Originally Posted by SusanD
I agree it might be worth having them fecal sampled to see if they need worm medicine
Is deworming something that has to be periodically to done to keep chickens healthy? I was hoping that we would never have to do it. The reason being that I had this conversation with my mother, and she said that she would never eat another egg from them if we did (same thing for antibiotics). So, I think that with my Mom's fears, we might be looking at rehoming them if we did have to give them medicine. However, I'm not sure how realistic it is to think that we can get by without it forever.
Susan, worming, like many other aspects of chicken keeping is a personal decision. There is no one right way to do it. Any one who tells you that their way is the only way, is not looking at the whole picture. Some folks worm their birds on a self chosen schedule, which includes a withdrawal time depending on the medication used. Other folks choose to wait, and either have a fecal float test determine that their birds have a worm load, or they wait till they see signs of worms in the chicken's feces. Then they worm their flocks. Other folks use any number of natural remedies which may include garlic, pumpkin seeds, and small amounts of worm wood, as well as any number of natural plants/herbs that are reputed to be anti-helminthics. Most of these folks might mix up a potion several times/year, or might use them at first sign of worms. Some folks just keep plenty of these plants available for free choice. Then, there's the soap crowd. Old time farmers used plain old soap to worm all of their critters. Some cattle keepers use Basic H, or an other mild soap to worm their herds. Old timer house wives would toss the dish water out the back door, where the chickens would eagerly pick out the bits and pieces from the bottom of the dish pan, thus getting a bit of soap to cleanse the gut. Mind you... the old timer soap wasn't loaded with all the garbage that you'll find in any of the dish soap you buy today! Then, there's the philosophy that parasites are a normal event, even in the human gut. A certain load of parasites is totally asymptomatic. Any more than that in a chicken, according to this crowd... means it's time to cull that particular bird. Thus, they cull the birds that have unhealthy loads, leaving the rest to continue to produce a flock that is more resistant to parasites in the long term.
Originally Posted by CTKen
Be in no doubt that if you keep you chickens, you will need to treat them. All medicines indicate a "no egg eating" number of days, so thats not really an issue in terms of safety.
It is totally unrealistic to expect not to have to treat your flock for worms, and other ailments. Its best that you re-home your chickens in my opinion.
All the best
See my above post.
Originally Posted by SusanD
I think I will check with a local poultry vet and see what's recommended for my area. That should hopefully give me an idea of what needs to be done with them, and will share with my parents.
Good place to start, though I doubt that you will ever find a poultry vet. You might find a vet who will treat a chicken, but... that may not even be the case. Also, keep in mind that most vets ascribe to the theory that all worms must be eradicated. You could certainly take in a sample for a fecal float test. That should not be a prohibitive cost. You might want to do some telephone price checking!