Parasitic worms (endo-parasites) are found inside the hen’s body and are sometimes called Helminths. They are more common in free-range hens than in birds kept in other systems with the large round worm (Ascaridia Galli) being found in over 60% of free-range hens. Even an average burden of worms in a hen can affect egg production, feed conversion efficiency, and general health, whilst a high burden can have serious consequences. Apart from laying fewer and smaller eggs, the hen’s resistance to disease becomes lower making it more prone to secondary infections.

Heavy infestations can cause haemorrhaging and anaemia, blockages, nutrient deficiency and poisoning from the waste produced by the worms.
The two most common parasitic worms which may infect your flock are Round Worms (Nematodes) and Tape Worms (Cestodes).

Learn how to provide Effective Treatment for endoparasites.

Important Worm Facts

Heavy worm infestations can lead to loss of condition and sometimes death.

  • Free-range hens are at the most risk
  • The house litter and the soil are ideal mediums for worm eggs
  • Some species of worm produce up to 200,000 eggs per day.
  • Worms can cause gut damage, poor absorbtion of feed,
  • Worms can cause loss of shell and yolk colour, fewer and smaller eggs.
  • Worm eggs can remain dormant for many years, so it is important to reduce the number excreted by the hens
  • Earthworms,snails,slugs,and,flies and beetles are often the intermediate hosts for various internal parasites in birds.
  • Worm egg cannot develop below 10 degrees C. or above 35 degrees C.or in very dry situations.
  • The eggs will be destroyed by frost,direct sunlight, drought or extreme heat.
  • Most disinfectants are ineffective against worms.