Thursday, October 14, 2010

Preventing Chicken Cooties

If you have outdoor pets, horses or livestock,  you know that these animals need to be wormed on occasion.

Well City Chickers, your back yard flock is no different.  In fact urban coops could have a higher incidence of internal parasites due to space constraints.  Good sanitation practices go a long way in keeping your flock healthy, but you can't always guard against the bugs your hens ingest.  Yep, your happy hens can get worms from eating worms...and slugs and bugs and all those other juicy creepy-crawlers they find so delicious. 

Even if you run a tidy coop your flock can benefit from regular worming, since birds confined in a small space will inevitably come into contact with droppings (they often show questionable taste in what they peck at). 

Roundworms are the most common internal parasite and are easy to treat. I called a few local farm stores looking for chicken wormer but no one had anything nor had they even heard of such a thing (I won't be getting advice from these places anytime soon).  I called my vet who, thankfully, did know about internal parasites in fowl and he prescribed Panacure (Fenbendazole).  A few cc's by mouth, with a follow up in 10 days is all that is needed; about once a year.  Pretty simple.

And, it actually was.  It took two of us - one holding the hen firmly and one prying the beak open and administering the chalky liquid down the gullet.  We don't plan on eating any of the eggs produced in the next month - but this little preventive measure is well worth it for healthy hen in the long run.

Has anyone else wormed their flocks?

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Thanks for reading and sharing your comments! Candace

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