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How to treat worms in chickens

How to treat worms in chickens

How to treat worms in chickens

Did you know even a healthy chicken can have worms? We have written this article on how to treat worms in chickens to help you not only better understand worms and parasites but also show you how easy they can be to treat.

Worms and parasites are not only a nuisance for chooks but they also can cause major illness. If present in high volume, they can lead to your hen being stressed as well as ending up with a nutritional deficiency. Luckily, you can not only treat the worms and parasites active in your flock but also employ a preventative routine to help stop them coming back.

Left untreated, a worm infestation not only will cause illness to your flock but can also lead to death. At any given time most chooks have worms, so preventative treatment can keep these pesky little guys from becoming a real problem.

Does my chicken have worms?

All chickens have worms, especially chickens that free-range or have contact with wild birds. Rodents can also be a source of worms in the chicken coop. A preventative program, including regular deworming, will prevent worm infestations becoming so bad that your hens begin to show the symptoms below. 

Here is a list of the most obvious signs and symptoms of worms in chickens:

  • Unusual weight loss.
  • Poor weight gain including in meat birds and young pullets
  • Irregular feed consumption - chickens with worms may eat more or less than usual
  • 'Threads' in egg whites - these are actually hairworms
  • Yolk in egg is a pale colour
  • Diarrhea, foamy, frothy or pale droppings
  • In extreme worm infestation you may even see roundworms in the chook poop
  • Vent feathers appear dirty
  • A drop in egg production not explained by age or other factors

If you are very worried about worms, a vet can identify then from a faecal test. But because all chickens have worms, and the purpose of worm control is ensuring chicken worm loads do not become high enough to cause health issues, regular deworming is advisable even without a test.

Types of chicken and poultry worms

There are many types of worms and parasites which can infest chooks. The most common are:

  • Threadworm (also called a hairworm)
  • Roundworm
  • Caecal Worm
  • Tapeworm

Worms that don't live in the intestine are not covered in this article. But for your reference, two of the most common are gapeworm, which live in the throat, and eyeworm, which affect the eye. Read about diagnosing and treating gapeworm in chickens here.

Coccidia are another chicken parasite that live in the intestine and may have similar symptoms to worms in mild cases. You can read more about coccidiosis here.

How to treat worms in Chickens

For chicken worming, we recommend Kilverm Poultry Wormer. It is suitable for all poultry and is safe for laying hens. Kilverm Wormer for poultry is effective as both a preventative and a treatment for active infestations. You can also use it for meat birds, breeders and ornamental birds.

Now here is the best part. You can deliver the appropriate dosage to your flock through their drinking water. Here are some guidelines to help you get the most out of Kilverm Worm treatment for chickens and poultry.

How to treat worms in Chickens

  1. Preparation

    Withhold drinking water for two hours before nightfall on the day before you plan to administer the treatment

  2. Calculate how much mixture

    The dosage for Kilverm Wormer is 10ml per 200ml of fresh water. In the morning, measure the correct dosage and mix with the correct amount of fresh water. Chickens can occasionally refuse the medication due to the taste. Adding a little honey (1-2 T per litre) will help.

  3. Administer the medication

    Clean out the Chicken Drinker and put the diluted chicken worming medicine into the Chicken Drinker. Now put the Drinker back in the coop.

  4. Other ways to administer chicken worming medicine

    The brilliant minds at Dine a Chook have come up with an ingenious way to deliver the medicine to your flock. Our all new 2lt Chicken Medicine Drinker is perfect for worming. Simply pour 100ml of poultry wormer into our Medication Drinker and top up with fresh water.

    Clean the coop thoroughly with disinfectant or Apple Cider Vinegar ACV 24 hours after you administer the medicine to help prevent re-infestation. 

    If treating an infestation, repeat the medication 2 weeks after the initial treatment. If using the medication as a preventative dewormer, re-treatment may not be necessary.

Things to avoid when using Kilverm:

It is important to remember Kilverm is a medicine and as such you should use it as per the directions. 

You should not administer this medication when chickens are under stress, showing signs of illness or brooding. It is recommended to worm birds prior to breeding.

Do not administer in extreme heat - we usually try to worm our chickens in spring and autumn. We avoid worming in summer unless chickens are showing symptoms of worm problems.

Treating Laying hens:

Kilverm is safe to use with laying hens. There is no withholding period for eggs.

Treating Meat Birds for Consumption:

A withholding period of 7 days is required when you administer Kilverm to birds to be slaughtered for consumption.

Ways to prevent worms in Chickens:

It is impossible to fully prevent worms in chickens however here are some great ideas to minimise infestations:

  • Prevent rodents in the coop
  • Protect your chickens from contact with wild birds, if possible, or at least keep wild birds out of the coop
  • Never feed your chickens on the ground, always use a Feeder
  • Keep feed off the floor 
  • Never use a Feeder or Drinker that can easily become contaminated with faeces
  • Do not install Feeders or Drinkers underneath roosts
  • Avoid overcrowding
  • Clean the coop regularly 
  • Using a droppings board underneath the roosts can also help keep things clean
  • Keep the coop and run as dry as possible and free of puddles
  • Worm new chickens (adults) before adding them to the flock

Because all chickens have worms, the best way to prevent severe infestations or health issues in your chickens is regular deworming. Deworm twice a year, in spring and autumn, with Kilverm Wormer for poultry.

Keep in mind that while some natural remedies may have a deterrent effect on worms, including pumpkin seeds and Apple Cider Vinegar, they are not a dewormer and they are not effective enough to replace regular deworming with a product like Kilverm.

Shop here for Kilverm Poultry Wormer

Discover and learn more ways to keep your Chickens Healthy in our Chicken Blog