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Is it common for free-ranging birds to be infected with parasites?

Are ranging flocks of poultry usually infested with internal parasites -- including tapeworms? When is treatment indicated? Specifically, how is tapeworm best treated? How are infestations of internal parasites minimized in ranging flocks? -- Maryland

Chickens running on the ground often have some internal parasites (worms). Many chickens live a long time with a mild infestation of worms and appear to show few harmful effects. However, it's a sure bet that worms do them no good. Therefore, we suggest that pullets raised on the ground be wormed before coming into egg production and when we see evidence that they are infested with worms.

To minimize the chances for worm infestations, range chickens on ground that has not had chickens on it the previous year, and keep different ages of birds separated. Piperazine in the water is a frequently used treatment for worms, but is not effective against tapeworms. This should be given twice about three weeks apart for roundworms, the most common worm.

Capillaria worms and cecal worms are often treated with Hygromycin, and tapeworms with Butynorate. Tapeworms are usually not a big problem in Wisconsin, maybe more so in your area.
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Author:Skinner, John
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Mar 1, 2001
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