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Worms and How They Affect Your Chicken’s Health

Last Updated: 02.07.22


While reviews of chicken coop heaters are a great source to provide heat for your girls, worms are a different problem entirely. Since they can end up in a chicken’s stomach by being ingested from the grass or when the bird eats another creature that was infested, it’s very useful to know how to prevent and treat them.


Some general information

Worming your chickens naturally is a pretty straightforward process as long as you inform yourself and understand what you’re doing and why you are doing it. While artificial worming medications will not usually do any harm to your flock, some people prefer to use natural preventive treatments for their girls.

In order to treat your birds most efficiently, it’s imperative that you understand what worms actually are, how chickens can get them, and the best way to prevent an outbreak in your flock. Knowing how to look after one of them if it’s been infected is also highly important.

Therefore, we’re going to give you the full scoop on all things related to worms and chickens to help you prevent anything like this from happening or treat it if it does. 



What are worms?

In plain English, worms are parasites that enjoy moving into your chickens’ digestive system to set up shop and cause trouble. They sap your girls of nutrients and cause them grave discomfort. There are many types of worms out there like hairworms, roundworms, gizzard worms, etc.

While each type of worms can be uniquely disturbing in its own way, there are generally effective ways to fight them since all of them are trouble makers.


How can worms harm my flock?

When looking at what worms can do to a bird, it’s not hard to understand why they are a serious chicken concern. In some extreme cases, this can lead to malnourishment, infection, internal hemorrhaging and, in some cases, even death.

However, there’s no need to grow extremely concerned because as long as you are proactive in preventing and treating your flock for worms, they shouldn’t be an issue. Worms are indeed very common and this condition has a variety of treatments, both natural and artificial, which will return your gals to their clucking best in no time at all.

If you look at it, it’s unfortunately quite easy for chickens to catch worms and even the most diligent owner won’t always be able to protect them from this. This is because worms are primarily spread through poultry droppings and, as we know, chickens aren’t always the most modest birds when it comes to this. There are two key ways in which worms can be an issue.


Direct life cycle

Worms are kind of like cockroaches, in the sense that even when you think you’ve killed them all, they keep crawling back. Whenever an infected chicken does its business, the worms will obviously spread by the hundreds of thousands and they can literally lay dormant on the grass for years to come.

Since chickens are natural peckers that will poke their heads around the entire backyard, it’s very easy for them to accidentally ingest a small army of worms looking for a host body to besiege, so it’s actually quite the scary scenario.



Indirect life cycle 

The second problem with worms is that they are clever and crafty little creatures that won’t stop until they get what they want. If what they wanted wouldn’t have caused so much pain and displeasure to our beloved girls, it would’ve been quite an admirable trait!

Since other small critters like slugs and snails feed upon the worms that might be lurking deep in the grass of your backyard and chickens love to eat slugs and snails, yes, you can guess the rest of the story.

Apparently, the saying ‘you are what you eat’ is quite ironic when it comes to your birds. While worms may seem inevitable judging from what we just said, there is still very much you can do to prevent an outbreak.


Preventing worms in your backyard

As long as you integrate these activities into your chicken routine, preventing an outbreak of worms can be easy and effortless. 

First, you have to ensure you change your animal bedding regularly. Infected chicken droppings contain thousands of little worms that are looking for a new place to call home. Therefore, it’s only common sense that you would replenish their bedding regularly, even if you don’t know that one of them is battling with worms.

Another thing you can do is to avoid wet and muddy conditions since worms thrive in them. A muddy chicken run is basically the worm version of the New Year’s Eve party because these parasites can party all night long.

If, by some unfortunate reason, your chicken coop or run is looking like a quagmire, get your girls to dry ground and start doing what you can to clean it. Otherwise, it’s possible that you might end up lots of worms than you will have trouble handling.

Furthermore, keeping your lawn mowed regularly is another thing that can go a long way toward preventing worms. A freshly-trimmed one will expose them to strong UV rays which, especially during torrid summer days, will actually put an end to them without you having to lift a finger.


Signs that you chickens have worms

Due to the plethora of telltale signs, it is sometimes difficult to unequivocally diagnose a chicken with worms. However, let’s show you the top signs and symptoms of worms and that will, at least, allow you to make an educated guess.

Weight loss

If your girls are rapidly losing weight even though you are feeding them, it may be a sign that there are heaps of worms in their stomach bullying their way into their food.

Increased feed consumption

Obviously, chickens with worms will lose weight but eat more feed because their body will still be hungry and they will try to compensate by eating more. Sadly, though, that only makes the worms more and more powerful.

Pale yolks

Chickens tormented by this issue will lay eggs with pale and solemn yolks so take a look whenever you feel something’s not right.


That’s right, the poor things affected by worms can often develop this nasty condition so always keep an eye on their droppings whenever you suspect them of something because diarrhea is always the sign of a sick chicken.

Worms in the chicken manure

While not the prettiest thing in the world, regularly checking your girls’ feed for the white little hairs-like creatures can be just the thing that saves them from being infected.



Some natural treatments for worms

There are many natural treatments that are easy to integrate into your chickens’ diet and lifestyle. While going to a veterinarian is always the best thing to do, sometimes you only want to prevent, rather than treat so these ingredients might just do the trick.

Diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth is essentially fossilized algae, highly abrasive and highly helpful when it comes to exterminating worms ingested by your chickens. As a bonus, it’s also a very dense source of essential minerals and it will keep your girls lively and healthy.

Apple cider vinegar

The popular solution for a wide range of chicken ailments, apple cider vinegar helps boost the chickens’ immune system in a number of ways and also detoxifies their body. Simply put, this is a multivitamin for them.


While some people are a little skittish of garlic because of the rumors that it changes the flavor of the eggs, this is still a fantastic medicinal treat that you can use on a semi-regular basis as it helps to kill any of the nasty worms that may be living inside the stomach of your girls.


What if they get worms?

Sometimes there’s nothing you can do and in spite of all your efforts, your chickens will simply get worms. This is nothing to be ashamed about as it happens every now and then and, as we told you, it’s fairly easy to treat.

There are many medicines out there to combat a worm infestation and they are usually dissolved in your chicken’s water. Do the research and make your choice, and remember that some people even use this medicine once every six months as a preventive measure.



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