Hoping for advice from more experienced chicken freaks..


Riche Bronson

Aug 23, 2015
So I’ve been doing this hen thing for about 3 years now.. learning new things all the time (thanks to BYC and you guys) but, I’m having a new issue and one I just can’t figure out- even with all the reading I’ve done. So I have 8 laying hens of various breeds. They’re usually very healthy and the right weight- not overweight/not too thin- even through the winter months. This year they’re not. They’re all too thin- I can feel their breast bones sharply, and they just look skinny and underweight. So, for the past 6-8 weeks I’ve been trying various things that I’ve either read here, or that was advised by the “chicken expert” at our local feed store/supplier, and none of it seems to be working- putting any weight on them. (Bumped up the protein in their food, added cracked corn, they get plenty of treats-every day- that seems enough to have at least fattened them up a bit (and hasn’t), have tried all of the home remedy deworming techniques, used ACV, they get yogurt a couple times a week, bottomless food, treat blocks to peck at etc.). I’ve never SEEN anything in their droppings that leads me to believe they have worms- but why so thin all of the sudden? And why all 8 of them (the part that haunts me and makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong)? They’re all laying normally, and otherwise appear healthy and happy.. feathers look great, appetites great, no other symptoms at all- it’s only the weight issue. And it’s driving me NUTS! Don’t particularly want to feed them a chemical dewormer, both because we use/share the eggs and none seem to be labeled for laying hen use- and because I just don’t want to put that stuff in my au natch granola girls if it isn’t 100% necessary- especially since weight is the only thing making me think worms. ??? Also, the natural deworming things I’ve tried produced nothing- no signs of worms in their droppings and no weight gain either. Am I missing something here?!? Is it likely something that’s going to remedy itself when the weather gets nicer and they have all the bugs, and green grass, (and my veggie garden to sneak into) that they can possibly eat again (they “free range” year round btw)? Lost- and feel like I’m neglecting my favorite ladies. :-( Anyone have any ideas or advice? Thanks!
Have you had there poop actually checked for worms? Also to many treats can be a bad thing. If they are given a decent layers pellet, that has all the correct vitamins, minerals etc. for a balanced diet. To many treat can water down all the nutrients they need. A couple of handfuls of cracked corn is more than enough. We are all guilty of giving too many treats occasionally! ACV is good for conditioning but won't affect weight loss. I would have a poop sample done though. Atleast then you can rule worms in/out and treat if necessary. If your still unhappy a trip to the vets might be a good call if you can. Also free-range hens do tend to be healthier than penned hens as they are more active and roam alot more. They also get most of their dietary needs from foraging.
No, I haven’t gone the vet route for a couple of reasons- 1. there aren’t any within a reasonable distance that treat birds 2. Vets, much like medical doctors are usually quick with the prescription “answer”, and I’d prefer taking a “natural” route first before resorting to chemicals that usually create as many problems as they’re meant to correct. I guess at least taking in a sample is going to be the only definitive answer to the worms question though.

If they’re eating well (and they do, even with the extra treats they’re still polishing off their feed normally - and yes it is good nutritious feed..) maybe I’m over thinking the whole thing??
You could try crushed garlic cloves in their water. That is meant to be good for their system and I also meant to be good for deworming. I can't verify as I've never tried it. Also if you boil stinging nettles and add the liquid to drinking water it is supposed to be good for encouraging laying and also worming. I've never tried that either so worth a try, idk. I always worm with 'chemical' wormers and haven't had any problems. No withdrawal either. I use a product called flubenvet. It is a good allround wormer but doesn't kill tapeworm. I don't know if you can get this in us, but it does work.
Thanks. I think I’ll keep up the natural deworming things for a while- (garlic, pumpkin seeds, cayenne pepper etc.). The only dewormer available to me (from the feed store or Amazon) is Wazine, which specifically states on the label that it’s intended for use in meat (and not laying) hens, and a product called Safe-Guard which is actually intended for goats, and only lists turkeys as the fowl it can also treat. I was told by the “chicken pro” at the feed store that they can’t suggest Wazine (which is the only chemical dewormer that they carry that’s intended for use in chickens at all) because doing so constitutes “off label use” and “can get her in trouble”. (In other words if we use it and get sick from eating the eggs later it opens them up to liability.) Not exactly comforting or appetizing. I’m not sure if a vet could RX something that is intended for laying hens, but if so- I’ve never seen it in all the reading that I’ve done on the subject. I googled Flubenvet and found an article, but it doesn’t come up on Amazon, so apparently it isn’t available in the US. Ugh. Vexing!
8 laying hens. Make two groups. Deworm one of them. Eat the eggs of the other. See if group 1 increases its weight. Wait enough time for the hens eliminating the toxic. If the results with the first group are good deworm group 2.
Many hens will accept gladly a small amount of finely chopped garlic.
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I have had 'unliscensed' products prescribed to me from the vet. Unliscensed doesn't mean it's unsafe it's just not tested by the relevant department. Some products that have been tested in US and are safe may not be tested elsewhere and can't/shouldn't be used and vice versa. Ivermectin is a strange one in uk. It is used all over in us normally with a 14 day egg withdrawal on it. In Uk if you use it I've heard that you can never have the eggs again?! I know alot of meds given to hens can be used across cows, pigs, sheep etc. but the dosage is something that would have given in correct amounts.

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