Natural Remedies for Worms in Chickens

Chook with dirty pants - a sign of worms

Sweetie (chook on the left) has a dirty behind – a possible sign of worms. If I get in quick, I can save the day with herbs! Chickens go downhill fast, so it pays to be aware. Since spring is worm o’clock, lets be prepared with some natural solutions.

Signs of worms

The chooks are let out for the day - a row of healthy behinds!
The chooks are let out for the day – a row of healthy behinds!

Truth is, chickens are susceptible to loads of things and telling the difference between one illness and another is tricky for the backyard chook keeper. Lets just keep it simple – worms are highly likely, so chances are…, especially if your chooks are on the same ground all the time.

Let a dirty backside be your alert. Deal with it right away, and if your chook responds to your medicine, there you go – worms it was.

Left unchecked, symptoms progress and much can go wrong – the poop may become frothy, comb pale, eyes weepy and they’ll loose their appetite as well as their enthusiasm and possibly feathers too – though hen pecking or moulting could be the case here. Worst scenario is finding them huddled up, away from the flock – it can happen so quick.

Prevent all chicken ills with an awesome chook home, combined with your watchful eye. Lets start there.

A healthy chook set up

Its so easy to avoid sick chickens, prevention really is the very best cure. A good setup gives your chooks their best life (they deserve it!), and you spend less time faffing about with disease.

Parasitic worms and their eggs are part of life – they’re everywhere! A healthy chicken can easily cope with them, but if they are crook or their environment is unhealthy – that’s when internal parasites multiply and take over.

Here are my top ten healthy chook essentials. Follow them, and worms be gone!

Remedies for worms

feeding sprouted wheat to the chickens
Sprouted wheat is an awesome way to boost your chickens gut health and immunity

When caught early, the treatment is simple, and that’s where we begin with the tried and true, easy peasy garlic solution, next step is a delicious homemade mash using simple ingredients and finally, the big guns – the chemical treatment. This is our last resort and no ones fav, but don’t let your chooks suffer in the name of being natural. Clean them up and start again!

No matter the treatment you pursue I recommend laying a fresh lot of bedding in the yard + house, and getting them on fresh ground if you can, as there will be loads of worm eggs + worms, in their poop. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth over the fresh bedding if you have it.

The Garlic + ACV Solution

3 young pullets with the hanging water bucket
A hanging lidded bucket keeps water clean and makes administering garlic easy

Crush a couple of garlic cloves, skin and all, per bird and put them into a sock. Hang this in the water bucket and add a generous splosh of apple cider vinegar (proper live stuff with the mother). The garlic is for the worms, and the ACV for healthy guts. Its great to combine the two treatments together.

Make this their only drinking water for three days. Not any longer mind, it’s strong as. This is a useful thing to do once a month as a one day treatment prevention.

Anti-worm mash

chickens eating their anti worm mash
How my chooks love their anti worm mash!

My girls love this brew! It’s a mix of vermifuge herbs (wormers), gut support + immunity boosters. I give them a one off preventative feed of this once a month.

For one bird

  • Mix 1 cup of oats or leftover cooked whole grains + 1 tsp cider vinegar + 1tsp chopped pumpkin seeds with enough water to create a sloppy mix. Leave overnight to soak.

In the morning add

  • 1 clove chopped garlic + 1/2 tsp slippery elm + 1 tablespoon of kefir or live plain unsweetened yoghurt
  • 1 or 2 of these – 1 fine chopped leaf of comfrey, 1 teaspoon finely chopped wormwood tips or tansy leaves or dried nettle.
  • water to make a porridge consistency.

Give this as their only food every second day, for three doses.

The big guns: chemical treatment

Don’t let worms get this far, this sweet girl is beyond rescue

If nothings shifted with the above remedies, don’t dilly dally, use a chemical treatment to clean the flock up and begin again.

Pick up a wormer like Aviverm from the vet. You need to treat the whole flock and you cannot eat the eggs for 7 days. I’ve done this once – as a new, ignorant chicken mumma, but in 26 years of running chooks, I’ve never had to do it again. It’ll be the same for you – your awesome set up will win the day. Take the learnings.

  • Run your eye over your chook housing, consider the feed you use and how much fresh ground they have. With a good system – worms need never occur.
  • Get your eyes on the job and notice changes in your girls. The first thing to go is their cheekiness! Hang out with your chooks. Pick them up and check them over. You cannot leave animals in captivity to their own devices!


  1. Excellent ideas here. I already do the garlic and cider vinegar every couple of months. I also pop bits of lavender and rosemary into their house and nesting boxes. I have comfrey in their runs covered with a basket so they don’t eat the plant right out. I will now add tansy and wormwood to planting where they forage. Is it also helpful to throw armfuls of nasturtiums into their run? I don’t have any problems so thrilled to hear I have been kind’ve on track. Thanks for your posts!

    • Try it out and see Tricia… at the very least it’ll give them something fresh to scratch and if they need it they’ll peck away at it. Nasturtium is such an awesome herb. I love hearing about well cared for chooks – ka pai for being such a good mum 🙂

  2. Fabulous information Kath. I tried this worming mash and my girls really liked it. I have just planted some wormwood (little plant so protecting it until it gets a go ahead). Love reading your newsletters. Thank you for getting me through eight months of lock down here in Victoria, Australia.
    Do you have any information re clucky chook?

  3. Thank you Kath for pointing me in the direction of your article on broody chooks. I did what you recommended and she is no longer clucky. She is back to her placid self again.

  4. Hi Kath. My husband and I are debating which is best for the chooks…Our orchard is fenced as their run but it is quite large so the grass etc tends to get high, then my husband mows it down to help the chooks get around and do their scratching. I’m wondering whether it’s better for the fruit trees and the chooks if he leaves it alone. What’s your thoughts?

    • Lucky chooks! Perhaps rotational runs within the orchard to concentrate them in sections? Or a summer run outside the orchard to let the orchard go during this time? The feedback loop is alive and well – your orchard grows is showing you how happy it is with what you are doing. If all is well … then carry right along. Enjoy! K