How can you tell if your flock has worms?

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
661
1,269
222
Southern Chester County, PA
Beginner’s question, I know. Also, when giving Piperazine for worm treatment, how long are the eggs unsafe? The bottle actually prescribed constant treatment (every 30 days!!) and no use for laying hens. They are dreaming, or avoiding liability. Any help appreciated!
 

Lizzy733

Songster
Nov 13, 2018
425
841
191
New Zealand
Pretty much any vet can do a fecal float test for you. - no need to drench unneccesarilly. Get the test done on one, representative of the flock and go off of that. Maybe have it done once or twice a year to check their parasite load and medicate accordingly. Of course if they are showing signs of parasite load affecting their health, test the sick bird.
It can be done at home with a microscope too - I haven't gotten to that point myself yet.
So far, my girls have stayed clean, so it's not a definite they'll get parasites from being outside.
 

Ebony Rose

Crowing
12 Years
May 26, 2009
2,453
5,569
471
David, Chiriquí, Panama
A 'float test' is performed at your veterinarian or lab. Only a couple types of worms are visible with the naked eye, the rest need a float test to be certain. I don't have the test performed, preferring to worm them twice annually; when heavy rains start. There is no withdrawal period after Piperazine medication (according to the google search I performed). If you think they may be suffering from worms, you can ALSO, at the same time, treat them for coccidia overload (causes coccidiosis), and also not suffer from egg or meat withdrawal. Corid (amprolium) is used to treat for coccidia overload; do not offer B-vitamins while treating for coccidia but offer vitamin supplements to your flock AFTER the full course of treatment. Coccidia is a one-celled, opportunistic parasite that is found globally, in all soil. It is especially abundant after heavy rains. Chickens gain resistance to it over time and once adults, seldom succumb to this parasite UNLESS they have some other, underlying condition that has weakened their immune system. Young chicks, however, haven't had time to build up their resistance and often fall victim to coccidia when their 'boots hit the ground'; that is to say, soon after they've been exposed to roots, grass, dirt, etc., when they've left the brooder.
 

VictoriaTemple

Songster
Aug 27, 2018
661
1,269
222
Southern Chester County, PA
I have heard of coccidiosis of course, but have no idea what the symptoms might be. The only reason I’m concerned is I have noticed my Jersey Giants have lost a little weight, and my Easter Egger roo has a dry, red vent with no sign of external parasites.
 

Ebony Rose

Crowing
12 Years
May 26, 2009
2,453
5,569
471
David, Chiriquí, Panama
Weight loss can be a symptom of worms & lethargy among other symptoms. If this were affecting only one bird, I'd be looking for underlying disease; if however, your whole flock is affected I'd first look at molting unless it had been raining frequently or heavily.
The roo's dry red vent, without indications of parasites, makes me think of molting or henpecking. Roosters are often said to be quite content to let the girls have their way with his feathers. If you see feather picking, and you've ruled out molting, you may wish to reexamine lysine & methionine amino acid levels & overall protein levels. If your diagnosis leans towards molting (feather loss, drop off on egg production, listlessness or grumpiness without apparent illness), you can help them speed through the process by offering ground up dry cat food (typically 30% protein) mixed with their normal feed at a 50/50 ratio (by weight, not by volume), or other high protein treats (not to exceed 10% of their overall diet on the treats) of such things as canned tuna, mackerel, salmon, hard boiled or scrambled eggs, hamburger etc. Avoid treats that are high in fat, but still high in protein. You can also offer a rice and pea treat, cooked tastes better, (again, no more than 10% of their overall diet) to significantly boost the feather (re)growing amino acids lysine & methionine; although their overall protein level will take a hit with this treat option, I believe that the heavy boost on these amino acids during and after molting is worth it.
Keep us updated, please. Pictures are always welcome.
 

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