Do you worm your free range poultry?

Why worm your poultry?

Many animals including chicken, turkeys and geese can suffer with worms. Birds kept outdoors or inside on sawdust, straw or other litter material can pick up worms. There are many welfare reasons why it is preferred to keep poultry in more natural systems but this means we need to take extra care to protect against parasites in these birds.

Where can worm eggs and larvae be found?
– On contaminated soil or bedding material
– Inside earthworms, insects and wild birds (intermediate hosts)
– Stuck to footwear, equipment and even cats and dogs

Once infection has been established it continues as each female worm inside the chicken lays thousands of eggs each day which then contaminate the environment in a constantly repeating cycle. Worm eggs on the ground can remain infectious for years and be resistant to disinfectants.  Parasitic worms can live in the intestines and the respiratory airways of chickens and other birds. There are many different types including roundworms, hairworms and gapeworms. These all produce eggs which are passed out in the faeces. The eggs are not immediately infectious – a stage of development is required into an immature larval worm when conditions are right. Either the egg or larvae can be eaten from the ground or via an intermediate host such as an earthworm containing a larval parasite.
What problems can worms cause?
Worms can compromise the welfare and health of your poultry and also affect the quality of the eggs being produced.
Chickens with worms can become ill, lose weight, are dull and in poor condition. Some may become anaemic, showing pale wattles and rough feathers. Some birds die. Sometimes there can be little external signs of worms despite an infection being present. Chickens with worms may lay fewer, smaller eggs and show poor shell colour and strength or
pale yolk colour. In a small number of cases worms have been found in the egg itself. Peak worm egg counts often coincide with peak egg production.

Prevention
It is almost impossible to completely prevent parasitic worms but there are certain good practices that can help:
– Always feed from feeders rather than direct on the ground
– If possible, move your poultry to clean grass on a regular basis
– Avoid muddy areas, put down pea shingle in strategic areas to clean feet and allow
droppings to dry
– Keep grass short to expose worm eggs to sunlight which destroys themWorming – how and when to aid your prevention measures
– Before putting chickens out to pasture
– All new birds prior to introducing to the established flock
– Routinely Spring, Summer and Autumn
Flubenvet®
This wormer is available in 60g pot which can be resealed and is enough to treat around 20 chickens.
Advantages of Flubenvet®
– Effective against gapeworm, large roundworms, caecal worms, hairworm and gizzard worm in chicken, turkeys and geese.
– Activity includes adult worms, larvae and eggs.
– Powder is mixed into normal feed and feed exclusively for 7 days
– No withholding period for eating eggs after treatment
We can supply Flubenvet® at competitive prices for your flock. Call us for prices and to discuss your requirements.