Skip to Content

How To Deworm Chickens

How To Deworm Chickens

Oh no! You discovered your chickens have worms. Now that you are officially grossed out, what should you do next?

While finding out that your chickens have worms is undoubtedly unsettling, it is important to know that humans cannot become infested with the same worms that infest chickens. The worms that chickens have are relatively species specific, and don’t directly cross over into humans.

Please note: I am not a veterinarian. Many of the treatmets mentioned herein are not FDA approved for chickens or other backyard poultry. While all information in this guide has been gathered from scholarly articles, research papers and poultry veterinary manuals, Heritage Acres Market LLC is not liable for any injury, illness or death that results in the information within. Please see our full disclaimer.

PIN THIS POST

how to worm chickens

How Do Chickens Get Worms?

Chickens generally are exposed to worms through intermediary hosts like grasshoppers and other bugs. They may also pick up worms from other infected chickens or wild birds.

Tapeworms, for example, are spread to chickens by snails, slugs, beetles, grasshoppers, earthworms, termites and houseflies. These are called intermediate hosts. Intermediate hosts are insects that have consumed feces from another animal who had tapeworms. When the intermediate host consumed the infected feces, it also ingests tapeworm eggs.

When a chicken eats a grasshopper that is an intermediate host, the egg that was in the grasshopper hatches into a larva and attaches itself in the chickens’ intestines. As the tapeworm grows inside of the chicken, the tapeworm releases body segments into the digestive tract, resulting in chicken feces with tapeworm segments and eggs. Insects passing through consuming these tapeworm segments and the cycle repeats itself.

Symptoms of Infestation

Your birds may have worms even if you haven’t seen any worms in their feces. Common symptoms of internal worm infestation include:

How To Deworm Chickens 2
  • Pale comb and waddles
  • Weakness (droopy wing, struggling to stand)
  • Lethargy (tiredness, keeps eyes closed)
  • Constant puffed feathers with neck pulled in
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea, sometimes foamy
  • Death
  • Gasping or coughing (for gape worms only)

If your birds are exhibiting any of these symptoms, I recommend testing for worms.

Testing for Worms

Before you can properly treat your birds, you’ll need to positively identify what kind of worms you are up against. Most worm treatments are specific to the kind of worm they are effective against.

There are only a few kinds of worms that infect chickens, and you can probably search google images (or take a look at the pictures below) and get an idea of what kind of worm you found. However, in order to be truly effective, you should send a stool sample for testing. Testing can determine how severe the infestation is, and let you know if your birds are infested with additional worms that you may not have found.

Your birds may have worms even if you don’t actually find any worms in their feces. This is why a fecal float test is so important.

To have your chickens’ stool tested, try contacting your local veterinary clinic and ask them if they perform poultry fecal float tests. If not, there are a few mail-in options such as this one. Alternatively, you can perform fecal float tests at home with only a few supplies- most notably a microscope. Although this guide is intended for testing goat feces, it’s a great resource that covers the equipment needed and the basic process.

Types of Worms

Now that you have a positive ID from the fecal float test, let’s take a deeper look at the kinds of worms that infect chickens.

Tapeworm

Tapeworms are in the Cestode family and live in the chicken’s intestines. They are easily seen in birds feces. Tapeworms are short, flat white segments the size of a grain of rice that flexes slowly.

Tapeworms may also be found in chicken eggs.

Tapeworms generally do not cause physical damage to the intestinal lining, however, they take nutrients away from the bird, leaving it weak, pale, malnourished and susceptible to other infections.

One variety of tapeworm, Davainea proglottina, can cause intestinal damage which may lead to intestinal infections. If the infection spreads to the chickens head, it may present with neurological problems like wry neck.

Chickens contract tapeworms from infested chickens or eating snails, slugs, beetles, grasshoppers, mini-wisps, ants, earthworms, termites, and houseflies.

Treatment for tapeworms includes Praziquantel, Albendazole or Fenbendazole.

Roundworm

Roundworms (Ascaridia galli) are a nematode that lives in a chickens intestines. They are large, long, thin, yellow-white worms often found in feces. Roundworms may also be found in chicken eggs.

Chickens become infected with roundworms when exposed to other infected chickens.

Heavy infections can cause a blockage in the birds intestines which can prevent the crop from emptying and can be mistaken for sour crop.

Treatment for roundworms includes garlic, turmeric root extract, Albendazole, Fenbendazole, Ivermectin, Levamisole, and Piperazine.

Cecal Worm

Cecal worms (Heterakis gallinarum) are small thin worms that infest the chickens ceca (see diagram below) and are expelled through feces. Cecal worms may also be found in chicken eggs. Chickens can contract cecal worms from crowded environments and from eating earthworms.

Cecal worms are also the main carrier of Blackhead Disease. Chickens can often be infected with Blackhead and show no symptoms. However, Blackhead Disease is a significant concern for turkeys, therefore chickens and turkeys should not be raised together.

Treatment for cecal worms includes Fenbendazole, Ivermectin, and Levamisole.

Capillary worm (aka Hairworm or threadworm)

Capillary worms are tiny, hairlike worms about 1/4″ long that reside in the chickens crop, esophagus, mouth or upper intestines.

Capillary worms are in the nematode family, and several Capillaria species can infest chickens. Each species infests a specific anatomical location on the chicken.

Chickens pick up capillary worm infestations from infected chickens and earthworms.

Treatment for capillary worms includes Albendazole, Ivermectin, Levamisole, Tetramisole, Thiabendazole, and Mebendazole.

Flukes

Flukes are Trematoda parasitic worms that chickens can contract when they come in contact with wild birds or consume snails or dragonflies. They are much less common than the other worms listed here.

One variety of fluke, Prosthogonimus macrorchis, infests the oviduct. Birds are exposed to this worm after consuming infected dragonflies. Another variety, Collyriclum faba, are found in oozing cysts under the birds skin. These cysts can be found anywhere, but most often found around the vent.

Flukes may be found in the chickens feces or eggs. In addition to symptoms of weakness, birds may also have thin-shelled eggs, decreased egg production, and cloacal discharge.

Treatment for flukes is fenbendazole.

Gapeworm

Gapeworm, Syngamus trachea, is a parasitic nematode found in the trachea (windpipe). Gapeworms are small, bright red, Y shaped worms. Worms are red as they feed on chickens blood. In heavy infestations, the worms can block the birds trachea.

Chickens obtain gapeworms from other infested chickens, wild birds, and by eating earthworms, snails or slugs.

Infected chickens can be seen stretching their neck out, shaking their head, breathing with an opened mouth, gasping, grunting, coughing or wheezing.

Treatment for gapeworms includes Levamisole, Ivermectin, Fenbendazole, and Albendazole.

How To Deworm Chickens 7
Chicken exhibiting classic gapeworm breathing. Photo source: https://alchetron.com/Gapeworm

Eye worm

Eyeworm, Oxyspirura mansoni, is a parasitic nematode that lives on or behind a chickens eye. Eyeworm is contracted by consuming infested cockroaches or being exposed to infected wild birds. Eyeworm is also sometimes called Oxyspiruriasis.

Chickens can be seen scratching their eyes. Their eyelids may also be stuck together, or red and inflamed. Without treatment, they will eventually lose sight in the infected eye.

If a bird is found to have eyeworm, it should be isolated from the flock. Medical intervention is needed for manual removal or the worms and medicated eye drops.

How To Treat Chickens

Once you have confirmed the type of worm your chickens have, you’ll need to treat them with the appropriate medication. Each worm medication treats specific worms so it’s important to identify the worms so you can effectively treat your birds.

When treating birds, be sure to treat your entire flock. If one bird has worms, it’s very likely that all of the birds in the flock have them as well. If you don’t treat the entire flock, the birds will continue to pass the worms to each other.

FDA approved treatment

When choosing a medication, it is important to note that piperazine (sold as Wazine and only treats roundworms) is the only FDA approved dewormer. Therefore, treatment with any of the other worm medications is considered off label, and not legal for commercial operations and egg producers.

Because these treatments are off label for chickens, you’ll be purchasing dewormers for livestock such as goats, horses or cattle. Others are sold for pigeons, raptors or fish.

Egg & Meat withdrawal

Some medications stay in the birds systems for an extended period of time. After treatment, be sure to follow the egg and meat withdrawal timeframes.

Egg and meat withdrawal refers to the amount of time that a measurable amount of a medication can be found in the eggs or meat. For example, the egg withdrawal for Fenbendazole is 17 days. This means that the day after they finish taking all of their medication, including a second dose, is day 1 and eggs need to be thrown away for 17 days before they can be eaten again.

Eating eggs with trace amounts of dewormer can be harmful to humans. It’s also illegal to sell eggs with traces of the medication in them. Consuming these eggs can cause allergic reactions (if the consumer is allergic to the dewormer that was used), or may interact with certain prescription medications.

An important note about egg and meat withdrawal- as mentioned before, the majority of these medications are NOT FDA approved. Therefore, many of the chicken deworming medications listed here are off label use and were never intended to be used for chickens. Since they were not meant for chickens, many of them have minimal studies for egg and meat withdrawal in chickens. Most chicken groups suggest a 14 day egg withdrawal for worm medications, however, I usually stick to 30 days.

Repeat & Rotate Medications

Most worm medications will need to be repeated with a second dose, generally within 10-21 days depending on the medication. The first dose kills adult worms but does not kill worm eggs. The second dose kills the young worms that hatched. If you don’t administer the second dose, the birds will become reinfested.

Worm medications should be rotated. If you treat with fenbendazole for cecal worms, a subsequent infestation should be treated with a different medication like Levamisole. A third infection could be treated with fenbendazole. Rotating treatments reduces the chances of the worms building a resistance to the medication.

Fenbendazole, albendazole, and oxfendazole are all very similar, so they should not be rotated with each other.

Calculating Dosages

Some medications must be administered by weight. Most of these dosages will be given in the metric system, for example, 10mg/kg. So, how do we calculate this?

First, you’ll need to weigh your chicken. Try to get an accurate weight. This is easiest when you put the bird in a box or pet carrier, weigh them, and then subtract the weight of the container.

Let’s say your chicken weighs 6 pounds. Next, we need to convert this to kilograms (or kg). One kilogram is equal to 2.2 pounds, so you’ll need to divide your chickens weight by 2.2. You can also google “what is _ pounds in kg”, and it will convert the weight for you.

In this case, our 6 pound chickens weighs 2.73 kg (6 / 2.2= 2.73 kg).

If our medication dosage is 10mg/kg, how many mg do we give our chicken? In this dosage, for every kilogram of weight, the bird will need 10mg medication. Our 6 pound chicken weighs 2.73 kg. Our calculation looks like this: 2.73 kg x 10 mg= 27.3mg. Therefore, a 2.73 kg will need 27.3 mg of medication.

Example 2

As another example, let’s say we need to give fenbendazole at a dose of 15 mg/kg. The chicken weighs 7 pounds 9 ounces.

Step 1- convert the weight to kilograms

7 pounds 9 ounces is 7.56 pounds. 7.56 pounds x 2.2 kg= 3.43 kg

Step 2- calculate dosage

Dose is 15 mg/kg. Chicken weighs 3.43 kg.

15 mg x 3.43 kg = 51.45 mg rounded up to 51.5 mg

Our 7 pound 9 ounce chicken needs 51.5 mg of fenbendazole.

Step 3- calculate volume

Ok, so our chicken needs 51.5 mg of medication, but what does that mean?

Fenbendazole is Safe-guard. Looking at this bottle, you’ll see its packaged as 100mg/ml.

How To Deworm Chickens 9

We need to administer 51.5 mg. So, how many ml do we give? To figure it out, we divide…

51.5 mg / 100 mg= 0.5 ml

So, we will give our chicken 0.5 ml of Safe-guard and it will receive 51.5 mg of medicine.

If you need more help calculating drug dosages, there are a. number of online resources. This one is quite good. You may also like this weight-based dosage calculator.

Oral & Injection dosing

When giving medications orally, it is very important to avoid injecting medication into the birds trachea (the hole in their tongue). Here is a great guide for oral dosing in peafowl, but the information applies to chickens as well.

If you are giving injected medications in the subcutaneous or intramuscular sites, please review this resource.

When not to treat

Deworming chickens is pretty tough on their bodies. It is best to avoid deworming chickens during their molt and during extremely cold winter months when they are already being stressed. During and after deworming, chickens benefit from added probiotics and nutrient-dense treats.

Medications

How To Deworm Chickens 10

Quick note on listed medication dosages- 1 cc is equal to 1 ml

Praziquantel

Praziquantel is a non-FDA approved, off label treatment for tapeworms in chickens, therefore you’ll find is as a treatment for pigeons. It can only be administered orally.

Praziquantel is not generally sold by itself, and often in combination with other worm medications like Oxfendazole or Pyrantel pamoate.

Common Praziquantel containing medications include Wormer Deluxe Powder (which I have used with much success), Avioworm Powder, Mediworm Powder and Wormout Gel. It’s also sold as Droncit or Biltricide.

Praziquantel Dosage
Administered once at a dose of 10-20 mg/kg given orally
Repeat in 10-14 days
_____
Chapter 18. Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications, by B. W. Ritchie et al., Wingers, 1994. http://avianmedicine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/18.pdf

Ivermectin

Ivermectin is a non-FDA approved, off label treatment for cecal worms, capillary worms, and gapeworms. It can be administered orally, in drinking water or injected in the subcutaneous space. Ivermectin also treats mites and lice.

Ivermectin has a recommended egg withdrawal of 7 days. [17]

Ivermectin is sold as Ivermax, Ivomec, and Ivermectin. It comes in three forms, injectable, drench (oral solution), and pour on (external application). The pour on is not to be injected or given by mouth.

Two doses were found for poultry applications:

Ivermectin Dosage
Administered once at a dose of
0.2-0.4 mg/kg orally, topically or intramuscular/subcutaneous injection
Repeat in 10-14 days
Source: http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/ivermectin

Ivermectin Dosage
Injectable or Drench: Administer orally at a dose of 0.25 ml per large breed bird, or 6-7 drops (0.1 ml) per bantam. Or in drinking water at a dose of 4 ml per gallon for 2 days
Pour on: Apply with eyedropper to the back of the neck. Administer 1-3 drops per bantam, 4 drops for lighweight breed, 5 drops per heavy breed, 6 drops for extra large or feathery breeds (like silkies).
Repeat in 14 days
___________
Source: Damerow, Gail. The Chicken Health Handbook, 2nd Edition A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease. 2nd ed., Storey Publishing, 2016.

Oxfendazole

Oxfendazole is a non-FDA approved, off label treatment for roundworms. It is generally sold as a water-soluble powder to be mixed in drinking water.

Oxfendazole is usually sold in combination with praziquantel. Common medications include Wormer Deluxe Powder (which I have used and recommend!), Wormout gel, or Wormaway.

Piperazine

Piperazine is the only FDA approved treatment for internal parasites in meat and egg-producing birds. It is commonly sold as Wazine, and only treats roundworms. It is mixed in drinking water.

Per the Wazine label, chicken meat withdrawal is 14 days. Wazine is not permitted for use in chickens producing eggs for human consumption. In Australia and Canada, piperazine is approved for 1-time use in egg laying hens with a 0-day egg withdrawal. [23]

You may also find Pig Swig, which is a discontinued piperazine medication.

Wazine Dosage
4-6 weeks old: Administer 1 ounce per gallon of drinking water
Over 6 weeks old: Administer 2 ounce per 2 gallons of drinking water
Medicated water should be consumed in one day or less. Once consumed, switch to unmedicated drinking water. Repeat every 30 days as needed.
Source: Wazine label

Piperazine Dosage
For ascarids (roundworms): Administer 100–500 mg/kg once orally; repeat in 10 –14 days
For nematodes (capillary worms or cecal worms): Administer Piperazine citrate: 45 – 100 mg/kg single dose or 6 –10 grams/gallon for 1– 4 days.
For Ascaridia galli (roundworms): 32 mg/kg (as base) (approximately 0.3 grams for each adult) given in each of 2 successive feedings or for 2 days in drinking water.
_____
Source: Plumb, Donald C. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 6th ed., Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

Pyrantel Pamoate

Pyrantel pamoate is a non-FDA approved, off label treatment for roundworms, capillary worms and cecal worms. It can be given orally or in drinking water.

Pyrantel pamoate is often sold in combination with another medication like praziquantel. It’s sold under names such as Drontal, Virbantel, Avio-Coxiworm, and Mediworm.

Pyrantel Pamoate Dosage
Administer 4.5 mg/kg once orally.
Repeat in 10-14 days.
Source: Plumb, Donald C. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 6th ed., Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

Levamisole

Levamisole is a non-FDA approved, off label treatment for roundworms, capillary worms and cecal worms. It can be given orally, in drinking water or injected.

In Australia, Levamisole has an egg withdrawal period of 7 days. [22]

Levamisole can be found as LevaMed, Prohibit, 5 in 1 (or All in One) or as generic Levamisole.

Three levamisole dosages were found:

Levamisole Dosage
Drench: Administer in drinking water at a dose of 10ml per gallon for one day
Injectable: Administer one subcutaneous injection at a dose of 25 mg/kg (or 1/4 ml per 2 pounds)
___________
Source: Damerow, Gail. The Chicken Health Handbook, 2nd Edition A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease. 2nd ed., Storey Publishing, 2016.

Levamisole Dosage
Administer once orally at a dose of 18–36 mg/kg
Source: Plumb, Donald C. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 6th ed., Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

Levamisole Dosage
Drench: Administer 5-15 ml per gallon of drinking water for 1-3 days
Injection: Administer 5 mg/kg as an intramuscular or subcutaneous injection. Repeat in 10-14 days
____
Source: Chapter 18. Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications, by B. W. Ritchie et al., Wingers, 1994. http://avianmedicine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/18.pdf

Albendazole

Albendazole is a non-FDA approved, off label treatment for roundworms, capillary worms, cecal worms, tapeworms and cecal worms.

Albendazole is often sold as Valbazen and must be given orally.

The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank notes an egg withdrawal period of 8 days (source).

Two dosages for albendazole were found:

Albendazole Dosage
5-50 mg/kg given orally
Source: http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/albendazole

Albendazole Dosage
Administered once orally at a dose of ¼ ml per bantam or ½ ml per large breed.
Repeated in 2 weeks.
Source: http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/tapeworms


Note: Pigeons and doves may be susceptible to albendazole and fenbendazole toxicity

Fenbendazole

Fenbendazole is a non-FDA approved, off label treatment for roundworms, capillary worms, cecal worms, tapeworms, flukes and gapeworms. It can be given orally, in drinking water, and the paste can be given in pea-sized doses. You may also mix a medicated solution in with feed.

The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank notes an egg withdrawal period of 17 days and meat withdrawal of 6 days. [20]

Fenbendazole is sold as Panacur, Safe-Guard and Fish Bendazole.

Fenbendazole can easily be given as a feed additive to treat the entire flock in one day. I have personally used this with success for tapeworms. You’ll want to purchase the 10% suspension (liquid) Safe-Guard for goats.

Four dosing options were found:

Fenbendazole one day treatment, mixed with feed:

  • Mix 1 ounce of 10% fenbendazole in 1 cup water
  • Stir the solution into 15-20 pounds of feed
  • Serve immediately as the only source of food. Once fully consumed, untreated feed can be given.
  • Repeat once in 10-14 days

Source: http://extension.msstate.edu/content/solutions-and-treatments

Fenbendazole Dosage
Liquid: Add 3 ml per gallon of drinking water
Paste: Administer a pea size portion to each chicken. Repeat in 10 days.
___________
Source: Damerow, Gail. The Chicken Health Handbook, 2nd Edition A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease. 2nd ed., Storey Publishing, 2016.

Fenbendazole Dosage
Administer 15 mg/kg given orally, once a day for 3 days Source: http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/fenbendazole

Fenbendazole Dosage
For roundworm: Administer 20-50 mg/kg once orally. Repeat in 10 days
For Flukes: Administer 20-50 mg/kg orally once daily for three days
For capillary worms: Administer 20-50 mg/kg orally once daily for five days
_____
Source: Chapter 18. Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications, by B. W. Ritchie et al., Wingers, 1994. http://avianmedicine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/18.pdf

Where To Buy Medications

Additional resources

For more information on medications and dosing, please consider these resources:

Alternative Treatments

What About Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a common suggestion for deworming on many social media outlets. There is a large number of people who prefer to use natural treatments for ailments, so the idea of feeding chickens pumpkins to treat for worms instead of giving medication is very appealing.

This also spurs quite the debate on whether or not pumpkins are truly a treatment for worms, serve as a preventative, or just hogwash.

In 2019, the Turkish Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences released an article “Evaluation of the in vivo efficacy of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) seeds against gastrointestinal helminths of chickens”.

This study took place at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (Laguna, Philippines). In the experiment, three groups of wild chickens were studied. Before beginning the study, randomly selected birds were necropsied and examined for worms. The birds were found to have roundworms, cecal worms, and tapeworms (Raillietina)

In the study, one group was fed plain mash, a second group fed mash mixed with ground pumpkin seed, and a third group fed a mebendazole-medicated feed (mebendazole is a worm medication). At the end of the study, birds from each group were chosen at random and necropsied. Compared to mebendazole, test results showed that pumpkin seeds were “moderately effective” in reducing roundworms and tapeworms, and “marginally effective” in reducing cecal worms.

Source: https://dergipark.org.tr/en/download/article-file/734716

VetRx

VetRx is a homeopathic treatment composed of Canadian balsam, camphor, oil origanum, oil rosemary, and corn oil. Simply, VetRx for chickens is like Vicks for humans. While many promote VetRxs ability to relieve symptoms of respiratory infections, it does not offer any benefit in worm infestations. Read VetRx Manufacturer Label for more info.

Verm-X

Verm-X is a 100% natural formulation that helps maintain all areas of intestinal hygiene whilst being gentle on your animal’s gut and digestive system.

Per Verm-X website, “Verm-X works to create an environment in the gut and digestive system that is able to eradicate and expel intestinal challenges. Unlike some pharmaceutical products that act with a purging effect, Verm-X is very gentle. With the regular feeding of Verm-X this environment will stay maintained throughout the year.”

Also “Verm-X is a powerful product and the environment Verm-X builds in the gut is not only able to remove any current challenges but also acts as a preventative”

While I have not personally used Verm-X, I cannot offer any feedback as to its effectiveness. If you’d like to look into Verm-X for your flock, please see their website.

Corid

Corid, or amporlium, is only a treatment for coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is an intestinal parasite disease. Corid will not treat worms.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of ancient aquatic organisms called diatoms whose skeletons are made of silica. Diatomaceous Earth (also called DE) kills insects by cutting their skin and dehydrating them.

in 2011, Poultry Science Journal (Volume 90, Issue 7) published an article “Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens” (source). In this study, two different breeds of birds were fed feed with 2% DE added. One breed of bird (Lowmann Brown) is naturally parasite resistant, while the other breed of bird (Bovan Brown) is not as resistant.

After the study, it was found that the parasite resistant breed had no change to the parasite load. However the less parasite resistant breed had significantly fewer capillary worms, significantly fewer cecal worms, and slightly fewer coccidiosis parasites.

They also found both breeds weighed more and laid more and larger eggs.

DE makes a great, inexpensive additive to chickens feed. While DE can help reduce certain worm loads in some cases, it is not effective enough to be considered a cure.

Please note that silica is not good for your lungs, so be sure to wear respiratory protection when using DE.

Garlic

In 2011, Poultry Science published an article “Efficacy of allicin from garlic against Ascaridia galli infection in chickens”. This study tested a commercially available garlic product consisting of a high concentration of allicin (the active component of garlic) on poultry roundworms. This commercial garlic treatment is popular in Europe for treating worms in organic layer farms.

The study had 5 groups of chickens, a parasite free control group (Group 1) and 4 other groups that were intentionally infected with roundworms. Of these 4 infected groups, Group 2 was left untreated, Group 3 was treated with the recommended dose of allicin, Group 4 received 10x the recommended dose of allicin, and Group 5 was given 10 mg of flubendazole/kg for 1 week.

At the end of the study, the worm count in the allicin treated groups (Groups 3 & 4) were just as high as the untreated group (Group 2). The chickens that received flubendazole (Group 5) had no worms. It was concluded that allicin does not represent an alternative to flubendazole for the treatment of roundworms infections in chickens. [13]

Apple cider vinegar

There are many testimonials and anecdotal evidence out there that apple cider vinegar (ACV) treats worms by increasing the acidity in the intestines. Unfortunately, as with many herbal and homeopathic treatments, the scientific studies are limited. While I personally incorporate many natural solutions for flock health, there are also times when these treatments may not be the most appropriate. Herbal and homeopathic treatments are often best as a preventative, not a treatment. However, I respect everyone’s right to make the best choice for their own flock and individual situation.

ACV is one that is lacking in scientific studies for worms in chickens. I have spent many hours scouring the internet and reviewing literature and found very little on the effect of ACV on poultry worms.

In a 2019 article in the American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, a study was done on Awassi Sheep in Jordan. In this study, they found “Apple cider vinegar and ginger powder have a strong anthelmintic effect against gastrointestinal parasites”. It should be noted that this study was performed on sheep who carried different worms than chickens, and the amount of ACV and ginger powder given to the sheep was not noted. [9]

A 2016 article in the Saudi Medical Journal studied the effect of ACV on Giant Roundworm(Ascaris lumbricoides) eggs on raw vegetables. This study found that exposing the roundworms eggs to a 5% acetic acid (vinegar) solution for 30 minutes killed the eggs. Apple cider vinegar is 5-6% acetic acid. [10]

In the 2017 publication “Anthelmintics and their Application in Veterinary
Medicine”, it noes:

Other naturally occurring anthelmintics are: tobbacco, walnut,
wormwood, clove, kalonji seeds, Garlic, Malefern, Pineapple,
Diatomaceous earth, Soya and other legumes, Honey, water and
vinegar are mixed with warm water act as Vermifuges. Most of the
plants screened for anthelmintic activities reported are in vitro
studies and very few in vivo studies. Worm samples often used
are the Indian earth worm (Pheretima posthuma), Ascaridia galli,
Safaris lubricious, Heligmoisodes polygyrus and Nippostrongyllus
brasiliensis. [11]

Enejoh OS, Suleiman MM. Anthelmintics and their Application in Veterinary Medicine. Res Med Eng Sci. 2(3). RMES.000536. 2017. DOI: 10.31031/RMES.2017.02.000536

Lastly, PoultryDVM.com lists the following for roundworm prevention: “Occasionally providing apple cider vinegar in drinking water (20ml/L of water), however only should be used in non-galvanized drinkers.” [12]

There certainly seems to be some preliminary evidence that ACV may help prevent some types of worm infestation, however more research is needed.

How To Prevent Infestations

Measures can be taken to reduce the chances of worm infestation (or reinfestation). However, despite your best efforts, chickens may still end up getting worms.

When adding new birds to your flock, they should be quarantined for 30 days. If the new bird shows symptoms of worms or illness, it can be treated before adding it to your currently healthy flock.

Try to limit the birds exposure to intermediate hosts like snails, slugs, earthworms, cockroaches, wild birds, flies, etc. This can be a challenge, especially if your birds free-range.

Keep the coop and run clean and free of droppings. Infested chickens pass worms to other chickens via feces. Using the deep litter method can harbor worm eggs.

Adding First Saturday Lime to the bedding and dirt of the coop and run will kill worm eggs and improves the overall cleanliness.

SAVE 20% OFF YOUR FIRST SATURDAY LIME ORDER WITH CODE HERITAGEACRES

Infographics

How To Deworm Chickens 11

PIN THIS POST

how to worm chickens

FAQ

Can humans get worms from chickens?

While finding out that your chickens have worms is undoubtedly unsettling, it is important to know that humans cannot become infested with the same worms that infest chickens. The worms that chickens have are relatively species specific, and don’t directly cross over into humans.

What are the symptoms of chickens with worms?

Your birds may have worms even if you haven’t seen any worms in their feces. Common symptoms of internal worm infestation include:
Pale comb and waddles, Weakness (droopy wing, struggling to stand), Lethargy (tiredness, keeps eyes closed), Constant puffed feathers with neck pulled in, Weight loss, Diarrhea (sometimes foamy), Death, Gasping or coughing (for gape worms only)

What do worms look like in chicken poop?

Worms may look like spagetti or grains of rice. Pictures of worms can be seen above.

Will Apple cider vinegar kill worms in chickens?

There are many testimonials and anecdotal evidence out there that apple cider vinegar (ACV) treats worms by increasing the acidity in the intestines. Unfortunately, as with many herbal and homeopathic treatments, the scientific studies are limited. While I personally incorporate many natural solutions for flock health, there are also times when these treatments may not be the most appropriate. Herbal and homeopathic treatments are often best as a preventative, not a treatment. However, I respect everyone’s right to make the best choice for their own flock and individual situation.

Do you have to deworm chickens?

Yes, when a chicken has worms it will need to be dewormed. The dewormer used depends on the type of worm a chicken has. Chickens should not be preventativly wormed however, as this can cause a resistance to worm medication.

How often should you worm chickens?

Chickens should only be wormed when chickens are infested with worms.

What is a natural wormer for chickens?

Pumpkins, garlic, diatomaceous earth, apple cider vinegar and verm-x are all natural wormers that have varying efficacy. Each is cover in dept in this article.

Do pumpkin seeds Deworm chickens?

Pumpkins are a common suggestion for deworming on many social media outlets. There is a large number of people who prefer to use natural treatments for ailments, so the idea of feeding chickens pumpkins to treat for worms instead of giving medication is very appealing. This also spurs quite the debate on whether or not pumpkins are truly a treatment for worms, serve as a preventative, or just hogwash.
In 2019, the Turkish Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences released an article “Evaluation of the in vivo efficacy of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) seeds against gastrointestinal helminths of chickens”.

Is pumpkin a natural dewormer?

It may be, however more research is needed. In 2019, the Turkish Journal of Veterinary and Animal Sciences released an article “Evaluation of the in vivo efficacy of pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) seeds against gastrointestinal helminths of chickens”.

What can I use to deworm chickens?

There are a number of medications that may be used off label to deworm chickens. However you’ll need to identify what type of worm your bird has before chosing a dewormer as not all dewormers work on all kinds of worms.

Sources

  1. http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/capillaria-worms
  2. https://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/files/201396.pdf
  3. http://extension.msstate.edu/content/solutions-and-treatments
  4. https://www.msdvetmanual.com/poultry/helminthiasis/helminthiasis-in-poultry
  5. https://www.merckvetmanual.com/poultry/miscellaneous-conditions-of-poultry/fluke-infections-in-poultry
  6. https://dergipark.org.tr/en/download/article-file/734716
  7. Bunch, T. R.; Bond, C.; Buhl, K.; Stone, D. 2013. Diatomaceous Earth General Fact Sheet; National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University Extension Services. http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html.
  8. D. C. Bennett, A. Yee, Y.-J. Rhee, K. M. Cheng, Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens, Poultry Science, Volume 90, Issue 7, July 2011, Pages 1416–1426, https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01256
  9. Hayajneh, Firas F.M.F & Titi, Hosam & Alnimer, Mufeed & Irshaid, Rabie. (2019). Evaluation of commonly used anthelmintics resistance against Gastrointestinal Parasites Infection in Awassi Sheep in Jordan compared with alternative herbal anthelmentics. American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences. 14. 10.3844/ajavsp.2019.122.126.
  10. Beyhan, Yunus E et al. “Effects of acetic acid on the viability of Ascaris lumbricoides eggs. Is vinegar reliable enough to clean the vegetables?.” Saudi medical journal vol. 37,3 (2016): 288-92. doi:10.15537/smj.2016.3.13061
  11. Enejoh OS, Suleiman MM. Anthelmintics and their Application in Veterinary Medicine. Res Med Eng Sci. 2(3). RMES.000536. 2017. DOI: 10.31031/RMES.2017.02.000536
  12. http://www.poultrydvm.com/condition/roundworms
  13. F. C. Velkers, K. Dieho, F. W. M. Pecher, J. C. M. Vernooij, J. H. H. van Eck, W. J. M. Landman, Efficacy of allicin from garlic against Ascaridia galli infection in chickens, Poultry Science, Volume 90, Issue 2, February 2011, Pages 364–368, https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.2010-01090
  14. W. Malcolm Reid, James L. Mabon, William C. Harshbarger, Detection of Worm Parasites in Chicken Eggs by Candling, Poultry Science, Volume 52, Issue 6, November 1973, Pages 2316–2324, https://doi.org/10.3382/ps.0522316
  15. http://extension.msstate.edu/content/solutions-and-treatments
  16. http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/praziquantel
  17. http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/ivermectin
  18. Damerow, Gail. The Chicken Health Handbook, 2nd Edition A Complete Guide to Maximizing Flock Health and Dealing with Disease. 2nd ed., Storey Publishing, 2016.
  19. Plumb, Donald C. Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook. 6th ed., Blackwell Publishing, 2008.
  20. http://www.farad.org/publications/digests/122015EggResidue.pdf
  21. Chapter 18. Avian Medicine: Principles and Applications, by B. W. Ritchie et al., Wingers, 1994. http://avianmedicine.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/18.pdf
  22. http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/levamisole
  23. http://www.poultrydvm.com/drugs/piperazine

Egg withdrawal resources

Growing Hops ft Great Lakes Hops
← Previous
How To Compost ft Adrienne Jones
Next →

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.