Worm Killer

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Cetawin, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    I took the girls outside for about an hour with me while I weeded in my garden. I came across 3 worms and I dropped one down to see what happened....OMG it was ON!

    2 of the girls had a tug of war with it and each got half...the second and third one were done in pronto by Molly, one of my australorps....the other 5 girls never even got near them.

    Looks like a killer (worm killer) doesn't she?

    [​IMG]

    Do I have any worries about them eating any specific worms?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  2. CUDA

    CUDA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Naw, no problem eating worms. They love them. You will have to worm your fowl regularly when they are on the ground though, but it has nothing to do with eating earthworms.
     
  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    Thanks CUDA. I did not know if there were specific worms they could not have. Just checking.
     
  4. CUDA

    CUDA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't matter, you ain't gonna stop them from eating any worm they see anyway....lol Wait till they catch a snake, or a mouse!
     
  5. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you got poultry on the ground everybody will wanna read this, I found it to be good reading..

    Charlie

    Intestinal Worms

    By Gail Damerow
    Tennessee


    Many years ago I kept 30 or more different breeds of chickens. Along with acquiring all those chickens, I also acquired a lot of problems, among them parasitic worms-both roundworms and tapeworms. The worst case of roundworm I ever saw was in a hen I got because an old neighbor had died and his estate was seeking homes for his chickens. This particular hen had a brood of newly hatched chicks, so I was given a pet carrier to keep them in. By the time I had traveled the few miles home, the floor of the pet carrier was crawling with long white roundworms. I became a believer that worms can be a serious problem for chickens.

    Under good management, worms and chickens become balanced in peaceful coexistence-in other words, a few worms are not harmful, and some poultry experts believe they may be beneficial. Through gradual exposure, birds develop resistance to most parasites. A problem generally arises when chickens are kept in the same place year after year, increasing the parasitic population in the environment.

    Even then, chickens usually develop a parasite overload quite gradually. Once the scale tips in favor of the worms, signs begin to appear. Intestinal worms interfere with food absorption and other digestive processes, causing affected chickens to lose weight.

    Controlling Worms
    Controlling parasitic worms requires good management rather than constant medication. Not only can parasites become resistant to medication, but worming can be an expensive and never-ending chore unless you eliminate the source of infection.

    Reducing the need for worming medications includes providing a proper diet; a diet high in vitamins A and B and animal protein enhances immunity to roundworms.

    To control parasitic worms in the environment, you must be aware that they have one of two life cycles-direct or indirect. In a direct cycle, female worms living in a chicken's body shed eggs that pass out of the chicken in droppings and are eaten by the same, or another, chicken and develop into new worms. Of the common intestinal worms, cecal worms, roundworms, and some capilleria have direct life cycles.


    In an indirect cycle, worm eggs expelled by a chicken are eaten by a grasshopper, beetle, earthworm, or other creature, which becomes an intermediate host. A chicken is infected or reinfected by eating the intermediate host. Knowing which parasites have indirect life cycles, and which intermediate hosts are involved, is an important part of your parasite control program.

    Whether direct or indirect, most worms spend part of their life cycles away from the bird, offering a good chance for parasite prevention and control. To avoid direct cycle parasites, design housing so chickens can't pick in their own droppings, and rotate pasture. To avoid indirect cycle parasites, keep intermediate hosts away from the coop. Take care when using insecticides, though, since chickens can be poisoned from eating poisoned insects. When possible, use an insecticide only in an unoccupied house, then thoroughly clean up before introducing a new flock.

    Worming
    A healthy chicken can tolerate a certain degree of parasitic invasion. Avoid using a wormer unless you have evidence of worms. Your best evidence of intestinal worms is to internally examine dead chickens, either any that have died unexpectedly or while you are butchering for meat.

    How often your chickens need worming, if they need it at all, depends in part on the way you manage your flock. Chickens on rotated pasture need worming less often than confined chickens, especially confined on the same litter for an extended period of time. Caged chickens need worming least often, because their exposure is minimal. In warm, humid climates, where intermediate hosts are prevalent year around, chickens are more likely to need worming than those in cold climates, where intermediate hosts are dormant part of the year.


    To ensure a wormer's effectiveness (especially if you're battling tapeworm), withhold feed for 18 hours before worming. About an hour after worming, feed a moist mash so the hungry chickens can't eat too fast.

    After you use one wormer for a time, parasites will become resistant to it. Resistance takes between eight and 10 generations. To minimize the development of resistant strains, avoid always using the same wormer. But don't be quick to alternate, or parasites can become resistant to all wormers you use. For maximum benefit, rotate wormers no more often than annually. The withdrawal period for most wormers is one week.

    RoundwormIn the number of species involved and the damage they do to chickens, roundworms are the most significant parasitic worm. The most problematic of these are the large roundworm, the capillary worm, and the cecal worm.

    Large roundworm, or ascarid, infestation is called ascaridiasis. The large roundworm is approximately the same thickness as pencil lead and grows as long as 4-1/2 inches-big enough to be seen without a magnifying glass. Adult large roundworms roam a chicken's small intestine. Occasionally one will migrate from the intestine up the cloaca and get trapped inside a newly forming egg-a decidedly unappetizing occurrence.

    One female roundworm lays up to 5,000 eggs, which are spread by direct cycle. Birds that are more than three months old are more resistant to ascaridiasis than younger birds. Heavier breeds such as Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock are more resistant than lighter breeds such as Leghorn and Minorca. Chickens that eat primarily animal protein are more resistant than chickens that eat primarily plant protein.

    Signs of ascaridiasis are pale head, droopiness, weight loss or slow growth, emaciation, and diarrhea. In a severe infestation, the intestines become plugged with worms, causing death. Even a somewhat mild infestation may be devastating when combined with some other disease, particularly coccidiosis or infectious bronchitis.

    Piperazine, the only wormer currently approved for poultry, controls only roundworms. It has a wide safety margin, but is so commonly used that worms are developing resistance to it. Piperazine works best as a one-time oral dose per bird, but for a large flocks it's more practical as a water-wormer added to the birds' sole source of drinking water. Follow the directions on the label. Repeat the dosage in 7 to 10 days, giving young worms time to release their hold on the intestinal lining.

    Capillary Worm
    Six species of Capillaria or capillarids invade chickens, causing capillariasis. Capillarids are white, hairlike or threadlike worms. Most are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but may be seen with the aid of a magnifying glass. They usually lodge in a chicken's crop, ceca, and/or intestines. In a serious infestation, worms may move into the bird's throat or mouth.

    Most capillarids have an indirect cycle, with earthworms as the intermediate host. Some have a direct cycle. One species (C. Contorta) is both direct and indirect.

    Signs of capillariasis are pale head, poor appetite, droopiness, weakness, emaciation, and sometimes diarrhea. Chickens may sit around with their heads drawn in. Postmortem examination may reveal adult worms in a thickened and inflamed crop.

    Capillariasis is most likely to occur in flocks kept on built-up litter. No approved treatment is readily available to small-flock owners; levamisole is often used. As a drench, levamisole is added to water at the rate of 0.03 to 0.06 percent (10 ml per gallon) for one day only. Levamisole injectable is injected subcutaneously (beneath the skin) one time only at the rate of 12.5 mg per pound of body weight.

    Cecal Worm
    The cecal worm is the most common parasitic worm in North American chickens. As its name implies, it invades a bird's ceca. Other than carrying blackhead, to which most chickens are immune (but turkeys are not), the cecal worm does not seriously affect a bird's health. Leghorns are more susceptible to this parasite than heavier breeds such as Rhode Island Red and White Wyandotte.

    Cecal worms are slender, white, and about half-inch long, making them easy to see. Their cycle is direct.

    Cecal worms are generally treated with levamisole or ivermectin, which is effective against a wide variety of internal and external parasites (but not tapeworm). It is not approved for poultry and can be toxic to chickens in relatively small amounts. Given orally, 1/4 cc is enough to worm a large chicken, up to seven drops will worm a bantam.

    Tapeworm
    Like roundworms, tapeworms come in many species. The eight species that invade chickens range in size from microscopic to 13-1/2 inches long. Infestation is called cestodiasis.

    Most tapeworms are host specific-those infecting chickens invade only chickens and their avian relatives. All tapeworms lodge in the intestinal tract, attaching their heads to the intestine wall with four pairs of suckers. Each species prefers a different portion of the intestine: duodenum, jejunum, upper intestine, or lower intestine.

    During postmortem examination, most tapeworms easily can be seen without benefit of magnification. The exception is the microscopic tapeworm Davainea proglottina. To see it, open a portion of the duodenum and place it in water. The loose ends of the tapeworms will float away from the intestinal tissue.

    Ironically, this smallest species is also the most deadly. As many as 3,000 have been found in one chicken. Signs include dull feathers, slow movement, emaciation, breathing difficulty, paralysis, and death. General signs of cestodiasis are weight loss and decreased laying. Leghorns tend to be more resistant than Plymouth Rocks.


    All tapeworms require an intermediate host, which may be an ant, beetle, earthworm, housefly, slug, snail, or termite. Caged birds are likely to be infected by worms whose cycle involves flies. Litter-raised flocks are likely to be infected by worms whose cycle involves beetles or termites. Free-ranged chickens are likely to be infected by worms whose cycle involves ants, earthworms, slugs, or snails.

    A tapeworm's body is made up of individual segments, one or more of which break away each day. A chicken starts shedding segments within two to three weeks after eating an infective intermediate host. In a severe infestation, you may see segments in droppings or clinging to the area around the vent, looking like bits of white rice. Each segment contains hundreds of eggs-in its lifetime, each tapeworm releases millions of eggs, ensuring that some survive.

    To control tapeworm, you must control the intermediate host. Since signs are similar for most tapeworm species, you have to know which species you're dealing with so you'll know which intermediate host(s) to go after.

    Exterminating beetles is particularly troublesome, since not all beetles found in and around chicken coops are harmful. Some are beneficial. To complicate the matter, tapeworms are carried by numerous species including darkling, dung, and ground beetles. Ask your county Extension agent or state poultry specialist for information on problem beetles and their control in your area.

    Although no drug is currently approved to combat tapeworm, a veterinarian can provide a suitable medication. Valbazen oral drench is the most commonly used wormer where tapeworm has been identified, and that works on roundworms as well. The typical one-time dose is 4.5 mg per pound of body weigh.

    Bottom Line
    Assuming your flock is managed to minimize worm infestations, your next best defense is to keep an eye out for any signs of worms, either in the droppings or in the way your chickens look. Whenever you butcher, examine the innards for anything unusual. If you have more than the occasional dead bird, examine these, as well, to determine if a serious infestation of worms is the culprit. Through vigilance you may discover that your chickens are not seriously infected with parasites, allowing you to save money otherwise spent on dewormer while at the same time giving you peace of mind that your chickens don't need it anyway.

    Twenty-plus years ago my chicken keeping changed from being a hobby encompassing many breeds, to raising a flock to provide meat and eggs for my family. I no longer bring in chickens from various sources, my flock is pastured, and I have several housing options so I can rest housing each time I start a new batch of chicks. The infrequent times when I purchase new stock I buy only hatchlings, which have had the least amount of exposure to parasites and other problems. I still remain vigilant against worms, but I'm happy to report that my chickens are no longer pestered by these pesky internal parasites.

    Gail Damerow is a well-known poultry expert and the author of many books including these on poultry: The Chicken Health Handbook, Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, Your Chickens: A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing, Barnyard in Your Backyard and Fences for Pasture & Garden. These books are available from our bookstore
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2008
  6. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

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    wilds of pa Thanks so much for that info. [​IMG]
     
  7. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Your welcome, hope it helps many..

    Charlie
     
  8. gittinrdun2356

    gittinrdun2356 Out Of The Brooder

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    how do you know if the chickens ready for butchering are ok to eat? is there a way to tell all is ok. also i have de for grit is this ok it doesnt say anything about silica percentage? what happens if they eat it?[​IMG]
     
  9. CUDA

    CUDA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DE is not grit, but it won't hurt them, or us if they consume it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2008
  10. gittinrdun2356

    gittinrdun2356 Out Of The Brooder

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    what should i use for grit because someone from rural king supply told me they used it for grit? do you know/about how to make sure the chicken is ok to eat or not?[​IMG]
     

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