagnose Collibacillosis in Poultry Birds :

A well-renowned pathologist said,

Forget the Treatment, Diagnosis is everything

Usually, in every disease, the diagnostic protocols revolve around clinical signs and symptoms and further confirmation by laboratory tests. In the same way, to diagnose Colibacillosis, you have to check the following mentioned things:

  1. Clinical signs and symptoms
  2. Gross lesions  include cranial and skin hemorrhages
  3. Fluorescent antibody and immunohistochemical methods for cytoplasmic inclusion bodies
  4. Pathogenicity of isolates is established using multiplex PCR panels 

Treatment of Collibacillosis in Poultry Birds :

Antibiotics that are administered orally or in the drinking water may be effective in treating mild E. coli infections of just the intestinal mucosa. Most E. coli infections require parenteral antibiotics for successful treatment.

The drug selected needs to be able to penetrate the target tissues or granulomas. Most E. coli strains are resistant to many commonly sold antibiotics for chickens, including cephradine, tetracyclines, chloramphenicol, aminoglycosides, beta-lactam antibiotics, and sulfonamides.

Name of drugDose rate
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
2 g/kg feed; Significantly reduced coliform and E. coli counts in broiler chickens.
Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
5 mg/kg feed; improves hematological and serum biochemical adverse effects caused by E. coli infection

Neem (Azadirachta indica) leaf extract

10% of the diet; enhanced the humoral as well as cellular immune responses attributed to its immunomodulatory property in experimentally E. coli infected broiler chickens.

Schisandra Chinensis

1-2% of the diet; Can be a potential agent to treat inflammation caused by avian colibacillosis

Yucca (Yucca schidigera) extract

120  mg/kg; reduced the proliferation of Escherichia coli in laying hens.

Best Trusted Products used by Veterinary Doctors for Coliform Infection in Poultry Birds:

Echinacea Extract Powder

Yucca Pure Supplement

Oregano Spirits Extract

Schisandra Extract

Organic Neem Leaf Powder

Healthy Gut Probiotics for Chickens & Poultry

How to Prevent Collibacillosis in Poultry Birds:

If you adopt the below mentioned preventive measures then it will keep your bird flock free from coliform infection.

  • Protect birds, especially young chicks from cold weather Good husbandry practices
  • Feeding a diet high in antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Pomegranate (Punica granatum)- Showed potential benefit as an intestine astringent to relieve diarrhea and enteritis in chickens.


Colibacillosis in Poultry Birds is a major cause of morbidity, mortality, and economic loss for all types of poultry worldwide. Control of colibacillosis is problematic due to widespread antibiotic resistance among APEC, restrictions on the use of antimicrobial agents in poultry, and lack of vaccines to provide protection against all types of APEC causing colibacillosis.

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