Topic of the Week - Deworming chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by sumi, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Any chickens exposed to the outdoors, whether free ranging or penned, are at risk of at some point picking up intestinal worms. Many of us deworm the flock as a preventative, while others prefer to wait with the drugs until there is evidence of an infestation. I would like to hear you all's thoughts and practices when it comes to worms and deworming, specifically:

    - Should you deworm regularly as a preventative, or wait until there is evidence of an infestation? Which do you prefer and...
    - What signs are there to indicate a possible worm infestation?
    - What is the best dewormer to use for chickens?
    - Do natural/organic dewormers and remedies work?
    - Can the eggs be eaten during the withdrawal period and are they safe to eat?
    - Did anyone incubate eggs laid during the withdrawal period and what was the results?




    For a complete list of our Topic of the Week threads, see here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/topic-of-the-week-thread-archive
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  2. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    There is a possible third option which is to have regular faecal worm egg counts done and use medication (wormer) when the results indicate their worm burdon is becoming too high, in much the same way as I do for my horses. The lab that does my horse faecal samples now offers the same service for poultry I believe.

    I'm a big believer in only using medication when it is necessary. I have to confess that I have not used the worm egg count service for my chickens yet and with so many of them it is probably not economic in my situation. In the past 3.5 years I have not wormed my chickens other than using Verm-X natural wormer once and I'm not really convinced of it's efficacy. If I have a chicken die of unknown causes, I do a DIY post mortem and I check the digestive tract for worms as part of that. I have found the odd round worm but so far no more than that. I have a large mixed flock of varying ages that free ranges and also several pens, so worming would be complicated. I do have poultry wormer in stock as part of my first aid kit along with Corid, but so far I haven't needed either.

    I do use ACV in their water daily (although they have access to other mostly rainwater whilst free ranging) but I wonder if the slight acidity from that makes the digestive tract less hospitable to parasites, although I appreciate the digestive tract is already acidic. I am a regular poop checker and whilst I did find a round worm in a cockerels poop a couple of years ago, I haven 't seen any since.... Of course with so many chickens free ranging, I know there will be some that I miss but parasites are inevitable and it is really only when they get out of balance with their host that it becomes a problem.

    I think there is a temptation to try to eradicate parasites altogether and whilst that sounds attractive, I think there is a balance in all things in nature and trying to exterminate one that we humans don't like, often leads to an imbalance and other unforeseen problems like resistance to medication developing. Of course, sometimes things get out of balance for other reasons and that is when medication should be used in my opinion to try to level the playing field again.
     
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  3. MotorcycleChick

    MotorcycleChick Gone quackers

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    The squirmy things. What a lovely discussion. [​IMG]
    I worm twice a year. I am grateful that you reminded me it is about time. I will do it in November though. I use whatever I have on hand, meaning that if Wazine is all I have inn the cabinet, that is all they get. I do believe that pumpkin can work as a wormer too.
    I have incubated a lot of eggs while worming. I have never seen an effect other than the feed bill. I once or twice have fed the eggs back, but I am leery of often doing that. I don't want anything to go wrong by reworming an already wormed flock.
    I eat the eggs after 10 days with Wazine, two weeks with a better wormer.

    I may not study poop like some, but I do look periodically.
     
  4. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

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    Should you deworm regularly as a preventative, or wait until there is evidence of an infestation?

    No, deworming indiscriminately can cause the worms to become resistant to the dewormers used. Randomly deworming is simply a waste of money and can harm more than it can help. You can never completely eradicate worms, so it is important that your flock has the opportunity to build up resistance to them.

    What signs are there to indicate a possible worm infestation?

    The ideal way to monitor the worm load of your flock is to get a fecal egg count done by a veterinarian a few times throughout the year. However, you can also monitor physical signs. Abnormal droppings, dirty vent feathers or droppings with worms in them can indicate a worm infestation. Also, look for general body condition indicators, including dull feathers, a pale comb, a loss of weight, and decreased egg production.

    Do natural/organic dewormers and remedies work?

    Diatomaceous Earth is often mentioned in the conversation about deworming. It is said that the small sharp edges slice and damage worm eggs. However, once Diatomaceous Earth is ingested, it loses these sharp edges, rendering it useless for the purpose of deworming. However, one natural remedy that makes a difference is giving your flock enough room. Even the most worm-resistant chicken will ingest too many worms if they are in a small space with too many other chickens. But, if they have some space, they can gradually build up resistance to parasites without being overwhelmed.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
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  5. Sally Sunshine

    Sally Sunshine Cattywampus Angel <straightens Halo> Premium Member Project Manager

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    @casportpony I think this thread needs some poop pictures! [​IMG]
     
  6. iLikeMineFried

    iLikeMineFried Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree! I am new to chickens and my flock is 12 weeks old. Their vent feathers are clean and the poop looks normal to me, but I don't get close and examine it. Should I? How big are the worms? Are they easily spotted? I need to see some infested chicken poo pictures please!
     
  7. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Wow, hot topic for sure, especially for me, and not easy to answer some of these questions, so I'll answer the easy ones first..

    • Do natural/organic dewormers and remedies work?

    To the best of my knowledge *none* of them work.

    • Can the eggs be eaten during the withdrawal period and are they safe to eat?

    Depends... If you live in the US the FDA says you can eat the eggs while treating with hygromycin b. Hygromycin b is the only FDA approved wormers for chickens in the US. Use of all other wormers is "extra label" and is supposed to be managed by a veterinarian, but if you live in Canada or Australia you can eat the eggs while treating with piperazine (Wazine). In England you can eat the eggs while treating with *very* low doses of fenbendazole (Safeguard or Panacur), or with flubendazole (Flubenvet), and in Ireland you can use flubendazole (flubenvet).

    -Kathy

    References:
    http://www.usfarad.org/drug-wdi-faqs.html

    http://www.farad.org/publications/digests/122015EggResidue.pdf
     
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  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    I will see what I can find...

    -Kathy
     
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  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Cecal poop vs regular poop


    These are overnight poops from a 7 year old rooster that appears to be quite healthy. On the left is a normal cecal poop, on the right are pretty normal regular poops, though one pile has a little spec of red. Diet consists of crumbles, nothing else.
    [​IMG]

    This is the same poop moved to a paper towel. regular poop on top, cecal on bottom.
    [​IMG]

    Same poop again. Notice the creamy texture of the cecal poop compared to the regular poop. Interestingly, I think maybe I can see a cecal worm in this picture. Will go back and see if I can verify.
    [​IMG]

    -Kathy

    @Sally Sunshine
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
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  10. cree57i

    cree57i Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I had not wormed my chickens in 3 years mainly because they act healthy and the plant, wormwood, grows wild in their pasture. Lately, I have seen some roundworms in my poop inspections, so am in the process of worming everyone with Valbazen. It is a big process on over 100 chickens, but hopefully it will take the count down to zero for a while. Second dose due Wednesday.

    They have started eating like there is no tomorrow. IDK, if it is the cooler weather, the decrease in worms or that they are molting.
     

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