I need to get something straight!


9 Years
Jun 6, 2010
Coleman, Wi
Can you give earthworms as treats? I read on here that you shouldn't give earthworms as treats because they could get worms from them. If they are free ranging, aren't they going to eat worms anyway? We can't watch what they eat all the time.
I've heard that before about getting worms from them. I don't know how true that is but I won't argue it. You're right though, that if they're free-ranging they may well find and eat their own and there's nothing you can do about that. I wouldn't worry too much about it but personally I never feed worms to the birds for quite a different reason: I want as many earthworms in my soil as I can get - there is nothing better for improving the soil. Basically, the grubs/bugs that help me - earthworms, spiders etc. - I never feed off to the chooks. On the other hand, I garden organically so every day I pull pests off my vegies - aphids, grasshoppers, caterpillars, slugs - and those go right to the birds.
Its fine, and they absolutely LOVE them!!! The chances of them getting worms from eating earthworms are slim. But if you want to you could buy some dewormer just incase
Earth worms are fine. I suspect you have the same odds of them getting worms as you of getting a bad bag of feed at the store

Chickens will definitely find worms as they scratch the ground...

Not sure what the source of your worms is, but I wouldn't feed worms to mine because earthworms are one of the intermediate hosts for some chicken parasites.

I got my chickens and went to the fridge where my husband had a styrofoam container of fish bait worms (night crawlers).... I fed to my chickens. Subsequently I noticed that my chickens developed worms. Now, there is no way of knowing for certain if they had worms when I picked them up or if they developed worms from the fishing worm that I fed them. Earth worms are definitely part of the infection cycle of some parasites.

Feeding meal worms to the chickens for treats seems much safer. Mealworms that are freeze-dried are readily available and seem unlikely to ever expose your flock to a parasite infestation.

Now, the store bought worms may be a better source of disease than the ones that the chicken finds in their foraging. You may have a preventative worming program set up for your chickens, or you may feed enough DE to feel that the risk is low, but you should be aware that there is a risk.
Sometimes I think we worry too much.
Unless you have them completely enclosed at all times, they are going to encounter something that could give them worms. I just worm mine once or twice a year and I think a lot of us do. Yes, they will encounter all sorts of potential hosts when they are outside the coop. Heck, even inside the coop they can get crickets or roaches or something that are also potential hosts to a parasite like roundworms.

Have a regular worming schedule and don't worry about it. That is my advice.
If you can figure out a way to STOP chickens from eating worms you might want to post it here just for the educational content.
I don't think I could stop may hens from eating worms, they are the hens favorite food I think, if I am digging in the garden the hens get them before I even see them. I have quick girls
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