A guide to worming chickens
As more and more people are keeping small groups of chickens as pets and for eggs, parasite control has needed to become more targeted at individuals rather than large commercial flocks. We are increasingly asked for advice about worming and we have liased with poultry specialists to come up with this guide.
The only licensed product, and the one we recommend, is Flubenvet 1% medicated premixture and this should be used every three months for hens kept on the same ground continuously. If you have more available space and can rotate the areas which the hens can access, worming should be at least every Spring and Autumn plus whenever they go out onto grass or new birds are added.
Flubenvet comes in a 60g pot containing the active ingredient flubendazole, enough to treat 20 chickens for 7 days each. The pot contains a 6g scoop and this is sufficient to medicate 3kg of feed. In order to distribute the product evenly, we suggest mixing it to a paste with olive oil rather than using it dry, then mixing it into a cup of food, then a bowl of food, then a bucket.
As the idea is that the hens will eat the correct amount of food for their bodyweight, and thus get the correct dose, don’t feed them any other food during their week of treatment.
Anecdotally, some people put a small pinch of the product onto a grape and feed one per bird daily for 7 days.
Flubenvet can also be bought already mixed with layers pellets in 5kg bags, but this is far more than most people need, although you could always share a bag between chicken-owning friends.
Withdrawal periods: It is important to note that eggs can be eaten throughout the treatment but the birds should not be eaten during the treatment or for 7 days following it (I’m sure most of you don’t intend to eat your chickens at any time but we are obliged to inform you of the withdrawal periods!)
If you are concerned about resistance to worming products, you should still worm twice a year but have worm egg counts performed every 3 months to ensure they are parasite-free.
A few ‘natural remedies’ are commonly used, but none should be seen as a substitute for worming as they can only claim to ‘provide a natural control of intestinal hygiene’. These include Verm-X (included in many commercial foods), cider vinegar, crushed garlic and diatomaceous earth. The latter is the crushed fossilised remains of a type of algae and is thought to combat intestinal worms by physically damaging them.