Natural Remedies for Worms in Chickens

Chook with dirty pants - a sign of wormsSweetie (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! Spring’s a common time for worms, so lets be prepared with some natural solutions.

Prevention really is the best cure. Here’s how, on the whole, my chooks remain worm-free.

Cool + Clean Water

chook waterbucket

The chooks water bucket with screw in nipple underneath

Cool, clean water. This is super important. You need to be happy to drink that water yourself. True story. The very best chook drinker is a bucket with a lid and a screw in nipple in the bottom. Chooks train to it easy as pie. No wild birds can access it and the chooks can’t poop in it either. Hang it in the shade.

Once a month I put either a few garlic cloves or a slosh of cider vinegar in their water for a few days.

A Dry, Clean House + Fresh Ground

ply chookhouse

  • A leak-free house and the floor and nesting boxes topped up with fresh sawdust as needed.
  • Fresh ground with shrubs, trees, grass – yes yes yes. Bare dirt or mud – no way Jose.
  • With fresh ground comes a varied, fresh supply of bugs and greens – just the thing for healthy chickens.
  • Heaps of space to perch and roost and play

Herbal Prevention

wormwood door

Wormwood at the chicken gate – they tunnel under as they come and go

Vermifuge herbs in forage areas. Options are horseradish, garlic, wormwood, tansy, mustard, elder and nasturtium. Best for them to self serve as and when they need and great if they can rub through herbs on their way to and fro.

Signs of worms

If your chook has worms it’ll have a dirty backside. As the infestation takes a hold the chook may have bloodstained poos, lost feathers (check this is not from hen pecking or moulting), pale comb, weepy eyes, no appetite and be huddled up quietly on its own

Sort it with garlic

new Sussex

If you catch the worm problem quick enough, a simple garlic treatment usually sorts it.

Treat all your chooks at the same time. I chop up 1 clove per bird hand feed mine to ensure everyone has some. If you just scatter it in their feed some may not take it.

If your birds wont take garlic like this, make garlic water. Crush a couple of garlic cloves per bird and put in a stocking. Hang this in the water bucket. Make this their only drinking water for the week. Scrub out the bucket and fill with plain water the following week, then repeat garlic water the following week.

Anti-worm mash

milk for breaky

If a garlic dose doesn’t sort it, then make this mash. My girls love this brew!

For one bird

  • Mix 1 cup of oats and 1 tsp cider vinegar with enough water or raw milk or unsweetened/ unflavoured yoghurt to create a sloppy mix. Leave overnight to soak.

In the morning add

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

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

The big guns

Aviverm is a chemical worm treatment that you will need to use if you cannot cure naturally or have a chook that has been unwell from having worms awhile.

Worms can make your chickens really crook. Once sick they go down hill fast, so don’t sit on your hands here. Use the chem’s if need be. You need to treat the whole flock and you wont be able to eat the eggs for a bit.

Run your eye over your chook setup and iron out the crinkles to prevent worms in the future. With a good set up – worms only need be a rare event.


  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.