Should I be de-worming my chickens?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Alntess04, Nov 19, 2011.

  1. Alntess04

    Alntess04 Hatching

    Nov 19, 2011
    I just read recently about de-worming chickens. I've never done that but I've only been keeping chickens for three years. I choose to give them feed that is free of animal by-product so I would prefer to go the most natural way to de-worm, if de-worming is something I should be doing at all.

  2. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Songster

    Nov 24, 2009
    I would say yes. Natural or not. Even in the wild, animals (including chickens) pick up parasites. Some of these don't disturb the host or are beneficial, but the bad ones can cause problems and even kill the host. Parasitic worms are no different. So, there should be more natural ways for you to prevent but I am not sure about treating. Your chickens could show no signs of worms if they are not heavily infested.
  3. MicheleC

    MicheleC Chirping

    May 15, 2011
    Lake Charles
    There are "organic" methods to worm and prevent worms. Do some research online, I've heard of Vinegar with the mother still in it, and I think cinnamon. DE is also something you may want to look in to.
  4. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    There are "organic" methods to worm and prevent worms. Do some research online, I've heard of Vinegar with the mother still in it, and I think cinnamon. DE is also something you may want to look into.

    Unfortunately, none of those things actually work to kill internal parasites

    If there have been no problems in 3 years, why worry now?​
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Have you noticed weight loss in your hens? When my girls had worms, they started looking really thin.
  6. jbs

    jbs Chirping

    May 23, 2011
    I've been wondering about this as well. I started my chickens on non-medicated feed, have gone organic the whole time, but will worm them if I need to. From what I've been reading, DE will kill bugs that may be in the bedding or feed, but once it's wet it's not effective, so it doesn't seem like it would work well as a dewormer by feeding it to the chickens. I'm not sure about the organic wormers (Verm-X, etc.). $70 for 20 chickens for 6 months isn't outrageously expensive, but I'm not sure if it works and don't want to give it to my chickens if they don't need it. I just reread the section on worming in Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, and the author recommends taking stool samples to the vet every 3 months or so for a year to monitor parasites in your chickens. She writes that healthy chickens in a reasonably sanitary environment should develop immunity to worms, and there's no point in routinely deworming chickens that don't need it. I'm not really sure what that means, if they have small levels of worms but not so much that it overwhelms them? I think that I'll take her advice about having the chickens' stools tested, just so I know what's going on with the worm situation.
  7. Erica

    Erica Songster

    Dec 5, 2010
    Where I live, most sheep worms are resistant to most (if not all) wormers. That's how bad things can get if wormers are used routinely. Now our Depts. of Agriculture are suggesting farmers only worm select ill sheep, cull out the worst affected, breed for worm resistance etc.

    I'm a bit of a fan of the worm-only-if-needed rule, and I would also try to manage against worms (e.g. with my dirt floor pens I completely take off the top 4cm every 6 months).

    Signs of worms are pretty easy to spot: weight loss and diarrhea. You can also get worm counts done on fecal samples every so often if you wish; they're quite cheap and can be done by post (and will specify which worms are present, which can be very useful). I find just keeping an eye on the flock is enough, but in some cases (e.g. a huge flock) it's worth being scientific.

    So I would say, worm if the birds are losing weight and showing other evidence like mucky bottoms; don't be too quick to worm unless you see the signs; and only worm individuals that need it. Then use something known to be effective against an active infestation... Commercial or an antihelminthic herbal remedy (i.e. one that kills worms, doesn't just 'make the intestine less attractive to them'). [​IMG]

    Just my thoughts, not an expert,
    best wishes

  8. Alntess04

    Alntess04 Hatching

    Nov 19, 2011
    They don't have "mucky" bottoms but they don't seem to be as big as they used to be. What about adding applecider vinegar to the water? I read about that too, but don't understand what it would do to help.
  9. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    We only worm if we have worms....

    Often you will know something is wrong by behavior or appearance or even visible worms in poop. The best method for us is to take samples of poop to the vet for testing a couple times a year as well as watching their poop ourselves.

    Here in Arizona fortunately our dry soil deters them somewhat, but I am currently dealing with a episode of tapeworms after seeing segments of the worms in some of the chickens poop and it has been a few years since we have seen any problems here.
  10. CluckyJay

    CluckyJay Songster

    Feb 23, 2011
    Crossville, Tennessee
    I let my babies have access to black walnut extract in a bucket 24/7. They drink from it now and again. I also load them up on garlic and peppers. Keeping their pen clean and yard is important too.

    I am about to get a bag of lime and give the ground a good dousing, too. I am using the deep litter method in the pens and am hoping it will help keep parasites down in the soil. The soil gets pretty hot. [​IMG]

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