Worming Chickens

Worms are something you are going to have to deal with at some point if you keep chickens and it is  easier to prevent worms than treat, so it is best to have a regular treatment routine set up to ensure healthy chickens.

As most of us keep chickens in a fixed area the ground can become contaminated with worm eggs the chickens then ingest when they are feeding. An infected hen sheds thousands of eggs in their faeces and the cycle continually gets worse, and can seriously affect the health of your birds or even be fatal.

We worm once a quarter but depending on the area your chickens have, whether their grazing area is rotated or not, the number of birds you have etc, a six monthly worming routine is probably adequate to keep them nice and worm free for the average small back yard flock.

What are worms and how do they affect my chickens?

All chickens love to scratch around the garden eating bugs and worms and these are not a problem to them, in fact it is good for them to get a regular helping to increase their protein intake.

The worms we are talking about are parasitic worms and there are 3 types a chicken can contract.

  1. Roundworms – There are several different types of which the large round worm is most common and generally the ones you will see in the droppings if any. There are also threadworms and hairworms and they are found in your chickens digestive system.
  2. Tapeworms – These worms are less common and attach themselves to the intestinal lining of a chicken. They can weaken your chickens immune system and leave them susceptible to other health problems.
  3. Gapeworms – Again less common, these worms attach themselves to the trachea of the chicken and cause the chicken to gape or gasp for air. These worms are not treated by many of the worm treatments so if you suspect a case of Gapeworm seek advise on a treatment program.

How can I tell if my chicken has worms?

In severe cases you may actually see worms in their droppings but usually it can be really hard to tell if they have worms. You may see frothy diarrhoea, they may eat more than usual, egg yolk colour can go pale, the chicken may suffer from weight loss and of course as they get sicker they will remove themselves from the flock, drop their wings and head and generally look unwell.

What are my options for treating worms?

There are many options available for worming and many people use the pour-on designed for sheep and goats. These work but you must be careful to weigh your birds and get dosages right, too little and the treatments are ineffective and too much can result in sick or dead birds.

If you have or suspect a bad infestation of worms it is best to treat the flock then treat again 3 weeks later to break the cycle. It takes 3 weeks for most common worms carried by chickens to hatch and grow into adult worms to lay more eggs.

At Feathered Friends Poultry we use two options that are easy to administer and you can get either of them from us when you collect birds or we can post out to you on request.

Aviverm Poultry Wormer is a quick and easy way to worm your chickens by adding to their water sources. You estimate the total weight of your birds and add 1ml per 9kg estimated total bird weight to their water for 8 hours then clean out and replace with fresh water.

Most birds are between 2kg to 4kg so if you average at 3kg per bird you see this is an efficient and cost effective way to treat, 6 birds can be treated with 2mls to about 2lt of water (based on about 300ml per chicken for a day)

Please note it is important to read the instructions on the bottle carefully and there is an egg withholding period of 7 days after treatment.

Flubenol 5% is the other worming solution we use with the added benefit of no egg withholding so you can continue to eat those precious eggs while and after treating. Flubenol is a powder you mix in with the chickens food and feed to them for 7 consecutive days. For a few birds just mix 3gms of powder into 5kg of their food and feed out for the 7 days.

Read the instructions carefully but it is worth noting that tests show a dosage even three times recommended has shown no negative side effects in poultry.

The table below can be used as a guide for estimating the average weight of different breeds available in New Zealand but we recommend weighing them to be safe.

Chicken  Breed

 Female Weight
 (approx)

 Male Weight
 (approx)

 Ancona

 2 kg

 2.7 kg

 Araucana

 2.5 kg

 3 kg

 Barnevelder

 3 kg

 3.5 kg

 Campine

 2 kg

 2.5 kg

 Dorking

 4 kg

 6 - 6 kg

 Hamburg

 2 kg

 2 - 2.5 kg

 Leghorn

 2.5 kg

 3.4 kg

 New Hampshire Red

 3 kg

 4 kg

 Orpington

 3 - 4.5 kg

 4.5 kg

 Plymouth Rock

 3 kg

 4 kg

 Rhode Island Red

 3 kg

 4 kg

 Sussex

 3 kg

 4 kg

 Welsummer

 2.7 kg

 3.2 kg

 Wyandotte

 2.7 kg

 4 kg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × 3 =