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Roundworms

Nematodiasis, Ascaridiosis, Helminthiasis, Helminth Infection, Nematode Infection

Ascaridia galli is one of the most common roundworms (nematodes) found in chickens.

Transmission and life cycle


Ascaridia galli life cycle in chickens
A. galli have a simple and direct life cycle. They are transmitted to chickens through ingestion of an embroyonated egg, shed in the droppings of an infected host. Once consumed by the chicken, it hatches in the stomach where A. galli reproduce and feed on the inner lining of the intestines. Once eggs are shed by infected birds into the environment, A. galli eggs take 10 to 12 days to become infective, but are very resistant to environmental conditions and able to survive in a wide range of temperatures. They have been reported to be capable of remaining in the soil for up to 66 weeks under certain environmental conditions.

Damage caused
A. galli invade and cause varying degrees of damage to the chicken's gastrointestinal system. A. galli are known for specifically inflecting damage to the chicken's small intestines. Mild infestations can often go unnoticed, however in severe cases with heavy worm loads, it can impact nutrient absorption, cause intestinal blockage, anemia, weight loss, increased urates, atropic thymus glands, and hypoglycemia, leading to death of the bird.

Symptoms

Reduced appetite
Decreased growth
Diarrhea
Pale comb/wattles
Worms found in feces

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clincial signs
  • Physical exam
  • Fecal test
  • Necropsy

Treatment

MethodDetails
Citrus peel ethanolic extractFeed additive - 600-1200 mg/kg for 14 daysA Abdelqader et al., 2012
Garlic (Allicin)2.5 mg/bird
Drinking water - 1.5 mg/L of water daily for 5 days
F Velkers et al., 2011
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) root extract200-600 mg/kg of body weightAlrubaie Al, 2015
AlbendazoleAdministered orally, ¼ cc (mL) per bantam, ½ cc (mL) per large breed. Repeated in 2 weeks.G Damerow
Fenbendazole (liquid)3 cc (mL)/gal in water for 3 daysG Damerow
Fenbendazole (paste)Pea-size dose/bird, administered orally. Repeat in 10 daysG Damerow
Fenbendazole (powder)1 oz dissolved in 1 cup (240 mL) of water, mixed with 15-20 lb (3-4 g/kg feed) for 1 dayG Damerow
Ivermectin (drench or injectable)Administered orally - 1/4 cc (mL) per large breed chicken, 6-7 drops (0.1 cc) per bantam.
Administered in drinking water - 4 cc (mL)/gal of water, for 2 days.
G Damerow
Levamisole (drench)Administered orally - 1/4 cc (mL)/lb body weight.
Administered in drinking water - 10 cc (mL)/gal for 1 day. Repeat in 7 days, and repeat again in 7 days.
G Damerow
Levamisole (injectable)Injected under the skin, 1/4 cc (mL)/s lb body weight (25 mg/kg).G Damerow
PiperazineAdministered orally - 50 mg/bird (under 6 weeks of age), 100 mg/bird (over 6 weeks of age) or according to label. Repeat in 7-10 days.
Administered in drinking water - 3 cc (mL)/gallon of water, or according to label. Repeat in 7 days.
G Damerow

Prevention

  • Maintaining good sanitary practices; since the eggs take 10 to 12 days to become infective once shed in droppings, if the droppings are removed then it reduces the chances birds accidentally consume them.
  • Occasionally providing apple cider vinegar in drinking water (20ml/L of water), however only should be used in non-galvanized drinkers.
  • If the birds are confined to a pen outside, rotate access to different areas regularly (once a weed) to minimize build up of worm populations
  • Discourage birds from eating off of the ground - Elevate feeder and waterer to discourage fecal contamination and clean and disinfect equipment daily.
  • Segregate birds by age groups, with particular care applied to sanitation of young birds
  • Chickens should receive a diet which includes supplementation with vitamin A and B complex vitamins. Lack of these vitamins makes the birds more susceptible to worm infections
  • Conduct routine fecal tests

Scientific References

Good Overviews

Blogs

Age Range

Young chicks less than 12 weeks old are more susceptible. Chickens build a resistance with age.

Risk Factors

  • Keeping birds confined in one area on a continuous basis without rotating pasture lots.
  • Feeding birds kitchen scraps
  • Smaller birds, due to their body weight differences
  • Unbalanced diet
  • Use of a deep-litter bedding system

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