In this article I describe some of the most common types of worms that infect chickens, what you can do to help prevent your hens from getting worms and finally, what I’ve found to be the best chicken wormer for laying hens. I also share what common egg withdrawl periods are for each product.
The Best Chicken Wormer
Hardly anybody likes to think about the horror of parasites, but they’re a reality for some chicken farmers. It’s important to be well-equipped if the time comes. Luckily, the problem has been gone over by many chicken farmers, and there are a variety of methods and medications you can use to protect your chickens from getting infected.
We can break the process into three categories of prevention, treatment, and post-treatment. Prevention outlines the steps you should take to minimize the chances of your hens catching anything. However, it’s important to recognize that there isn’t a single golden bullet. You can minimize the chances of an outbreak, but you can’t count on living totally pest-free forever.
Treatment usually involves giving your chickens some kind of medication, and you’ll need to pay attention to the quantity of medicine that your chickens are receiving. You’ll also need to pay attention to the egg withdrawal period, or the period of time you’ll need to wait before eating eggs from medicated or infected chickens.
Durvet Ivermectin Pour On Dewormer
Recommended Egg Withdrawl Period for Ivermectin : 10 days
The Durvet ivermectin medication is generally intended for cattle. Because of this, it might include instructions that need to be modified in order to use it properly. Generally, you’ll want to use a drop or two of ivermectin on the back of your chicken’s neck if you want to get rid of lice and mites. There’s conflicting information about the safety of ivermectin on egg-laying chickens. Some owners say that it’s perfectly fine to use on them, but others say it’s not. Even though the product isn’t FDA approved, it’s good to know about because it’s commonly used by many chicken farmers.
If you do choose to use ivermectin on your chickens, some retailers have suggested that you should wait at least five days before eating any eggs from that chicken. Theoretically, this should allow the medicine to pass through the chicken’s system and prevent you from accidentally eating a medicated egg. Still, there hasn’t been much official research done on this.
Durvet ivermectin also treats roundworm in cows, but it is sold as a topical product. In any case, be careful not to overdose your chickens with a product like this. You’ll want to shoot for about one drop of medication for every pound the chicken weighs. Some farmers don’t follow any egg withdrawal period and eat the eggs while the chicken is being treated. Because of the reasons outlined above, an egg withdrawal period of at least five days would be much safer, but there isn’t any official guideline for its use on chickens. There may be reason to wait even longer than five days though.
When it’s used on cattle, the outlined withdrawal periods for ivermectin state that you ought to wait 35 to 48 days before eating any meat from the animal. Additionally, ivermectin is not FDA approved for use on dairy animals, and any amount of ivermectin in the milk of a dairy cow is considered an FDA violation. Other sources say that the medication will no longer be detectable in a dairy cow 53 days after it is applied. This number could be applied to chickens in order to get a rough estimate of how long you should wait before eating their meat or eggs, but it’s ultimately a judgment call.
Products like ivermectin are useful in that they’re topical, which will likely make them more effective in bugs and parasites that live on the outside of your chicken. Additionally, they’re very widely used. This makes it easier for you to get second-hand information about them from the experiences of your local farming community. It can also treat roundworms, which are one of the most common parasites you can face as a chicken owner. The only downside is that there is limited academic information about the safety of ivermectin on poultry.
Durvet Strike III Poultry Natural Dewormer
Recommended Egg Withdrawl Period for Durvet Strike III: No withholding required for eggs
Durvet Strike III dewormer includes natural deworming agents like diatomaceous earth and pumpkin seeds. This makes it a less invasive option than ivermectin. It’s easy to use because you can simply put it in the feed trough, and it’s a natural solution that doesn’t include any egg withdrawal period.
There are downsides for a product like this. While it’s a minimally invasive option, there’s limited academic literature to show that it actually works to eliminate parasites. While some chicken farmers swear by diatomaceous earth, others might tell you that it simply doesn’t do anything. Still, there’s little harm in trying a product like this and moving on to something stronger later.
Wazine 17 Chicken Dewormer
Recommended Egg Withdrawl Period for Wazine 17: 2 weeks
Wazine is a great product because it’s approved for use on chickens, and it has a published egg withdrawal period of two weeks. This gives you a little more peace of mind because you’ll know for sure that people have done actual research on the chemical.
Wazine is a great choice because it kills roundworms, which are the most common pest that you’ll have to worry about as an egg farmer. It only kills adult worms though, so you’ll need to use another chemical within a month of the initial treatment to fully get rid of the infestation.
If the egg withdrawal period is followed and it’s paired with another drug that can get rid of parasite eggs, wazine is a great option to keep on hand.
Verm-x Liquid Poultry & Fowl Internal Parasite Dewormer
Recommended Egg Withdrawl Period for Verm-x: No withholding required for eggs
The Verm-x dewormer is made entirely from natural ingredients. This means that it doesn’t have an egg withdrawal period. For the most ecologically-minded chicken farmers, this might be a good product to pair with diatomaceous earth at first.
The seller of Verm-x has stated that the product contains homeopathic ingredients, which might make the product less effective. If you want to give this product a shot, it’s very unlikely to cause any harm to your chickens. If you wait a couple weeks and find that it hasn’t done anything to help, it would be time to move up to something stronger like wazine or ivermectin.
Merial Corid Liquid
Recommended Egg Withdrawl Period for Corid: No withholding required for eggs
Finally, we have merial corid liquid. Its active ingredient is amprolium, which is a coccidostat. In other words, it treats coccidiosis, which is an infection that chickens tend to get when they live in overcrowded conditions. The product is really good at treating this specific kind of infection, but it’s not a substitute for Wazine if your chickens have roundworm.
Amprolium is FDA approved for use in chickens, so there is no withdrawal period that you need to worry about. The only thing to take into account when using this product is the sort of infection you’re trying to eliminate. Coccidosis spreads quickly through flocks of chickens, so if you see the signs it’s best to move quickly.
Types of Worms that are Harmful to Chickens (And How To Treat Them)
The prepatent period refers to how long a given worm will need to incubate after infecting the host before you can tell there’s been an infected. The prepatent period for each worm is going to be different, but it will usually be at least two weeks. Unfortunately, this means that you likely won’t be able to medicate your chickens until the infection has already set in. On the other hand, parasites can’t really do much harm until the prepatent period has passed.
Hairworm is a pretty dangerous worm to deal with because it can quickly kill your chickens. Hairworm infects the insides of your chicken, and it causes pretty much everything to swell. The primary symptoms of hairworm are diarrhea and general malaise. As a general rule, you should give a little more attention to a chicken if it just doesn’t look like it’s doing too well. It may be a sign of an infection that could be spread, or have already spread, to your other chickens.
Topical treatment might not be as effective in eliminating parasites that live on the inside of the chicken. With that said, products like ivermectin have been proven to work against roundworm and hairworm in some birds. If you’re looking for another option to treat hairworm, look for products containing albendazole.
Roundworm is likely the most common parasite for chickens. They tend to live in the intestines of whatever animal they’ve nfected. Some common symptoms of roundworm include diarrhea, weight loss, and poor feather quality. Typically, internal parasites live off of the food that the animal is eating, so weight loss tends to be a common feature of many different sorts of parasites.
Again, products like ivermectin are known to work against roundworms. A better option might be one containing wazine. This solution is proven to work and has academic studies to support its effectiveness.
Tapeworm and Gapeworm
Your chickens can be infected with tapeworm, which mimics the common symptoms of infection like weight loss, malaise, and diarrhea. However, tapeworms aren’t as big of a concern. While severe infections can be fatal, they are uncommon and generally not something to lose sleep over. There are conflicting opinions about the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth on tapeworms, but
Gapeworms are a little bit more worrisome. Rather than living in the digestive tract, these parasites uniquely live in the windpipe of the chicken. A gapeworm infection can kill a chicken pretty quickly by suffocating it. If you see a chicken gaping and gasping for air, there’s a chance it has gapeworm.
Broad-spectrum dewormers are a good choice for dealing with a gapeworm infection. Some chicken farmers have recommended products that contain flubendazole, which can treat a variety of parasites.
Coccidiosis is something you should worry about if you have chicks, because they’re especially susceptible to the disease. Unlike the other parasites mentioned in this article, coccidiosis is a protozoa instead of a worm. This means that it can spread and incubate more quickly.
The disease can be effectively managed with a medication that contains amprolium. After your chickens catch it once or twice, they likely will be immune to it. It’s less of a concern for free-range hens, but you should watch out for it if your chickens live in a confined area.
Tips on How To Prevent Chickens From Getting Worms
Pay attention to the bugs that your chickens are eating
This tip might be more or less helpful depending on your personal farming setup, but it’s especially important for chicken farmers that let their chickens walk and scavenge in the grass. Some areas may have a higher or lower concentration of bugs like worms, slugs, and snails. These bugs in particular carry parasites that can be harmful to chickens and force you to give your flock worm medication.
Move your chickens after a parasite outbreak
This second tip follows from the first. If you end up having a parasite outbreak, it’s likely that the parasites that infect your chickens have infected the bugs that are living in the area. This means that your chickens will merely get re-infected once they’re off the medication.
By moving your chickens, you’re minimizing the risk of re-infection by removing any potential for them to be exposed to the same bugs and insects that caused the issue to begin with. Moving your flock of chickens also forces you to clean the area to some extent, which goes into the third tip.
Keep your pen clean
Giving your chickens a clean pen can be helpful for a multitude of reasons. A clean doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t have a dirt floor and that it must be spotless. It does mean that bedding should be changed periodically in order to prevent a buildup of waste. The floor should also be swept out periodically so that your chickens aren’t living in a filthy environment.
This helps your chickens groom themselves, which helps to protect their immune system. It’s also a very non-invasive method for keeping away other pests like mites. Chickens aren’t naturally the cleanest animals in existence, but they do have their own ways of keeping themselves clean, and having a clean environment will enable them to take care of themselves as much as they can.
Keep your chicken feed away from any chicken poop
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can cause problems more than you might think. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that you have a designated feeding area with feeding troughs that keep feed off the ground.
Keeping feed off the ground will prevent the chickens from getting directly exposed to any parasites that might be living in the dirt. It can also minimize the chance that your chickens accidentally ingest any fecal matter that’s infected.
Don’t overcrowd your coop
Much like the fourth tip, this one deals with hygiene. While it might seem economical to pack lots of chickens into a tiny coop, it’s better if you let your chickens have a little more space. Overcrowded coops breed many problems. They can stress out your chickens, which makes them worse at laying eggs.
It can also lead to them being aggressive towards each other, which could result in a fight. You definitely don’t want your chickens hurting each other because this can make them more susceptible to getting infected with a parasite if they’re exposed. Open wounds are generally bad news.
An overcrowded coop will also tend to get dirty faster. This makes it a perfect breeding ground for parasites. It also makes it harder for chickens to keep themselves clean, which helps reduce the stress of your chickens and helps them prevent mites.
Can Humans Get Worms From Chicken Eggs?
The short answer to this question is no. While there is a pretty wide variety of parasites and worms that can infect your chickens, the vast majority of them can’t live inside the human body. With that said, it’s not a good idea to eat chicken eggs that clearly have worms in them. Additionally, you should avoid eating eggs from chickens that are clearly infected with some sort of parasite. Not only is it gross, but it could potentially be harmful to your health even if you don’t get infected.
Parasites like worms are a reality for many chicken owners, and there’s quite a few options available for treating them. But if you’re looking for the best chicken wormer for laying hens, you should consider the Durvet Strike III Poultry Natural Dewormer. You can read more about it by clicking on the image below.
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