Chicken Worming Guide
Poultry like most other animals can suffer from worms. As they are often kept outdoors they are always in contact with soil. Chickens and other poultry often feed from the ground which adds to the risk of picking up worms. Understanding the problem, knowing what to look out for and treating your poultry is something every chicken keeper will have to learn to ensure their chickens are happy and healthy.
What are chicken worms?
There are many types of worms that can be harmful to chickens and other poultry. Roundworms, Hairworms and Gapeworms are the most common. They live in the gut or respiratory tracts of the birds. They can be picked up from free ranging or even inside the coop. The most common way for the worms to spread are through the droppings of the chickens. Worms lay eggs inside the birds which are then passed through the bird. These dropping with eggs will then be exposed to other poultry and the nasty parasites spread. If the eggs hatch whist on the ground these can be eaten by other creatures such as an earthworm which will then be eaten by the chicken and the worms could then be released into the bird. This is a very serious problem considering each worm can lay thousands of eggs. Once the cycle begins it can soon be a big problem.
Photo by Chhandama
What are the symptoms of chicken worms?
Each type of worm will have a slightly different effect on poultry. Some of the most common and easy to spot signs of worms are; loss of weight, higher food consumption, other birds pecking at the vent, pale yolk colour, diarrhoea, laying less or smaller eggs and generally looking withdrawn. You can also treat for worm even though you do not find any signs of them. It is best practice to worm every quarter.
The best way to look out for worms is to take a closer look at the droppings, although this is only possible for the worms and not the eggs as they will be too small to see with the naked eye. Collecting the dropping is best done by placing some paper under the perch in the coop. Place the collected droppings in a jar and add water. The devolved droppings will the separate any worms to make them easier to spot.
How to diagnose worms in poultry?
Although you can buy worm counting kits that you can send away to be analysed, these are often more expensive that buying a bag of layers pellets with added Flubenvet which can be fed to the birds as a treatment. As mentioned above, you can worm your poultry every quarter even though they show no signs of having worms.
How to treat chicken worms?
This is a much easier job than most people think. The easiest and quickest way is to feed the chickens layers pellets with Flubenvet. This is a worm treatment with pretty much a 100% success rate. We recommend 1kg of pellets with Flubenvet per bird, the same as you would feed a standard pellet. This should be fed for 7 consecutive days. Whilst feeding the Flubenvet pellets all other feed and treats should be limited. Smaller breeds like Bantams won’t need the full 1kg dosage but should be matched to their usual eating amounts.
You can also mix your own feed with Flubenvet pre mixture which would be an advantage if your chickens or poultry can not eat a standard size pellets. Although this requires more work, keepers with a larger quantity of birds usually prefer to mix their own. If you are re homing ex battery hens then the chances are they will not be used to eating pellets, in this case mixing the Flubenvet with layers mash or crumble would be a good idea. Alternatively you can break up the pellets into a crumble, this can be done by hand or with a quick pulse in a food processor.
If you are looking for a natural way to worm your chickens then VermX could be the answer, it is a blend of herbs and spices that over time will get rid of any nasty parasites. For poultry that are on an organic diet this would be the best option. VermX can be fed all year round not only as a treatment but also as a prevention.
What chicken worming treatments are available?
Marriages layers pellets with Flubenvet is available in bags of 5kg, 10kg and 20kg.
Flubenvet pre mixture 60g 1% is also available to mix to your own feed.
Any product that contains Flubenvet needs to be prescribed by a qualified person. When you order with us at Farm And Pet Place online you will be prompted to answer some short questions after the payment has gone through. These details will be used to prescribe your order. Alternatively you can request that one of our qualified team give you a call to discuss the treatment.
All Flubenvet products have a meat withdrawal period of 7 days after treatment. There is no egg withdrawal period and they are perfectly safe to keep eating during the chicken worming period..
How to clean after chicken worming?
Once you have wormed your poultry and you are happy they have been dealt with you should thoroughly clean the coop and surrounding areas. Make sure that all the dropping are cleaned up and the bedding is renewed. Some worms can be tricky to get rid of and are able to survive on the ground for a while. Washing with disinfectant and good old elbow grease will ensure they will not return any time soon. We highly recommend using the supremely effective Stalosan F Disinfectant to clean the area after worming and regularly to help prevent re-occurrence of worms.
How to prevent chicken worms returning?
The best way to stop worms taking hold of your flock is to keep on top of the cleanliness and hygiene of the coop and surrounding areas. Making sure that droppings are cleaned up daily, bedding is changed regularly and feeding is done from feeders rather than the ground are the most obvious suggestions. Moving the coop onto fresh grass regularly is also a good idea. Avoid muddy areas and keep the grass short which will allow the sunlight to kill any eggs naturally.
Worming new birds that are being introduced to the flock as a precaution is beneficial especially if you do not know the background of the new birds. As a best practise you should worm your whole flock every quarter.
Introducing apple cider vinegar into the drinking water also has its own benefits, not just for preventing worms but also offers many other health benefits.
Verm-X products are a natural way to prevent worms and will also improve the general health of the birds.
Help with chicken worming?
If you need any assistance or advice with anything related to chicken worming then give us a call on 01492 542662 and our qualified staff will be more than happy to help.