Worms in poultry is unavoidable and therefore has to be dealt with and even if you are a small garden poultry keeper then you should have some sort or worming routine for your birds. Most poultry carry and can tolerate a small worm burden during their life and a good management system can many times help keep a worm infestation at bay. It is important not to range your birds on bare ground as this becomes poached and muddy, if at all possible regularly move the run onto fresh pasture and keeping the grass short helps as worm eggs are destroyed by direct sunlight. If your run is fixed it is worth surfacing the run with either hardwood bark or shingle as this can then be cleaned easily and disinfected.
Poultry suffer from three main types of worms which are Roundworm, gapeworms and tapeworms
These worms produce thousands of eggs that are expelled through the droppings onto the ground or in the case of gapeworm are coughed up and once expelled can survive for up to a year. Then depending on the type of worm they are then picked up by the poultry foraging for food or eaten by earthworms, slugs and snails that are then eaten by the poultry and the cycle starts over again.
It is common practice to worm poultry twice a year, once in the spring and then again in the Autumn as this is because worm eggs need warm, moist conditions to develop outside the bird.
Worm infestations can cause a variety of symptoms including weight loss, anaemia, gut damage, diarrhoea, gasping, reduced egg production and in severe cases death.
The only products that are licenced for poultry are Flubenvet and Solubenal and to obtain these you will need a veterinary prescription or many companies allow you to purchase these products on the internet by completing and signing a POM-VPS declaration. As with any medication it is important to follow the instructions carefully for the correct dosage and length of administration.
Flubenvet can either be purchased as a 60g tub and then mixed with the feed at home or is available already pre mixed into feed. The pre mixed option is extremely popular and removes the worry of working out the correct dosage.
Solubenal is a water soluble wormer and is more common for use in the commercial poultry industry.
There is lots of information available on the internet regarding worming but should you think you have a worm infestation and are seeking professional advice it is always advisable to consult a veterinarian.