A basic distinction is made between endo- (inner) and ectoparasites (outer). Endoparasites include all kinds of worms, coccidia and histomonads, ectoparasites include mites, featherlings, fleas and ticks.

In case of doubt, please always get veterinary advice!

Worm infestation

Causes:

Chickens that have a species-appropriate run have always to do with worms. Earthworms, snails - all of that is eaten with pleasure. Unfortunately, these delicacies are intermediate hosts in worm development. This is how the worm eggs get into the chicken. And from there over the droppings into the outlet and back into the chicken. So it goes on cheerfully. There are, among other things, trachea worms, tapeworms and roundworms. Chickens will never be completely free from worms (like all animals), but they should be reduced to a level that is not harmful to health. After all, you will deworm your dog and cat regularly, and you should also give this care to your chickens.

Symptoms:

Different worms cause different symptoms. For example, all worms that settle in the intestine experience weight loss, a decline in laying performance, poor general condition, worms in the faeces (very advanced infestation!), Diarrhea. In the worst case, the chicken dies. In addition, in addition to shortness of breath or rattling breath noise, in the case of air pipe worms.

 

Treatment:

Deworm at regular intervals (2-3 times a year) so that there are no symptoms. The veterinarian has the medication approved for laying hens (no waiting time for eggs, 2 days for meat): Flimabend.

Cost point: approx. 10 euros / year.

Prevention:

Hygienic barn system through regular disinfection, changing spouts, adapted stocking density.

Note:

On the Internet, many herbal powders and potions are sold over the counter, which advertise with the phrase "natural worm control". Herbs may improve wellbeing, but they do not replace deworming with prescription drugs. These supplements may be helpful as a supplement / aftercare. This is my personal opinion and experience from the past few years.

You can also have a multi-day bulk faecal sample examined by the veterinarian to determine if there is a worm infestation.

Red bird mite

Causes:

The red bird mite is feared among poultry farmers. You do not recognize them immediately and once you have them, it is tedious to get rid of them. It mainly affects wild birds, but also likes to make do with its chickens. Especially in the warm summer months, it multiplies explosively. These are dragged into the barn by humans and animals, where they sit hiding in the smallest of wooden cracks, straws and crevices. The red bird mite only leaves its hiding place in the dark and attacks the night-blind and defenseless chickens on the perch to suck blood. After a successful blood meal, the mites hide again in the barn. Man is a false host, but can also be stung.

Symptoms:

You are most likely to notice an infestation with the red bird mite at night. A trip to the barn with a flashlight is therefore regularly recommended. Some also stick double-sided tape to the edges of the perch to catch mites running over it at night and to identify an infestation. In addition, the following behavioral problems of the chickens can be observed: reluctant to go to the barn in the evening, are restless, scratch themselves, loss of feathers, pale comb and wattles. A massive infestation leads to the rapid death of the animals due to the loss of blood. Chuckles and chicks are particularly at risk!

 

Treatment:

If there is an infestation, there are various ways to control the mites. First of all: none of the treatments is effective once, but a task of several times over weeks. Complete dismantling of perches, angles and boards in the barn is mandatory. The agents are usually sprayed on (eg Intermitox, Interkokask, ARDAP) and the barn is screwed together again after drying and cleaning. Subsequently, kieselguhr is generously dusted again. Pay attention to protective measures for humans and animals when using the funds!

Prevention:

Regular disinfection of the barn with appropriate bar disinfectants, application of kieselguhr, liming the barn, application of kieselguhr in the sand bath of the animals.

Note:

More information on the red bird mite can be found here https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/rote-vogelmilbe

Nordic bird mite

Causes:

Unlike the red bird mite, the Nordic bird mite lives directly on the animal. Preferred here in the warmest places, such as the neck, under the wings or the sewer.

Symptoms:

Anemia, poor general condition, behavioral problems (afflicted by the itching), bloody picked wounds, crusts and bark on the skin

 

Treatment:

Environmental treatment like the red bird mite. Agents with the active ingredient fipronil, which are administered directly to the animal, are not permitted for laying hens. Petvital Verminex or HS Protect Bird Spot-on can be used on animals.

Prevention:

Hygienic barn system by regular disinfection, treat animals with essential oils as a spot-on (Verminex, Bird spot on). Consult the vet for everything else!

Coccidiosis

Root cause:

Coccidia are unicellular intestinal parasites

Symptoms:

with appendicitis, sometimes bloody diarrhea, emaciation, watery green or white diarrhea, very poor general condition, plumage plumage, listlessness, very high death rate.

Almost exclusively affects chicks and young animals.

Treatment:

Immediate treatment with the appropriate antibiotic (Baycox). Every hour counts here.

Prevention:

Oregano oil 10 percent in the daily drinking water (for young and old), hygienic barn system by regular disinfection, changing spouts, adapted stocking density, raise brood chicks separately from old animals, have faecal samples from old animals examined for oocysts before young animals are added.

Vaccination is possible for brood chicks on the first day of life. This gives the animals lifelong immunity, but must live in the same litter for 6 weeks. An alternative is a feed with added coccidiostat during rearing. Neither of these applies to brood chicks!

We rely on hygienic rearing conditions and our own chick areas and do not use coccidiosis vaccination or medicated chick feed. However, this is not a general recommendation!

Limestone legs / mites

Causes:

Often older and never preventively treated animals will sooner or later have to do with the grave mite and thus with foot mange. The mites infest the animal's feet and legs, lay eggs under the scales and dig passages in the feet.

Symptoms:

The leg and foot scales stand out (early stage), a lime-like, crusty coating develops, the feet appear thickened and misshapen, the animals limp, lame (later stage), the feet become inflamed due to the mites and their faeces

 

Treatment:

In the case of acute infestation, soak the bark on the feet and legs vigorously with soft soap and warm water and remove as far as possible. Please don't move around until it bleeds! Then apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the legs. Repeat treatment if necessary. In the further course of the treatment, spray the feet and legs with Ballistol Oil.

 

Prevention:

Regular prophylactic treatment with Ballistol oil on the legs and feet (preferably spray on at night, then ventilate briefly). The oil penetrates deep under the dander and causes the mites to suffocate.

Histomoniasis

Blackhead disease

Root cause:

Infestation by histomonads from earthworms, for example, is also known as an infectious inflammation of the appendix, and the outlets of sick animals remain infected for years

Symptoms:

Mostly in young animals up to 3 months, strolling gait, diarrhea sulfur yellow to watery / bloody, weariness, apathy, rapid death (a few days), also black crest / scalp

 

Treatment:

Animals kept for food use (including eggs) cannot be treated.

Prevention:

Regular deworming is the most important preventive measure, hygienic stable systems through regular disinfection