Ten days ago I bought a third-hand coop from craigslist that is in very good shape, and it came with 4 laying hens. NH reds. Three days ago I spotted a long roundworm in the poop. Yesterday another smaller roundworm. The chickens were free ranging in their old home. I'm in the process of building them a large run, but they will probably still get to roam around the woods of NH on afternoons here at their new home from time to time. I have read they might have picked up the worms foraging out in damp places in the woods, or from unsanitary living conditions. I can't speak for the previous owners, but the coop was in good shape when we got it. I want to raise the chickens organically. Getting away from the store bought eggs was the whole notion behind chickens for me - turns out I love the stupid birds - and I want them to be healthy. Additionally we are getting 5 chicks in about a month and I don't want to bring them into an unhealthy flock.
So I stripped the whole coop, junked the old nesting boxes and roosts and replaced them with new ones. Took out all the old pine shavings. Washed the inside of the coop with a water and apple cider vinegar mixture and scrub brush. I sprinkled Diatomaceous Earth on the coop floor then topped it with Koop Clean. I gave the chickens a dose of Strike III and will repeat in 10 -14 days and throw away all the eggs for a while. I will add Bragg's apple cider vinegar to their water once every other week, and crushed garlic to their food dish once every other week. I don't intend to dose them with medicine ever again. I intend to use the DE only once a year on their coop floor after spring cleaning.
Are there any other suggestions to controlling the roundworms that they have? There are so many different articles online and I don't have a chicken vet nearby. I read that chickens will be fine and can live with a small amount of roundworms in their system but I also read that roundworms will kill them. So far I've gotten an egg a day from each of the birds. They eat normally and seem in a good temper. They're actually awesome, but again, I want them to be healthy - and since I am composting their manure I want to make sure it will be safe to add to my compost bins. I'm wary of putting roundworms in my compost. I am probably not going to poke through individual poops to check for roundworms before chucking them on the bins. I'd like to rid the chickens of their worms. Is such a thing even possible? Or is it all about controlling the roundworm population at this point? (I am not going to compost the manure while there are antibiotics in it, so I'll hold off composting it for now until I start eating the eggs again - Strike III doesn't have any egg withholding cautions, but my instinct is telling me to throw them out anyways).
In short, I'm very new to chickens. I'm doing my research, but would love to hear the tried and true methods from more experienced chicken owners.