Backyard Poultry Forum • View topic - WORMS - roundworms, hairworms, tapeworms

Backyard Poultry Forum

Chickens, waterfowl & all poultry - home of exhibition & backyard poultry in Australia & New Zealand
Login with a social network:
It is currently Sat May 25, 2019 10:00 am

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]

Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:59 pm 
Wise Wyandotte
Wise Wyandotte

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:58 am
Posts: 4234
Location: Plainland, SEQ

Worms are a primary and serious parasite and it is important that they are completely eradicated for the birds to perform at their best.

They weaken the bird, and also increase vulnerability to other secondary diseases, such as canker and respiratory infection.

There are three common intestinal worms - roundworm, hairworm and tapeworm.


These worms live in the digestive tract and release eggs, which are passed with the bird's droppings.

After several days in the environment, these eggs become infective and, if then accidentally ingested, hatch inside them and grow into the new worm.

In the coop, there is no easy way for the fancier to tell whether his birds have these parasites as the adult worms are only rarely passed in the droppings and indeed hairworms are microscopic.

They are usually diagnosed by microscopic examination of a dropping sample, in which their eggs can be seen.


I recommend Moxidectin to treat hairworm and roundworm. Moxidectin (2 mg/ml) is a clear fully water-soluble liquid that, when diluted in the drinking water, is readily taken by the birds.

The dose is 5 ml per 1 litre of water for 24 hours. It has a wide safety margin and is perfectly safe to use during breeding and, in particular, moulting.

Moxidectin does not cause nausea and vomiting as many older worming preparations do and so the birds can be fed quite normally.

Moxidectin also has the added advantage that it eliminates any external parasites that feed off body fluid.

Mites live off blood and so these are all cleared with Moxidectin.

Lice live off feather debris and bloom and so in theory this drug should have no effect on them but in practice, during the 3 weeks following Moxidectin treatment, most lice also disappear.

Moxidectin is also a safe and effective treatment for airsac mites at the usual dose given above.

The coop should be completely free of worms.

The roundworm life cycle can be completed in 3 - 4 weeks and so a single worming before breeding will improve things for that period of time only.

Eradication can be achieved by using Moxidectin twice at a 3-week interval followed by a superthorough clean after each treatment.

This removes droppings passed before medication, which may contain infective parasite eggs with the potential to reinfect the birds.

It is a good idea to have the droppings rechecked 3 weeks after the second worming to ensure that the parasite has been cleared.

If it is not possible to completely and thoroughly clean the coop, Moxidectin can be repeated every 3 weeks over a 6-month period as the longest that eggs can remain infective in the environment is 5 - 6 months.

Worms can also reenter the coop if the droppings of pigeons or doves or other birds outside the coop can enter.

In the absence of testing, it is better to assume that the birds are infected and treat twice at a 3-week interval.


Tapeworms also live in the digestive tract.

They have a head or scolex, which is embedded deeply into the lining of the pigeon's bowel. Behind this head mature segments, called proglottids, which are essentially packets of eggs.

New segments are continuously forming behind the head, pushing maturing segments further and further away until eventually ribbons of segments trail behind the head down the bowel, with the most mature ones at the end.

When fully mature, these egg packets snap free either singly or several at a time in ribbons before passing down the bowel and out with the droppings.

The fancier will notice either a segmented white ribbon hanging from the cloaca or, alternatively, as the segments are motile when passed, he may see small white segments wriggling within the droppings shortly after being passed or air-dried segments stuck to the surrounding perch.

Tapeworms are therefore not a microscopic diagnosis because these segments can be seen with the naked eye.

Different types of tapeworm vary in size.

The small ones look like white pieces of cotton trailing through the dropping, larger ones look like pieces of rice stuck on the surface of the droppings, while the largest ones appear as whitish squares up to 0.5 cm x 0.5 cm. Once in the environment, the eggs inside these segments are ingested by insects.

These eggs hatch into infective larvae in the insects. Birds become infected by eating these insects.


For tapeworm eradication, I recommend Prazivet Solution. This is a new preparation that has many advantages over previously available treatments.

It is fully water-soluble, meaning that birds do not have to be picked up individually and given tablets.

It only needs to be made available for 24 hours, unlike other water-soluble preparations.

It can also safely be given during, breeding, and, in particular, moulting.

There is no need to remove food and the birds behave quite normally so that feeding can continue uninterrupted.

It is also very cheap, costing less than 4 cents to treat each bird. The dose is 5 ml to 1 litre of water. It's active constituent is praziquantel. Praziquantel tablets (Droncit) are also available for those preferring to give tablets to individual birds.

A tapeworm's life cycle can be completed as quickly as 21 days. This means that if a bird swallows an insect the day after worming, within 21 days it will have tapeworms again.

It is therefore important to minimize the birds' exposure to insects.

However, in the warmer northern areas of Australia where tapeworms are common, Prazivet can be given for 1 day every 3 - 4 weeks.

Weevils are one of the insects that can carry tapeworm and so seed that either has or has had weevils in it (look for the little bored holes) must be avoided.

Within the loft, slaters are the most common insect carrying tapeworm.

When disturbed, slaters roll themselves into balls, which I think birds mistake for peas, because these balls are a similar size and colour.

To prevent reinfection, it is therefore best to spray out the loft with Permethrin Solution simultaneously with a Prazivet treatment.

Permethrin has a residual effect for 4 months.



Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 1 post ] 

All times are UTC + 10 hours [ DST ]

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
©2004-2014 Content rights reserved