Natural remedies for worms in Chooks

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’ll 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. 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.
  • A dry clean house. I keep the floor and nesting boxes topped up with fresh sawdust as required.
  • Fresh ground. Shrubs, trees, grass – yes yes yes. Bare dirt or mud – no way Jose.
  • Garlic and/or cider vinegar in their water for a few days once a month
  • Heaps of space per chook. No matter what stock you’ve got, overstocking is plain unhealthy.
  • Unpasteurised milk left a few days to curdle before feeding out once or twice a week. Plain, live yoghurt is another option.
  • Vermifuge herbs in forage areas. Options are horseradish, garlic, wormwood, tansy, mustard, elder and nasturtium. All of these herbs are very strong so dont pick and feed them, best to grow them so they can eat what they need when they need it.

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

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!

This recipe is for one bird.

Mix 1 cup of oats and 1 tsp cider vinegar with enough raw milk 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, 1 fine chopped leaf of comfrey, 1 teaspoon finely chopped wormwood tips and/or tansy leaves, 1 teaspoon dried nettle. Add more milk or water to make a porridge.

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 have left your chook wormy for a long period and you cannot cure her naturally. Worms make chooks really sick if left untreated, so for your chooks sake – use the chem’s if need be. You will 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.