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How Do You Tell If Your Chickens Have Worms?

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How do you tell if chickens have worms? If you have chickens running around in your backyard, they almost certainly have some type of worms or parasites.

The only way to know what type or how bad the parasites are in your flock is to take a fecal sample to your local vet. Before you make your trip to the vet though, you need to call the office and ask them how much fecal matter they need, what kind of container to put it in and if they have any other suggestions. Someone in the office will then look at the samples that you provided under a microscope and look for any parasites.

Your chickens roam around either free range or in a chicken run and they tend to eat most anything. Since you eat the eggs they produce and possibly the chickens, you eat what they eat. So, it's always a good idea to worm your chickens once a year even if you don't have a fecal test done.

I tend to worm my chickens when it gets cold outside simply because they don't produce very many eggs during this time. You can't eat the eggs that are being laid while they are being wormed and for a period of time after you have stopped worming them. This is just my preferred method and you may want to check with your vet to see what is recommended for your area.

Never worm chicks that are not at least 6 weeks old. You can purchase wormers at most feed stores or at a place like Tractor Supply. The most common medication used for worming is Piperazine-17. Mix 1 ounce in 1 gallon of water and use as the sole source of water for 24 hours. Then repeat the treatment in 7 to 10 days.

Using Piperazine-17 doesn't actually kill the parasites but it paralyzes them which allows them to be expelled. Given how the treatment works, it has to be repeated in 7-10 days to kill the worms that hatched from eggs that were laid.

This wormer is pretty readily available in my area but if you can't find it check with your local vet about using puppy and kitten wormers because they contain Piperazine-17 as well. Dosage instructions will be on the back on the medicine.

It is not recommended that you worm your flock more than once a year because it is very hard on them. But don't skip out on the worming all together. If you allow your flock to free range, they will have to be confined for a few days to ensure that they drink the medicated water. Your chickens will just find somewhere else to get their water if you don't which defeats the purpose of worming them all together.

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Debbie McKenzie
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