How Often Should I Worm My Chickens?

“Could you advise me how often you should worm chickens? I have just started keeping chickens and got some worming powder from the vet and used a very small amount for a week mixed with their food. That was some 4 weeks ago, when should I use the powder again.

The other question I have is when I was giving them the powder mixed with their food my Welsommer hen stopped laying. She doesn’t lay every day but during the week of the worming she had bad diarrhea and I wonder if that could have been as a result of the worming powder? Thanks for the great newsletters I am learning so much about chickens!” ~ Elaine, from Fermanagh N. Ireland.

Hi Elaine, I’m glad you wrote.

Here are my thoughts about worming chickens; do it only when necessary.

In some climates where it is often wet and doesn’t get too hot nor too cold, you may need to worm often. There are climates where the need to worm may never become necessary. I don’t believe in treating problems that aren’t problems.

I do believe that taking preventative measures is always a good idea.

With that thought in mind, make sure you practice good sanitation. Keep droppings cleaned up, keep litter material fresh and dry.

Do not allow wild birds or other wild animals to get near your chicken’s feed as their droppings can contain parasites.

Keep grass short so that the ground gets a lot of sunlight.

Occasional high temperature steam cleaning of the hen house can help kill worm eggs.

Some natural, non-chemical measures to take that may help to suppress worms are; add garlic to the flock’s drinking water routinely or add “Diatomaceous Earth” to their feed. You would add 2-3 Tablespoons of D.E. to each pound of food regularly.

There are many who say that Diatomaceous Earth is great for external parasites but that it doesn’t work for internal parasites. Others swear by Diatomaceous Earth. I haven’t tried it so I don’t have an opinion one way or the other. I would love to hear feedback from those of you who’ve had experience in this area though.

As for chemical treatments, there are many options. I would suggest that you seek the advice of either an experienced chicken farmer in your area, a reputable and knowledgeable feed supply store and of course, your local veterinarian.

Some treatments require that you discard eggs for a period of time.

Some treatments do not involve any egg loss.

Some treatments must be done weekly, others are done monthly. Some are done every 6 months. Most chemical treatments will recommend that you withhold all food the evening before and the morning you treat the chickens.

There is a vast number of people who choose to worm their chickens every 6 months, usually in January and July. They do this whether there is evidence of worms or not. It’s a personal choice and one each of us has to make for ourselves.

Whatever treatment you decide to use, be sure to follow the manufacturers instructions carefully. An overdose of worm treatment will kill your birds.

Elaine, because I’m not sure of the product you were using, I cannot say whether the powder caused the decrease in egg production or the diarrhea, it stands to reason though.

I’m not sure how helpful this has been to you Elaine because expert advise from someone in your area is your best resource in this regard but I hope you have found some piece of information that is of help.

Good luck with your new adventure.