Teach me the basics of worms...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cochin44, Jan 10, 2010.

  1. cochin44

    cochin44 Songster

    Jan 30, 2009
    St. Amant, LA
    I know there are a million posts about worms, but I need to start real basic.

    1.How do chickens get worms?

    2.At what age is this most common at?

    3.What are the signs?

    4.What is the best medicine?

    5. Do you take preventative steps or treat once they have them?

  2. gsim

    gsim Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:I am a beginner at raising poultry. Someone with experience will weigh-in on this subject and help you. From what I do know:

    Chickens can get worms from eating manure, or from eating grit from the dirt and because they eat off of the ground itself, where parasite eggs can be.

    As far as I know there is no age that they cannot have this happen.

    You may see worms in their stool. It may be lackluster health, low energy, etc.

    You can use most anything recommended by your co-op or at places such as Tractor Supply , or a veteranarian. For my dog, I use black walnut tincture, wormwood, and ground cloves. It works, but would be hard to administer with chickens.

    Preventative measures most often found on this forum is to dust down your floor with food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) before doing litter and adding it to litter and also having it in the dust bath. Some add it to feed. You might find feed that has de-worming additives. Do not let others in your run. No telling what they have on their feet. Many growers/hatcheries practice bio-security for that and other reasons and allow no one but employees around their birds.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  3. thedoors5to1

    thedoors5to1 Songster

    Jun 12, 2009
    i dont know about the best treatment but parasites live in the dirt, plants, and everywhere around us.. from what i've learned from my own expeirence they mostly get them when they eat something that was a host of the parasite, like a bug or a worm... if your feeding your animals any meats always cook them thoroughly like you would yourself..

    signs of parasites would be:
    FOAMY STOOLS or sometimes mucousy stools, loose stools, really smelly stools (and you didnt just give them greens), eating alot but really skinny, and a lethargic bird. anemia which is low iron, causes paleness. vitamin deficiencies which can cause numerous physical problems, unhealthy looking feathers, skin, scaly legs. drops in egg production, respiratory problems...the list goes on.. but thats what was in my head.

    treat to prevent is alot better if your free ranging, rather than treating the problem once its there.

    i found this on the internet about specific worms:

    "Worms in Chooks
    There are three classes of gut parasites
    Flukes (flukes are the most rare but hardest to get rid of)

    Worms can sometimes be found in the intestines of chickens. When chickens are kept on a litter floor, the worms will have direct cycle through their droppings. Worm eggs are discharged in the droppings; after the worm eggs incubate in the litter for about 10 days they will contain larvae, and other chickens will pick up these embryonating worm eggs and become infected with worms.

    A severe infestation can also cause an intestinal obstruction and result in death. Sometimes a bird will contract both an ascarid and a cocci infection at the same time, and because of the synergistic relationship between the two, will sucb more readily than if they were only stricken with one infection or the other. In rare but do***ented cases, an ascarid can actually find its way into a hen’s egg, which can be quite unappealing to an unsuspecting fresh egg customer. The worm can be detected by candling.
    two major kinds of worm exist:

    1. Roundworms (Ascaridia galli)
    These are large worms up to 3 inches long that can live in the intestine, use the chicken's nutrients while the larvae damage the intestinal wall. Piperazine, a common harmless wormer, will eliminate roundworms, but reinfection of the chickens can occur through the litter. Piperazine should be given in the drinking water twice, with a 3-week interval.
    Roundworms can cause drops in egg production, but normally do not harm the birds severely. However, intestinal absorption of nutrients will be interfered with.

    2. Hairworms (Capillaria).
    These worms are much smaller than roundworms, approximately 1/2-inch in length and very thin threadlike. Therefore they are difficult to find in the intestinal contents. Capillaria have a direct litter bird cycle or an indirect cycle via earthworms, the latter being a factor in chickens that range outdoors. Capillaria cause considerable damage to the intestinal wall and can deprive the chicken of nutrients and vitamins.
    Platinum yolks can be found in eggs from infected hens as well as paleness of the birds themselves.
    Treatment with piperazine does not eliminate capillaria, and other wormers will have to be used. The feed is often supplemented with extra vitamin A in capillaria-infected chickens.
    In addition to these two commonly occurring worms in chickens, we can find other kinds that are of lesser importance:

    3. Cecal worms (Heterakis)
    These are worms that inhabit the ceca (blind sacs in intestine), but do not appear to cause sickness in chickens.

    4. Tapeworms
    Tapeworms are occasionally found in chickens. They require special treatment, but usually do not constitute a hazard to the chicken's health, unless large numbers are present.

    5. Gapeworms
    Gapeworms occupy the trachea of pheasants primarily, but may be found in chickens, too. Cause gasping in pheasants and young chickens. Special wormer is required for gapeworms. Gapeworms cycle through earthworms, so chickens will get infected only outdoors or on dirt floors.

    In an average chicken flock with floor operation, good management practices and periodical piperazine or other worm treatment when roundworms or hairworms are present will keep the flock healthy. If severe worm problems exist, a good worming program should be instituted, for which advice can be obtained from the Extension Service. Wire floors eliminate the worm cycle and keep chickens free of intestinal worms.

    Birds with gapeworm infestation show signs of respiratory distress due to both the damage to the lungs and to the trachea that is caused by the worms. Young birds and bantams are especially vulnerable due to their relatively small trachea. Symptoms include depression, gasping for breath, and head shaking in an attempt to remove the worms from the trachea. Tracheal rales (a gurgling sound made during breathing that accompanies tracheal irritation) can be heard in many cases, and can sometimes be mistaken for an upper respiratory infection of some other cause.

    The most commonly known worm ‘hosts’ (carriers) are the earthworm, cockroach, beetle, sowbug, grasshopper, and earwig. The earthworm is known specifically to carry the gapeworm.

    In the case of the gapeworm, once a susceptible bird ingests an infested earthworm, the larvae penetrate the wall of the intestine and eventually end up in the lungs. Once in the lung, the larvae migrate into the bronchi. A molt of the larvae takes place resulting in the adult gapeworm, and the adult worms migrate up the respiratory tree to the trachea where the male and female worms intertwine and attach themselves to each other permanently. The entire process from the time the bird ingests the earthworm to the time adult gapeworms can be found in the trachea is approximately 7 days.

    Gapeworm egg production begins about 14 days after infestation of the larvae. The eggs are then coughed up into the mouth of the bird and passed out into the faeces. In the droppings, the eggs incubate for 8 to 14 days under optimum conditions of temperature and moisture to become infective larvae, thus completing the life cycle.

    Under necropsy, the adult gapeworms appear as long, red strands attached to the tracheal wall, almost like thin strands of blood. In chronic infestations, nodules of inflammatory tissue appear in the tracheal wall at the site of worm attachment. You can imagine how difficult it would be to breathe normally under these conditions.

    According to ancient wisdom the best time to treat worms is when they are most active – when the moon is waxing full
    by K. J. Theodore"

    theres more if you want toread it here:

    then theres this article which is interesting also:

    it mentions quote:"...Earthworms and also snails, slugs, ants, flies and beetles are often the intermediate hosts for various internal parasites of birds; so winter is a good time to use medication..."
    and also "Worms in poultry - Parasitic worms are, of course, much more common in free-range poultry than in cage systems where, in theory, the birds should be parasite-free. For example, a Danish study showed that Ascaridia galli were found in 64% of free range birds, 42% of deep-littered birds and in only 5% of battery hens."
    so if you free range like i do, its best to treat to PREVENT, rather than treating when your trying to get rid...
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2010
  4. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Songster

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I am going to copy a copy of a post written by Threehorses. She has a lot of very helpful information.

    There are a lot of them aren't there?

    I wouldn't recommend Capstar, no. There are systemic products that are useful, drop on, but you'd be looking at ivermectin 5% pour on for cattle, or Eprinex by Ivomec - also pour-on. More on that later.

    Mite prevention is best done by painting the wood in the coops so that all the cracks, joints, and eyes on the wooden walls 3' up, on the roosts, on the nest boxes, etc are filled in. In the old days they painted with creosote, but we've found that it's not so healthy to birds (or humans).

    However, there are permethrin products for goats, cattle, and poultry that are very safe and easy to use.

    The simplest for birds is "poultry dust" that contains permethrin. Just check the label for PERmethrin. Its's marketed in shaker cans under a bunch of different names. You can also get a liquid permethrin to spray on the wood if you have mites. Mites spend the majority of their time on the wood, not on the bird. Lice are the opposite. So for mites you spray the wood, dust the birds (or use ivermectin or eprinomectin), and dust the bedding. For lice you dust the birds (and you can use ivermectin or eprinomectin) and the bedding, nestbox materials, but don't have to spray wood as they lay their eggs on the bird.

    There's a product called Poultry Protector that looks promising for washing lice eggs off of birds, mite eggs off of wood, but I personally would still have some chemicals around (as much as I hate chemicals) just in case.

    On ivermectin, it's also a wormer. So you would want to use it carefully as it's a very strong wormer.

    I personally recommend that you pre-treat with wazine first if your bird fits any of the following statements:
    - The bird is under 4 months old (then dust only, use wazine only)
    - The bird hasn't been wormed in 6 months.
    - The bird is thin or has diarrhea
    - The bird has an unknown worming history
    - The bird is shedding worms.

    Wazine will paralyze only adults, while ivermectin kills adults and larva. If your bird has an unrecognized heavy infestation, then starting with ivermectin could kill all the worms and shock or stress the bird unnecessarily. So it's a good idea to worm first with Wazine to get the numbers down so that you can use Ivermectin thereafter.

    I just worm with Wazine 17 (piperazine 17%) first, and then 2-4 weeks later use ivermectin or eprinomectin (or fenbendazole if I'm just treating parasites, not mites or lice). Then I use the ivermectin when needed for lice/mites, or twice annually for worming.

    But if your birds are likely worm free and you get mites/lice that take blood, you can certainly use the pour on versions of ivermectin or eprinomectin. I like the generic ivermectin as 250ml is only $14 and it lasts ages! I had lice come into my flock this year, sucking lice (not just poultry lice) and they bloomed quickly. I treated on day one and it took three days for all the lice to take blood, so over three days I saw all the lice die off. It's supposed to have a 28 day effect in cattle. I know it has a three to four day effect (at least) in poulltry. My hens also gained weight. (They were behind on their worming, which I do twice annually).

    So, I hope this info helps. Keeping this stuff on hand so it's there when you need it really helps. In my case, I had the stuff when I needed to treat for lice and thankfully because they went from practically no lice to absolutely covered quickly.

    Also checking for lice and their nits frequently helps. (Although obviously it doesn't keep them away, as I found out this year). Check for mites at night as that's when they move onto the birds on the roosts.

    Incidentally, some people like to try more natural products in hopes of reducing the threat of mites and lice, mostly lice really as they spend time on the bird.

    DE (food grade only please) can be used in the dust bathing areas - just sprinkle on top, stir into the soil. Scrape bedding aside- use on the floor, replace the bedding, sprinkle on the bedding, stir in. Never use to dust the birds, never breathe it in, and never have them there when you're applying it. Some people feel this helps to keep lice down. I think there's something to it.

    Here's another thread ...
  5. Country4ever

    Country4ever Songster

    Oct 26, 2007
    My chickens are in a run, not free-range.
    I know alot of people would disagree with this, but I have never de-wormed them. They are 6 and 1/2 years old. No sign of worms, and at least once a year I collect poop and have it checked at the vet's office. So I have to disagree that its important to de-worm them prophylactically.
  6. peterlund

    peterlund Songster

    Jan 29, 2010
    MA Cranberry Country
    Can a chicken with a worm infestation actually suffer nerve damage? I had a naked neck that one day was walking sorta upright with her tail down... Searched around and thought she might ave been egg bound, so tried a warm bath etc.... I do not know if she is actually laying, but she did poop and she had worms... FLock of 20 or so is healthy, and I have dewormed thoroughly.... BUT it has been about a month and my turken is still walking funny... Tail not so droopy, and she is eating fine. Could she have hurt herself otherwise??? I assume a chicken cannot survive egg bound issues for over a month. Any hints tips?
    Thanks in advance.


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