Chickens can easily be infected with the eggs of worms, so they can regularly suffer from worms. Finding worms in the feces, or in the coop is, therefore, something that many chicken farmers will have to deal with. There are different types of worms, of which roundworms are the most common.
Some worms in chickens can also cause damage to the intestines, which can seriously affect the health of the chickens from the infestation. It is therefore important to recognize and treat worms in time. In addition, worms in chickens can be prevented with natural pesticides, which reduces the chance of permanent damage to the intestines.
Worms in chickens
Worms are found in the intestines of chickens. They live there on the undigested food and lay eggs in the intestines, which leave the intestines together with the feces. The eggs can remain in the soil for years to come. These eggs can also be eaten by, for example, worms, snails, beetles, or other insects.
Since chickens like to eat these insects, there is a good chance that they will one day eat an infected worm. The eggs will then develop into worms again in the chickens’ intestines. The chickens will also excrete eggs through their own feces so that other chickens can also get worms.
Especially chickens that roam freely or chickens in an open run have an increased chance of getting worms. But chickens that live in a closed coop and receive live insects can also be infected with the eggs of the worms. Worms lay a lot of eggs, especially in warm weather, and the risk of infection is greatest.
Types of Worms
Chickens can be infected with many different types of worms. One worm will be very harmless so that the chicken will hardly notice it, while the other worm can cause serious damage to the intestines of the chicken. The most common, and also the most annoying species, is the roundworm.
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Roundworms are common worms in chickens. There are two types of roundworms that can be in the intestines of the chickens, namely the large roundworm and the small roundworm.
The large roundworm with the Latin name Ascaridium Galli lives in the small intestine of the chickens and can grow up to 10 centimeters in length. If the worms in chickens are in the intestine long enough, they will get bigger and bigger and cause unpleasant side effects.
For example, large roundworms can lead to inflammation and bleeding in the intestinal wall. If left untreated, this worm will severely weaken the chickens and in some cases may even kill them.
Small roundworms are, compared to large roundworms, not only a lot smaller, but also a bit less dangerous.
Small roundworms only grow to a maximum of 2.5 centimeters and cause much less damage to the intestines. They do eat the food sources that are actually intended for the chicken.
If a chicken has many small roundworms, the chicken will therefore receive much fewer nutrients and lose weight. The reduced amount of nutrients can also make the chicken more susceptible to diseases. Large numbers, in particular, can therefore still make the chicken sick.
Tapeworms reside in the intestinal lumen. The lumen is the hollow space in the intestines. A tapeworm does not damage the intestines and therefore does not cause permanent damage. Tapeworms do live on the food that the chicken eats, which means that chickens can lose weight and become deficient in nutrients. This can manifest itself in poorer resistance, fatigue, and reduced leg.
Hairworms are located in the small intestine and esophagus and attach hereto the mucous membrane of the intestinal wall. It can reproduce very quickly here, which means that large amounts of hairworms can quickly be in the intestines.
This can cause the mucous membrane to become inflamed, which can have unpleasant consequences for the chicken. Inflammation can often be recognized by blood in the stool. If left untreated, hairworms can lead to severe inflammation and anemia, which in turn can lead to weakened sick chickens.
Recognize worms in chickens
Worms in chickens can be discovered by inspecting chicken feces. Because worms can only be seen in the feces when the numbers in the intestines have risen considerably, they are often only discovered too late. Worms in chickens can be noticed earlier by paying attention to the symptoms of the chickens:
- Chickens lose weight.
- The chickens are full or less active.
- Chickens have reduced laying or no longer lay eggs at all.
- Chickens have bloody diarrhea.
- The combs and wattles look pale.
Chicks have the greatest chance of contracting worms because the gastrointestinal tract is not yet fully developed. Often the symptoms are not recognized until the chicks are young because it takes about two months for the worms to develop in the gut.
If the worms are already present in the stool, you can have them examined by a vet. Worms in chicken can be recognized by their shape and size. Roundworms are round, tapeworms flat and hairworms are very thin and hard to see.
Worms can be treated with natural and chemical pesticides. The disadvantage of chemical pesticides is that the agent gets into the eggs, making them inedible for a certain period of time. In addition, the worms can become resistant to chemical pesticides.
Natural remedies are often based on herbs or essential oils. Examples of natural pesticides are garlic oil, Verm-X , and Finendo+ Cox & Worm. When using natural pesticides, the eggs of the chickens can be eaten as usual. The products are not harmful to the chickens and the worms do not become resistant, so they can also be used preventively.
With chemical pesticides, the agent can get into the eggs and meat. This creates a waiting time before the meat or eggs can be eaten again. This waiting time is indicated in the package leaflet. Therefore, do not buy chemical pesticides that are not actually intended for chickens.
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The dosage can then deviate and the waiting times are not indicated. Examples of active substances in chemical pesticides are levamisole or flubenol. The advantage of these chemicals is that they are often more aggressive and therefore work better. For example, chemicals against worms in chickens are:
- Beaphar wormer
- Cold Ice Wormstop
- Koudijs Luis/Worm
Worms are actually unavoidable, especially in chickens that roam freely. However, there are a number of options to limit the damage or reduce the chance of worms.
Preventive worm treatment can only be done with a natural pesticide to prevent resistance. A natural remedy can do little harm to the chickens. In any case, treat new chickens preventively. All chickens can be treated preventively after the first warm day after the winter, whereby the treatment can be repeated 2 or 3 times during the summer.
By ensuring that the chickens cannot eat insects, you reduce the chance of an infestation with worms. However, this is only possible by keeping the chickens in the coop. The loft should then contain dry bedding, which is changed regularly. This method is, therefore, less suitable for the welfare of the chickens.