Really confused about worming...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Jeffross1968, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    We've owned chickens now since May of last year. Our flock size is increasing, and we've got girls who are coming of age every month between now and July. But we've never wormed. I've read articles and posts from all across the spectrum....some who say never worm unless you see problems, others who state that worming twice a year is best. Then I just read an article that said worming should depend on what your vet finds during regular poop tests? Ugh...we don't even have a local vet that deals with poultry.

    So I'd like to see if there is a general consensus here on BYC. If you worm, how often...if not, why? What can be the effect of not worming, other than death, to birds that show no worms in poop?

    My birds all seem healthy. No one seems to be losing weight. But most are in their first year.

    Also, I've seen ads in some magazines for something called VermX, which is a natural wormer that doesn't have a withdrawal period. I'm guessing that also means it's worthless?

  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Even if you don't have a vet who sees poultry, many are willing to do a poop test. The trouble with poop tests is they can easily miss worms. Probably the first sign of a heavy worm load is weight loss.

    I know we have worms on this property because they have been found in dogs and even people here. I wormed with Valbazen a couple of months ago and noticed that their feed consumption immediately dropped, a lot. I'm guessing the worms were eating a lot of the feed they ate.

    I worm once or twice a year. I know of an experienced and quite knowledgeable chicken keeper who lives maybe an hour from me who worms up to 5 times a year. Truly free range chickens, who have a wide variety of forage, may need less worming due to natural wormers they eat. People who live in the desert often don't worm. I think it depends a lot on where you live.

    Another thing you can do is ask a vet or county extension agent how heavy the worm load is in your area. many of the worms are also found in dogs, so at least it is an indication.

    Here is a good thread on natural methods such as Verm-X. See especially post #23.
  3. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2007
    New England
    You won't find a consensus! A lot depends on your situation. People who have had flocks for many years, in one place, and bring in new birds that carry in parasites, have more of a chance of having serious infestations. Coops in damp, muddy and shady areas will harbor the intermediary hosts of parasites. Coops in the south, where there's no deep freeze, will have more issues. Cleanliness matters, too. If you have a few hens on virgin turf you're unlikely to have a severe parasite load.
    What concerns me about frequent worming with the same chemicals is that you're going to develop superbugs. Also, there are few wormers out there and some people use chemicals not designed for small flocks. I prefer to use good management, and chemicals only as the last resort. I do take a fecal to the vet - not an avian vet, but they know a lab to send it to. Not all vets will do this, so you might have to ask around. Be aware that all animals have some level of parasites. Tapeworms are common. But, they shouldn't be obvious and your hens should look healthy. I've had chickens for more than 15 years and have never had to use chemicals. I have fecals run so I know all is okay.
    I've written about how I manage my flock here:
  4. chicken-wish

    chicken-wish Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 27, 2012
    This is a very imformative read to me I'm very glad I stopped and read this thread before running off to work! [​IMG] Thank you for sharing this.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2012
  5. chicken-wish

    chicken-wish Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 27, 2012
    [​IMG] That is a very informative response to this question. I've been wondering about this too since I've never tried worming in the past and I now live in a place with a higher risk of getting worms and I now feel very good about what I read here. The worming post you refered to makes me feel more confident about what I should do too. Thank you! [​IMG]

    Edited because I forgot the quotation.
  6. flowerchild59

    flowerchild59 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 25, 2010
    Southern IL
    I always tried to be on the more "natural" side of things but I had a serious parasite problem and did not know it. Click on the link on my signature line for lots of information.

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