If you are a chicken keeper, you know how important it is to keep your birds healthy and happy. One of the biggest problems that poultry farmers face is worm infestations. Worms not only weaken the chickens’ immune system but also affect egg quality and production. The conventional way to tackle this problem is by using dewormers, but they contain chemicals that can harm the chickens in the long run. Here, we will share some natural ways to worm chickens, so you can ditch the chemicals and keep your feathered friends healthy and worm-free.
Understanding Worm Infestations in Chickens
Worms are a common problem in poultry farming. Chickens can contract different types of worms that can reside in their intestines or external areas. The most common worms that affect chickens are:
- Roundworms: Also known as ascarids, these worms are long and slender and can grow up to 8cm in length. They lay eggs that develop into larvae and infect the chicken through feces or contaminated soil.
- Tapeworms: These are flat, segmented worms that can grow up to 50cm in length. Chickens contract them by eating infected insects or creatures, such as beetles or earthworms.
- Cecal worms: These are tiny worms that can infect the cecum of chickens. Chickens can get infected by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.
- Gizzard worms: These are small, red worms that infect the gizzard of chickens. Chickens ingest the worm eggs through contaminated litter or soil.
Worms can cause a variety of symptoms in chickens, such as weight loss, diarrhea, poor egg quality, and low egg production. They can also weaken the chicken’s immune system, making them more susceptible to other diseases.
Non-Chemical Ways to Worm Chickens
The easiest way to prevent worms in chickens is through good husbandry practices. Here are some ways to naturally worm chickens:
Feed Garlic and Herbs
Garlic and herbs, such as thyme and oregano, have natural anti-parasitic properties that can help prevent infestations. They also boost the chicken’s immune system and promote overall health.
You can crush garlic and mix it into the feed or add herbs to their water. You can also make a paste by blending garlic and herbs with water and apply it to their feed. 1-2 cloves of garlic per day per bird is enough to discourage worms.
Provide Clean Water
It is important to provide clean, fresh water to your chickens to prevent the spread of parasites. If the water is contaminated, the chickens can contract worms or other diseases. Keep their waterers clean and replace the water regularly.
Practice Good Sanitation
Cleanliness is key in preventing worm infections in chickens. Keep their coop clean and dry by removing feces and replenishing the bedding. Regularly clean their feeders and waterers to prevent contamination.
Rotate their grazing area regularly to prevent the buildup of parasites in the soil. Avoid overcrowding and prevent chickens from coming into contact with wild birds or animals that can carry parasites.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural powder made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms. It is safe for chickens to ingest and can help prevent worm infestations. The powder is abrasive to worms, and when ingested, dehydrates them from the inside.
You can sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the coop floor or in their feed. Make sure to use food-grade diatomaceous earth and wear a mask when applying it.
Feed Pumpkin Seeds and Pomegranate Peel
Pumpkin seeds and pomegranate peel have natural anti-parasitic properties that can help keep your chickens healthy. The seeds contain cucurbitacin, which paralyzes worms, making them easy to pass through the chicken’s system. Pomegranate peel contains tannins, which are poisonous to parasites.
You can crush pumpkin seeds and mix them into their feed or give them as a treat. Dried, powdered pomegranate peel can be sprinkled on their feed or mixed with water and given as a drink.
Use Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural tonic that can help maintain a healthy gut flora in chickens. It can also help prevent worm infestations by making the gut environment less hospitable to parasites.
Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per gallon of water or mix it into their feed. You can also spray their coop with a 50:50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water to help repel pests.
Worms can be a significant problem in chicken farming, but there are natural ways to prevent infestations. By using garlic and herbs, providing clean water, practicing good sanitation, using diatomaceous earth, feeding pumpkin seeds and pomegranate peel, and using apple cider vinegar, you can keep your chickens healthy and free from worms without resorting to chemicals.
- Q: How often do I need to worm my chickens?
- Q: Can I use natural wormers alongside conventional dewormers?
- Q: Will natural worming methods affect egg production?
- Q: Is it safe to feed my chickens garlic and apple cider vinegar?
A: If you are using natural worming methods, such as the ones listed above, it is not necessary to deworm your chickens routinely. Instead, observe your birds for signs of infestation, such as weight loss or lethargy, and treat them accordingly.
A: It is not recommended to use natural wormers alongside conventional dewormers because it can lead to overdose or toxicity. Always consult with a veterinarian before administering any medication to your chickens.
A: No, natural worming methods will not affect egg production. In fact, they can even improve egg quality and increase egg production by keeping your chickens healthy.
A: Yes, garlic and apple cider vinegar are safe for chickens to consume in moderation. Garlic can help boost their immune system, while apple cider vinegar can help maintain a healthy gut flora.
- “12 Natural Remedies for Chicken Worms.” Fresh Eggs Daily, 29 May 2018, fresheggsdaily.com/blog/12-natural-remedies-for-chicken-worms.
- Bowman, Dwight D. Poultry Diagnostic and Research Center: Internal Parasite Control. University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 2013.
- “Diatomaceous Earth – An Overview.” ScienceDirect Topics, 2021, sciencedirect.com/topics/earth-and-planetary-sciences/diatomaceous-earth.