Worming youngsters and molters and pickers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by aliprowl, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    Hope I'm in the right place...not an emergency, but medical...? I have five hens who are one year and eight months old. Two of these are in heavy molt, one is a cochin who hasn't laid an egg in months, one is a bantam buff brahma who was bitten by a dog a few months ago and is fully recovered but not laying, and one hardy soul is, in fact, laying. None of these girls has ever been wormed. I also have four younger girls, all too young to lay (one is not quite six months old; three are three months old). One rooster, who doesn't lay but gets...well, you know.
    Egg production had fallen way off even before the molting. I am wondering if these ladies need to be wormed? I have seen no worms, but understand that failure to see worms does not mean there are no worms. It would be difficult to separate out the youngsters from the older girls. Can I worm everyone at this point? Should I wait until the molting is finished? Is it possible that worms were causing my lack of egg production? Everyone seems relatively healthy, except I do see some watery poops from time to time, and the cochin's comb is very pale compared to other girls' combs. It's pale and kind of dusty looking, but she seems healthy. One of the heavily molting girls is also picking at herself constantly - she has had horrible feather issues and has been basically naked on her back & bum; she is doing this to herself, I have determined from close observation. I ordered her a fleece lined hen apron for winter and that keeps her off some of her newly growing in feathers, but she still tries to pull them and has gotten a few blood feathers recently. I'm wondering if she is wormy - picking, doesn't look terribly healthy, but maybe that is part of molting?
    Would appreciate any input on worming now or waiting, and if I can worm the whole flock or if some are too young. Was going to do Wazine in the water and then...not sure which to use next. Ivomectrin drops? Maybe drops on just the older ones? Surely the babies don't have worms? Thanks for any help...
     
  2. tammye

    tammye Chillin' With My Peeps

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    many different thoughts here on worming. I have not wormed my hens, they are 18 months old, like you I have not seen any worms, I do give them chopped garlic and chopped pumkin seeds to help prevent worms. Some people worm several times a year. The dewormers are harsh on the hens, so i have read here not to worm while they are in a molt, which is already putting stress on them and never worm a sick chicken, to much stress on their bodies.

    The feather picking can be caused from many different reasons, like, lack of protein, give her some black oiled sun flower seeds to increase her protein intake, may help, also can be from mites/lice, check under her feathers and her vent area for these, like worming, many people dust their hens often, once again, this is a toxic substance and you can not eat their eggs for several weeks, with the dusting and worming. also, does she get to dust in soil, helps to reduce bugs, you can put soil, sand,DE in a cat litter pan for them to dust in, esp. in the winter. Also, feather picking can be from boredom, broodieness.

    if you want to make sure they have worms before you deworm, you can take a poop sample to the vet to check for worms
     
  3. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Folks on this forum tend to suggest not deworming until around 4 months. I'm not sure why or where they get their information, honestly. I've dewormed 3+ month olds with no ill effects other than dead worms...

    One dewormer, I think it's fendbendazole but I'd have to double check that, can cause feather lacing if given during feather growth (molting). (like a thinner 'line' in the feather at the point it was forming during the dose)

    Poor feed conversion, lighter weight, runny poops, poor feathering, poor egg production can all be signs of worms. You won't necessarily SEE the worms in the poop, healthy live worms don't leave the host and don't get pooped out unless they die or are killed with a dewormer. Some worms or worm segments are so small that they cannot be easily seen even if pooped out. Round worms (looks like fat spaghetti strings) are often the ones seen after deworming, or rarely pooped out if one happens to die off without any deworming.

    Fecal egg count from a vet is the only way to positively determine if there is a worm load. It has to be fresh and quickly delivered to the vet for the test. Tapeworm eggs/segments are notoriously hard to see even if present in a fecal float test...they quickly degrade under lot of conditions and can just be hard to see sometimes.

    It's a GIVEN that any bird or animal that forages, eats off the ground or eats bugs or other small animals, WILL have worms. In every other animal, the young are usually hit the hardest and are more heavily infested than older livestock... livestock/pets tend to gain a resistance to certain worms to SOME degree (not entirely- except for some worms in some livestock species), and the young are generally dewormed more often, at closer intervals, than their adult counterparts. I DO NOT see this recommended in poultry on this forum, and I'm not sure if that's because there just isn't the research data (not relevant for commercial flocks), or if the cycle actually works differently in poultry-- something I doubt, but don't have research data to back up. One of the reasons may be that many (not all) backyard chicken owners are of the mindset that they do not want to feed medications or antibiotics to their chickens and view deworming medications the same way... as some unnecessary evil of some sort that taints their flock. Others do believe in a scheduled maintenance to keep internal parasites at a minimum. (manage, not prevent...as there is just NO preventing them from picking them up)


    *I* would not hesitate to use something like wazine on the entire flock myself.
    If needed, I wouldn't hesitate to use stronger meds. If young birds are dewormed at least in the first 4-6 months, there should be no reason why they would need the gradual 'step up' deworming that an older bird may need if heavily infested and never dewormed before.

    Personally, I haven't found the ivomectrin drops/pour on to be effective, despite them being recommended here. Didn't kill the mites (or lice?) that I found once (must not have been blood suckers?) and a follow up deworming just a month later with a paste (zimectrin gold) to target tapeworms resulted in large, very adult round worms being pooped out that SHOULD have been cleared by the ivermectrin drops had they been effective. I won't use the topical version again for my flock.


    Is it possible the picker has some sort of mite/lice that's causing her irritation/stress and causing her to pick?
    I suppose a worm infestation may cause enough stress for one to start doing that, too... who knows what quirk any given bird/animal may begin when feeling stressed physically or otherwise.

    Basically, you have to decide what type of philosophy is best for you and your flock regarding your use of dewormers and/or other meds as needed. Opinions vary and how some manage any given issue does, too. I personally take a strong management approach with regard to deworming any pets or livestock. I feel that results in healthy, productive livestock/pets and I'm not losing money feeding internal parasites. It's what works best for us. [​IMG]
     
  4. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Northern Westchester
    Huge thanks for both replies. I am not at all opposed to deworming and some light medical management of the flock. I have not been able to figure out what is up with the picker, so might as well try worming...have tried everything else I can think of, including: sanitizing coop three times, whitewashing coop, dusting hens, Frontlining hens, dusting hens again, dusting bedding/floor of coop and have never seen a mite or a louse, or any evidence of them. Have checked feathers & vents with a flashlight incessantly - the hens think there is something seriously wrong with me. The flock gets BOSS quite often, are on a high quality organic feed (now on a grower feed that is higher in protein, due to youngsters and molting hens), get fruit, yogurt (don't like it much), greens, cottage cheese, organic apple cider vinegar in water, tried tuna (don't like it), mealworms, you name it. I've tried to cut back on the treats, though, to make sure they are eating their feed - was worried that they were holding back on eating their pellets because they were so into the treats. The other hens are glossy and healthy - it's just this one that has been a problem. She does have a raft of new feathers coming in - looks like a porcupine - and so hopefully enough of these might survive her picking to show her that it's better to have feathers than not. The apron helps prevent some of the picking.
    Does anybody ever just do the wazine and then nothing beyond that, or is that a pointless exercise? How often can you repeat the wazine? Could you tell me the dosage for zimectrin gold and how did you administer it? Should I use that after the wazine, but not on the youngsters?
    I've ordered the wazine but nothing beyond that. Wondering also if I should just wait for the molting to finish before doing anything - she does seem fairly stressed out right now and is keeping to herself and not even sleeping next to the rooster, whom she adores.
     
  5. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wazine will only get the roundworms... which are generally a widespread problem in all livestock. I'm sure some people may only use that.
    It's a pretty mild dewormer that doesn't even kill the roundworm, I believe, but just paralyzes them to they release and are pooped out. They cannot survive outside of the host.

    I wouldn't be concerned with using wazine on the entire flock now. Particularly since the youngsters are housed with the older birds. Any and all eggs being shed are being picked up by the youngsters, too.

    I'd wait 10-14 days, and dose with the Z-gold or other medication that targets tapeworms, especially if I saw any significant amount of worms being shed in the wazine round. I use the Z-gold (horse dewormer) because it seems effective, is about $10 bucks for a tube that'll last several dewormings on my flock and I find it easy enough to dose. Dose each bird with a pea sized amount. (it's a paste, but a bit thin) Don't be terribly concerned if you dose a bit too much, it's pretty safe and 'overdose' limits are something like 20X's the dosage by weight. Some people find it easier to put the dose on a piece of bread, and feed each bird a piece. I can't, for the life of me, figure out how to get each bird a piece of bread without the dominant piggies stealing it ALL. I just grab each bird (pluck them off the roost at night if that's easier) and I put the dose on my finger, and gently pry the beak open and scrape the dose into the beak. They eat it. An extra hand or two makes this easier, but I can do it alone if I set them on something, tuck them under the crook of my arm, use a finger on the hand of the arm that they're tucked under to put the dose on, and use my "free hand" to open the beak. I'm a pro at it now, but it wasn't the easiest trick to figure out for me when I first started trying it. I had dewormer EVERYWHERE but in the bird!

    IF *I* saw a a decent worm load being pooped out with the wazine, I'd probably dose the youngsters with the Z-gold, too.

    Unless the picking hen seems further stressed by the wazine, I'd Z-gold her, too. I'd not deworm a VERY sick bird unless I thought the illness WAS worm related. Like if they were battling a very bad respiratory infection, or some other very major physical stress more than just molting. I feel that a deworming, if needed, isn't as stressful as carrying a worm load that is literally sucking nutrients from the bird and stealing a large portion of the feed ingested. I don't feel that molting is enough of a stress to avoid deworming as attempting to molt and grow feathers while worm infested and losing vital nutrition to them.


    And you know, some time ago, I read a thread about a picker or bareback hen (no roo as I remember) that only stopped after the owner did one thing... and I THINK it was deworming, but it MAY have been a change in the food brand. I just can't remember... wish I could...

    I think I'd go the deworming route, and keep the apron to see if that helps keep the feathers protected until they grow in. Even if it was possibly a worm load stress that caused it, she might have to 'break the habit' and have fluffy feathers that might not draw her to pick, like those irritating spiny feather shafts might.

    Hope you get it figure out!
     
  6. aliprowl

    aliprowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 12, 2008
    Northern Westchester
    Huge, huge thanks for all the info. Worms, look out!
     

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