Deworming refers to the act of eliminating parasitic intestinal worms within the birds’ system by giving the birds dewormers. This revitalises the bird’s production potential, restoring the bird back to normal production. Worms disrupt the digestibility of feeds and reduce feed utilisation in chicken through their destructive actions. Some worms reside in the gut of the chicken, thereby reducing feed intake; some reside in the intestine of the chicken e.g. tapeworms (suck nutrients), and roundworms (suck blood) etc.
Which birds are susceptible to worms?
All birds are susceptible to worm infestation. Birds kept under deep litter systems and younger birds are more vulnerable to infestation. Worms can be a great threat to poultry enterprises as 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; thus, farmers are advised to design a deworming schedule for their flock at least three times a year (every three months).
What are the signs of worm infestation?
Birds display visible symptoms when worm infestation becomes severe; thus farmers are advised not to wait for the symptoms to manifest, but rather to design a proper deworming program to mitigate the effects of worm infestation. The manifestation of symptoms comes along with a great drop in production potential and render the birds unproductive.
It takes extra resources for a farmer to recuperate the birds from this threat.
Should you observe the following signs in your birds, the farmer should know that the flock is severely under the threat of parasitic worms. These signs are:
a) Decreased feed consumption (common first sign for most of the diseases),
b) Emaciation (bird’s greatly lose weight)
c) Birds become unfit to produce (drastic drop in egg production in laying hen),
d) Birds hooked by worms sleep excessively,
e) Diarrhea and stained vent.
f) Vomiting (this happens in an event where worm infestation is prolonged e.g. gizzard or hair worm),
g) Sharp protruding keel bone. The keel bone is found in the chest region. When it becomes obvious, it means the birds are severely under worm infestation,
h) Pale yolk colour
i) Pale comb and wattle
j) Stretching of the neck (e.g. gapeworm).
How do worms infect birds?
Birds can pick and ingest worms from the ground or through the droppings of infected birds. Young birds pick up worms easier than the adult birds.
How to prevent and treat worms
i) Keep the poultry coop tidy and dry. Worms thrive best in wet and muddy areas.
ii) Change beddings (litter) as quick as possible (at least twice a week).
iii) Have biosecurity measures in place (e.g. quarantine new additions and avoid overcrowding the coop).
iv) Consider adding natural remedies in your flock feeds such as pumpkin seeds (also squash seeds, cucumber seeds) and garlic etc.
Deworming makes your chicken healthy and enables them to recover faster from worm infestation. This can be done every three months. Farmers can administer organic or inorganic dewormers. These products are added to the chicken’s feed or drinking water; they can make the chicken’s digestive system uncomfortable for the worms to reside in the intestines.
i) Organic de-wormers
Organic de-wormers are natural materials used to control intestinal parasitic worms in chicken such as raw pumpkin seeds, neem, garlic, chilies and apple cider vinegar etc.
Organic materials can be locally sourced and are safe for use (no withdrawal period). They are nontoxic and can be used without limitation. Despite having deworming properties, they are also rich in minerals and vitamins. Cost-wise, they are cheap; thus, reducing the cost of production. Farmers are advised to employ natural materials (organic dewormers) to control worms before inorganic deworming is employed.
ii) Synthetic de-wormers
Inorganic de-wormers e.g. Piperazine can control parasitic intestinal worms. This product is available in most of the AGRA stores and nearest local veterinary shops in your areas. However, farmers should consider the withdrawal period (mostly 10 days).
During withdrawal periods, farmers are advised not to consume or sell poultry products e.g. eggs and meat, as they are unsafe for human consumption during that time.
In conclusion, worms are a great threat to poultry farming enterprises. Thus, prevention is better than cure as regularly said. Farmers are advised to practice preventative measures and periodically deworm their birds to keep the flock free from worm infestation, and prevent economic losses. In addition, the quality of poultry products relies on the mode of production and strict management practices. Thus, farmers are advised to prioritise administering organic dewormers (natural remedies) at their disposal before considering the buying of synthetic ones. It is worth taking note that product quality is higher under organic production compared to the conventional methods and can fetch a higher price in the market.
*Emilie Abrahams is an Agriculturist by profession and a mixed farmer (livestock & crop) in Omusati Region. Currently she works for Agribank of Namibia , Agri Advisory Services Division (AASD) as a Technical officer for Crop and poultry.
New Era Reporter
2018-09-11 10:26:09 2 months ago