Worms can easily get into the digestive system of chickens from the water and food that they ingest. Worms have eggs attached to them; in three days these eggs hatch and begin a new cycle. Before you know it, worms have already invaded your game fowls’ digestive system. If left unchecked, worm infestation could severely damage the game fowl’s digestive system and adversely affect their growth, general appearance and overall health and performance. It could even result in the death of your game fowls.
There are two ways to deal with these internal parasites to prevent them from harming your game fowls: prevention and treatment.
Prevention is always better than cure – and way cheaper and easier, too. Prevention is simply helping your game fowls build up their immunity to diseases while they are still very young chicks.
There are many preventive measures (mostly hygienic) that we can adopt to keep our game fowls free of parasitic worms:
Keep your farm clean and dry all the time, as parasite eggs can vigorously develop in moist and dirty environment. Good housekeeping is the secret to a healthy flock.
Give proper feed and supplements to help build up their immunity.
Keep their feeding and watering areas free from dirt and other contaminants. Give them fresh water all the time.
Avoid overcrowding. A 4-sq. ft. of space is enough to shield them from the spread of parasites and prevent other health problems in the future.
Keep their bedding or litter fresh and dry by cleaning up their droppings regularly. Parasites thrive in dirty beddings.
Much like how delousing kills external parasites such as mites and lice that live off your chicken’s nutrients by sucking blood through its skin, deworming (or “worming” as our American friends would say) kills internal parasites that steal nutrients through the intestines and the lining of the throat of your gamebirds. This is why pro-active deworming is essential if you are to save your flock from worm infestation.
Deworming is as easy as 1-2-3. One, give the initial dose, preferably in the early morning when the worms are very active. Two, follow-up with a second dose 10 days after the first dose; this is to remove all the adults that lay the eggs in the rooster’s guts. Three, do it every month.
Deworming once or twice a month can prevent infestation problems in the future. Standard practice among our cockers is shuffling or rotating dewormers. They use about 3 to 5 different dewormers and change them every month so their gamebirds would not develop tolerance to particular brands.
Some cockers may not know this, but it is always a good idea to cleanse or flush the game fowl’s digestive system a few hours after deworming to get rid of the dead worms. While some do the flushing with bread soaked in milk, others make the extra effort of giving their game fowls a capsule containing grit or sand or even ground oyster shell. The idea is to not only remove the dead worms and what’s left of them but also to scrape out the eggs that get stuck to the intestinal walls of the bird. Otherwise these eggs will hatch and begin a new cycle – all in 72 hours.
A word of advice from Doc Jun Cueto of Heartthrob Game Farm:
Don’t just base your rotation on brands; rotate according to generics. Some brands contain niclosamide and levamisole; others contain dibutylin, phenothiazine and piperazine, and still others contain praziquantel and levamisole. So even if you change brands, you may still be giving the same dewormer. It is very important to read the label.
It is also good to know the administration dosage and withdrawal period before we consume the eggs or harvest chicken for meat.
By the way, here’s an interesting fact shared with us by Dr. Jorge ‘Doc Goi’ Goitia of Firebird Game Farm as to why in the Philippines we deworm once a month, when it is not done in other countries, like in America where he resides:
During winter in America, the soil becomes frozen, killing the worms that roosters feed on. In the Philippines, it is constant reintroduction of eggs (ova). The secret to be able to get rid of the worms is to know the life cycle of the worm so that you can remove the worm before it can lay eggs and hatch them in the intestinal tract of the rooster.
Treatment of worm infestation at different ages of chickens will be discussed in the third part of this four-part article. Coming soon only here on The Sabong Chronicles.