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Worm infection in chickens: symptoms, cause and prevention!

Like other animals, chickens can get endoparasites, or worms in the intestines. When chickens have reduced resistance, there is a high chance that they will become infected with worms. Wild birds or newly purchased chickens transmit the infection to the chickens in the coop. In this article, we provide more background information and explain how to prevent worms in chickens.

What are the symptoms of a worm infection in chickens?

Often the problem is not discovered until it is actually too late. This is because the symptoms do not show up until later. This also makes it so important to maintain chickens’ intestinal health and make chickens more resistant to worms. If chickens do become infected with internal worms, the following symptoms may become visible over time:

Chickens are emaciated

Chickens look tired

Pale combs

Sitting up

Bloody diarrhea


Types of worms in chickens

Chickens can become infected with different types of worms. Chickens can suffer from this and/or even get sick. Not all worms cause symptoms in chickens. Chickens can become infected with three types of worms: roundworms, tapeworms and hairworms.


Roundworms are the most common intestinal worms in chickens. There are two varieties of roundworms, large and small. The large variant nests in the small intestine and the large variant in the large intestine. These worms live off of half-digested food in the intestines. Therefore, nutrients are not absorbed by the chickens, but by the worms. If the problem is not treated in time, inflammation and bleeding can occur in the intestinal wall of chickens, up to death.


Tapeworms, like roundworms, live off the food not yet digested in the intestines of chickens. They settle in the cavities of the intestines. Unlike roundworms, tapeworms do not cause wounds in the intestinal wall. However, they can cause fatigue, emaciation and shortness of breath. Since chickens receive fewer nutrients, resistance will drop. This makes chickens more susceptible to other diseases.


Hairworms are barely visible to the naked eye. They attach themselves to the mucous membrane in the small intestine or esophagus of chickens. This usually causes inflammation. Chickens get bloody diarrhea from this. In addition, they emaciate and anemia is possible. Hairworms reproduce the fastest. Therefore, it is important to treat infected chickens as soon as possible.

Gape worms

This roundworm causes yawning disease in chickens and settles in the trachea. Here the worms live off blood and lymph fluid. Gape worms cause shortness of breath in chickens. Young animals are especially susceptible; older animals usually build up resistance to gape worms.

Diagnosis of worm infection in chickens

A worm infection can hardly be seen with the naked eye. It is possible to have the feces checked at a veterinarian’s office. Collect some feces in, for example, a sandwich bag and take it to the veterinarian. This is definitely recommended to do (semi) annually.

How can worms be prevented in chickens?

Because worms cannot be seen with the naked eye, an infection is often discovered too late. In addition, symptoms are only visible when the infection is severe. Therefore, it is advisable to make the intestines of chickens more resistant to worm eggs. This way, the eggs do not attach in the intestines and are simply defecated again. This reduces the chance of a worm infection.

A liquid supplement for through the drinking water, based on herbs and essential oils can help improve resistance to worms. It optimizes intestinal health and makes chickens’ intestines more resistant to worm infection by creating the right balance. Eggs can continue to be eaten as usual. In addition, it is good to keep the chicken coop and litter well dry. Give feed from trays and do not scatter it on the ground.

Treating worms:

Did the chickens still contract a worm infection? Then it may be necessary to give a worm cure. Do this only if a severe worm infection has actually been diagnosed after a fecal examination. Never use a worm cure preventively. This is because worms can otherwise become resistant to worming agents. So it is not wise to give a chemical worm cure annually for prevention. A moderate infection can be treated well with a supplement through the drinking water. It is sufficient for prevention by optimizing intestinal health and treating a moderate infection.

Due to laws and regulations, we are not allowed to mention here which products are involved. We can always be contacted for questions.

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