One of the management practices in a poultry business is deworming. Deworming is the getting rid or expelling of parasitic worms within the birds’ system by giving the birds anthelmintic drugs like dewormer. This revamps the birds’ production potential, thus, bringing the birds back to production.
All chickens are susceptible to worm infestation, especially birds kept under deep litter system
. Younger birds are more vulnerable. Worms are great threats to birds, especially in laying birds
; they are capable of reducing production drastically. Some may cause death in the case of severe infestation. It takes time for worm infestation to manifest; a good poultry farm manager should design a schedule to deworm the flock at least 3 times in a year.
Birds show some signs when the worm infestation is becoming severe; these signs are what most poultry farmers look out for. This is very wrong. A proper deworming program has to be designed to mitigate the effects of these signs because the signs come with a great drop in production potential, the signs render the birds unproductive and it takes extra time and other resources to recuperate the birds from this threat.
When you observe any of these deworming signs in your chickens, you should know that your flock is severely under the threat of parasitic worms. These signs are:
- Decreased in feed consumption: This is the first symptom of virtually all poultry disease or infection. When birds are threatened by worms, they eat less; this leads to a reduction in feed utilization.
- Emaciation: Birds become emaciated as a result of low feed utilization. Birds lose weight greatly.
- Drop in production: this is noticed in laying birds; there is a drastic drop in egg production. The birds are unfit to produce; at times, it takes a very long time for the birds to recover.
- The birds sleep excessively: Chickens are very vibrant and agile animals; it is very normal for birds to sleep but when this is noticed incessantly, then the birds have been hooked by worms
- Stained vent: Though, this is not always peculiar to worm infestation alone but it’s a good symptom to know a bird under the infestation of worms.
- A sharp protruding keel bone: The keel bone is found in the chest region. It is located on the sternum of the chicken. When it becomes obvious, it means the birds are severely under worms infestations.
- Vomiting: This is another good sign that shows a chicken is being disturbed by a worm. This happens when the birds have harbored the worm for a very long time or when the birds are infected with gizzard or hairworm.
- Pale yolk color: When a bird is seriously under worm infestation, it shows in the egg size and the color of the yolk. The egg size becomes smaller and irregular; also, a pale-colored yolk is produced.
- Pale comb and wattle: The comb and wattle are always brightly colored; when a pale color yolk is noticed, a worm is likely to be at work.
- Stretching of the neck: When you notice your birds suddenly begin to stretch their necks abruptly or find it difficult to breathe, a gapeworm is currently disturbing the birds.
How worms infest Chickens
Chickens pick up worms from the floor and ingest or through the droppings of infected chickens. Young birds pick up worms easier than the adult birds.
How to prevent worm infestation
- Keep the poultry pen dry always. Worms thrive best in wet and muddy areas.
- Change poultry litter as quick as possible.
- Use biosecurity.
Worms are great threats to poultry production. Prevention is better than cure, these preventive measures should be practiced to keep the flock free from worm infestation, thus, increasing the productivity of the flock.
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