No one likes dealing with worms in chickens, but if you spot worms in your chickens’ droppings it’s important to take action quickly and accurately. In this guide, we’ll cover the signs of worms, the different types of worms, how to diagnose worms, how to treat worms, and how to prevent worms. Plus, we’ll cover some natural remedies for treatment and over the counter medicine options too.
Signs of Worms in Chickens
The first step in getting rid of worms in chickens is recognizing the signs that your chickens may have worms. Keep an eye out for the following signs:
- Paleness of the comb and wattles: Worms can cause anemia in chickens, which can lead to pale, almost white combs and wattles.
- Diarrhea: Worms can cause chickens to have loose, watery stools.
- Weight loss: Worms can take up valuable nutrients from your chickens’ food, leading to weight loss.
- Lack of appetite: Worms may cause a decrease in appetite, leading to fewer eggs laid.
- Dull feathers: Worms can cause a lack of nutrition, which can lead to dull, brittle feathers.
- Irritability: Worms can cause irritation in the gut and intestines, leading to grumpiness in your chickens.
If you notice any of these signs of worms in chickens, it’s important to take action quickly.
Different Types of Worms in Chickens
There are a few different types of worms that you should be aware of. The most common types of worms are roundworms, threadworms, hairworms, and gape worms.
Roundworms, also known as ascites worms, are the most common type of worms. These worms are white, long and round, and can be found in the intestine and crop of chickens.
Threadworms, or capillary worms, are similar to roundworms but are much thinner and can be found in the intestines of chickens.
Hairworms are long and thin, like threadworms, and can be found in the intestines and crop of chickens.
Gape worms are the most dangerous type of worms in chickens. These worms are white and can be found in the trachea of chickens.
Diagnosing Worms in Chickens
If you suspect that your chickens have worms first off check their droppings. In fact most people realise the flock has a worm burden due to their unusual stools – this is usually the common roundworms. Gape worm is different in that you will notice you chicken gaping (stretching their neck and head shaking) as well as coughing or panting and wheezing. If your flock, or individual chicken, is very poorly it’s important to get a diagnosis from a veterinarian. Your vet can confirm whether your chickens have worms, and if so, can determine which type of worms they have. Your vet may also recommend testing for other parasites, as some parasites may look like worms but are actually different organisms.
Treating Worms in Chickens
Once you or your vet has confirmed that your chickens have worms, treatment can begin. The treatment will depend on the type of worms and the severity of the infestation.
The most common treatment for worms in the UK is Flubenvet which can be purchased either as a powder to mix into feed or as ready made layers pellets. Personally, we always buy the ready made-up pellets to avoid dosing issues. This will treat roundworms, hairworms, threadworms and gapeworms – Flubenvet is by far the best all round wormer for your flock. This can be given every 3 months as a preventative as well as using as a treatment for an active worm burden.
Preventing Worms in Chickens
The best way to get rid of worms is to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Here are some tips:
- Keep the coop clean: Make sure to clean out the coop regularly to remove any potential sources of worms.
- Feed your chickens a balanced diet: A balanced diet can help strengthen your chickens’ immune system and make them less susceptible to worms.
- Provide clean water: Keep the water dish clean and make sure your chickens have access to clean water at all times.
- Separate new chickens: When introducing new chickens to the flock, make sure to quarantine them for a few weeks to make sure they don’t bring any worms into the coop.
- Implement a regular worming schedule: Make sure to implement a regular worming schedule to prevent worms from taking hold in the coop.
By following these tips, you can help reduce the chances of your chickens getting worms.
In addition to dewormers and other medications, there are some natural remedies you can use. Here are some of the most effective natural remedies for treating worms in chickens:
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps to create an acidic environment in the gut, which can help to kill off the worms.
- Garlic: Garlic has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help to kill off the worms.
- Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds contain a compound called cucurbitacin, which can help to expel the worms from the intestines.
- Diatomaceous earth: Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from fossilized algae. When ingested, it can help to kill the worms and expel them from the body.
- Verm-X: Verm-X is a 100% natural pellet for free range chickens that helps maintain all areas of intestinal hygiene whilst being gentle on the hen’s gut and digestive system. When fed over a period of time it works to create an environment in the gut that is able to eradicate and expel any intestinal challenges, offering natural and daily protection.
These natural remedies for treating worms in chickens can be used in conjunction with medications to help get rid of worms in chickens.
Worms in chickens can be a nasty and uncomfortable problem, but the good news is that there are ways to get rid of worms in chickens. By recognizing the signs of worms, diagnosing the type of worms, and treating them with dewormers, natural remedies, and over-the-counter medications, you can help your chickens get rid of worms and keep them healthy.
If you suspect that your chickens have worms, make sure to take action quickly and accurately. With the right treatment plan, you can get rid of worms and keep your flock healthy.
If you ever spot worms in chicken poop, remember this guide to treating parasites and worms in chickens. Good luck!