Originally Posted by LBraden
I have been stalking this post because I need to worm my chickens too. No hard core evidence of worms, just time to work them and I have a few that have been pulling feathers out around their vent.
Castportpony, what is the equation for figuring dosages on the Equimax? I have a few different sizes and need to weigh each and every one of them and figure individually. Also, at what age can I start worming? I have some 10 week old chicks (good grief, they seem much older than that... Where did the time go?! 😥) that might need to get a dose as well. Just so I have everyone on the same dosing schedule! Thanks!
What you use and when you choose depends upon your worming philosophy. Forgive a longer response below, but you have shown interest in the subject itself, and the answer is a bit more complicated than "use this" as you are looking for an overall schedule for future use.
Many choose to worm only upon visual evidence of worms feeling the less med is better. Others worm as a matter of course seasonally as it is easier to prevent a major worm load than treat one due to the exponential manner that worms grow in the environment through the worm cycle (and hence in the flock).
You've showed by your comments that you have decided to worm as a matter of course, and many would agree, because the literature is pretty consistent that it is not a matter of if but when chickens will have worms.
Next question is herbal or drug...many have grave concern over chemical drug use with its residue build up in the food chain and strongly prefer "natural" or "organic" methods. By your comments you have sided with the philosophy that drugs can be useful tools to help maintain health if administered properly. I have tried the herbal route, and my Vet Tech daughter, who is now a full time organic farmer with her husband, must stay herbal to be able to sell organically. We both agree that though herbal can help, somewhat, with prevention (if you keep immaculate fields and rotation), once the load occurs stronger remedies are required as herbal only flushes the worms from the bird but does not kill them (leaving them in the environment for further exponential infection).
Most common programs recommend worming seasonally, usually spring and fall, in several treatments, depending upon drug. Usually it is treat then treat again in 10 days, pulling eggs during treatment and 10 to 14 days after last treatment (depending upon med choice).
The next choice left is which medicine. I am of the camp (and my daughter suggests) to choose only what you really need for the worms you have. Over treatment causes its own issues and can help to create resistance in worms as well as any potential side effects in chickens (albeit the common wormers have overall safety history with birds unless greatly over dosed).
For new flocks, it was recommended to me that you begin with pyrantel or piperazine (Wazine) for round worms as that is the most typical found is young chickens. I have been told those drugs are the most gentle to younger systems. Wazine was on label for years for chickens but is currently off label. It will only address round worms however.
Hygromycin B which can be found in Rooster Booster Triple Action Multi Wormer (search Amazon or A Better Chicken for the best prices) or in Durvet's Strike III is a feed additive that is shown to be effective on the 3 most common (cecal, capillary, round). Currently (as of the time of this posting) it is the only FDA approved wormer for "hens laying eggs for human consumption." There is no withdrawal period for eggs, 3 day withdrawal for slaughter. The industry standard is to feed continuously, but the manufacturer (Rooster Booster) recommends to small holders to feed seasonally for 2 to 6 weeks depending upon infestation load (I've read research which shows Hygromycin B can take 6 weeks of continuous feed to eradicate cecal worms). It comes in pellets that you simply add to the feed (with the scoop and in the concentration on label), and it is recommended for chicks as soon as they can eat a small pellet. I try to use Hygromycin B as my stand by and rotate birds and litter (twice a year deep clean) since I do sell eggs for human consumption ("farm fresh" not "organic") and prefer to remain FDA sanctioned even though I am a small holder and sell without need for license or inspection.
The next choices are off label and generally considered more effective for broad spectrum. Fendbendazole (Safe Guard) and albendazole (Valbazen) are usually the most easily found in feed stores. Research shows they are overall effective against the main types and even some of the more rare types. Fenbendazole will also treat gapeworm; albendazole was listed on one veterinary source for tapeworm but I remain dubious of it for that.
Equimax can target the harder to eradicate cestaodes (tape worms). Equimax has both Ivermectin and Praziquantel. Praziquantel is uesful for tapes and other worms. As you've read in this thread Ivermectin has suffered from over use to where many internal worm populations are resistant, but if you can use it, it is very effective for nematodes (everything other than tapes and flukes) and external parasites. I use poultry dust regularly, and avoid Ivermectin, but I find it very useful for external parasites that are not responding to poultry dust or no mite strips caused by unseasonable weather and local population explosion. My flock has responded well internally and externally to Ivermectin, likely from over use of Hygromycin B. I feel comfortable using Ivermectin on emergency basis as I have scientific literature showing Ivermectin egg residue times and can feel confident in selling again after I've pulled for that time.
Almost all veterinary literature will state the best course of action is clean litter, clean food/water, regular field rotation, and seasonal worming, rotating worming choices. Do not rotate within a season as over rotation can cause faster worm resistance build up to all meds. If you are dealing with something like tapes or gapeworm, it is essential to remove the intermediary host (earthworm, beetle, fly, etc.) or the process will continue almost unchecked. Likewise it is best to eradicate rodents and limit wild birds as they will also bring in external and internal infestations.
Casportpony has selflessly volunteered to keep track of general dosing for common meds used on chickens (my brain aches at all that dosing math but do it for my flock...you are on your own for yours), but of course always double check the label and make sure you have the same concentration as many of the meds come in different formula strengths.
Hope that helps...good luck on your newer flock.
Edited by Lady of McCamley - 4/25/16 at 1:49pm