Now, you may be thinking, “why do my chickens need a dewormer?”
Chickens pick up parasites just like any other animal. While it may not seem like a big deal to have chickens with parasites, I assure you it is. It’s definitely more painful to have a large animal like a goat or cow die from parasites, but parasites can also wipe out entire flocks.
How to make your own poultry dewormer
Parasites are everywhere, and no animal is generally parasite free. They’re not always bad – parasite resistance is a trait selected for; giving animals more resistance to worm loads. It’s when parasites take over – then issues arise.
Prevention is the best form of protection, and that includes:
- keeping feed & feeders clean
- keeping waterers clean
- frequent moves (portable shelters – not stationary coops)
- culling sickly birds
- starting with strong genetics
Natural deworming is always very controversial, and this is why I mention prevention first. With herbal dewormers, I prefer using them as prevention instead of waiting for a massive worm load to appear. (I have used them to successfully deal with worms in goats.)
Signs that your flock may have worms
- foul droppings/diarrhea
- bloody droppings
- pale egg yokes
- weight loss
- loss of feathers or lack of shine – not the same as molting
- respiratory distress
Herbal or Natural Dewormers
One thing to remember is that herbal or natural dewormers don’t always kill the parasites, like conventional dewormers. Some ingredients, like Apple Cider Vinegar, help make the gut an inhospitable place for worms. Diatomaceous Earth is said to cut the soft undersides of parasites and kill them that way. (which is why it works great for external parasites and should not be breathed in.)
Pumpkin often touted as an amazing parasite killer, falls into the preventative category, according to herbalist & homesteader, Amy Fewell. This is also an interesting post listing many other herbs and plants for the prevention of worms.
Interested in essential oils? Check out this blog post about using them as a dewormer – backed up by scientific studies.
Below I’ll link several DIY herbal dewormer recipes. (not in any way affiliated or linked to them. Please do your own research and remember nothing has been reviewed by the gov.)
- This is an excellent post by Pampered Chicken Mama with a chicken-specific recipe – and studies.
- Kait’s Garden Dewormer Recipe – this is a super simple, preventative style wormer. Garlic is the secret here!
- Liberty Homestead Farm Recipe – more thought-out with plenty of ingredients.
- Interested in scientific studies? Check this one out: “Medicinal Plants as an Alternative to Control Poultry Parasitic Diseases.“
Available Herbal Dewormers
If you’re not comfortable creating your own, here are a few companies selling herbal dewormers.
- Fir Meadow LLC – I personally have used their products and greatly enjoy them.
- Land of Havilah – also comes highly recommended.
- Molly’s Herbals
Who needs deworming?
For the most part, meat birds will not need deworming. Frequent moves onto clean pasture and short life span generally take care of worm issues.
Layer and breeding flocks should be monitored for any signs of worm issues. With natural care such as herbal dewormers, it’s best if issues are caught early and dealt with instead of waiting.