I never suspected my chickens have worms…
I recently had a necropsy on a hen. One of the finding was that cecal worms were present. Around the same time, poultry lice was discovered in our flock. I saw this as an opportunity to treat two problems at one time. I hoped it would keep the withdrawal time ( the time it takes for the medication to leave the body and allow consumption of the eggs or meat) down to a minimum. It turned out the withdrawal time for the lice treatment was zero, and the worm treatment only 2 weeks.
Cecal worms are typically transferred to chickens from earthworms. They infest the chicken and get passed out of the body in their poop, where earthworms once again pick them up. It is an ongoing cycle. Cecal worms are not as bad as others, such as gapeworm but should still be treated.
Because I was ordering the medication for the lice, I ordered what I needed to treat the cecal worms too. I knew not to use Wazine as stated in a previous article. I asked Dr. Peter Brown (The Chicken Doctor) what to use. He suggested Valbazen. He did mention a few others that were a bit more effective and had a lower likelihood of the worms becoming resistant but they were much more expensive.
We also talked a bit about rotating the medication to keep the worms from getting resistant. I will have to do more research on that to see what he recommends.
When the package arrived there were directions on the bottle for treating individual birds. There was also a sheet with directions on how to determine how much medication to use if treating the entire flock. The dose is dependent on the overall weight of your birds and how much water they drink in a single day. Some calculation and mixing, and the water was placed in the coop.
The withdrawal period according to Dr. Brown is 2 weeks so we simply put all eggs in the trash for the time period.
So how do you know your chickens HAS worms? A fecal float test. Contact your local veterinarian and ask if they could do the test for you. Also, as I discovered, Universities with an animal health lab can also do them. in fact, the vet wanted $75 PER TEST whereas the university that did my necropsy charges $15. I know where I will be sending my samples!
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