Worms are among the larger forms of life which parasitize poultry. Various kinds of worms are normally found in birds because their occurrence is universal. Worms do not cause high mortality but worm infections may place a stress on the birds making them to be less resistance to other types of infections. The symptoms of affected birds are general weakness, slow/poor growth and low egg production.
Types of Worms in Poultry
There are about 6 types of worms that can be found among poultry birds. Lets discuss them below:
1) Capillary Worms
2) Cecal worms
3) Gape worms
4) Gizzard worms
5) Large round worms and
6) Tape worms
1) Capillary Worms
Capillary worms unlike the roundworms species sometimes can not be seen with naked eyes unless with a microscope and they live mainly in the digestive tract of the host birds.
Capillary worms can cause a great damage to the internal organs of birds and also worry layer birds when they come to the laying period because they would not meet the required number of eggs production.
2) Cecal Worms
Cecal worms are similar to the large round worms in its occurrence and life cycle. It differs from large roundworms in size being much smaller.
The cecal worm is about ½inch long but it is similar to the roundworm in its development and develops faster in young birds than the older birds.
3) Gape Worms
The Gape worm is another species of worm that is very common among poultry. It affects young birds most seriously causing gasping and coughing to the point of suffocation. The affected birds shake their heads convulsively, feed consumption is poor and they lose weight drastically.
4) Gizzard Worms
Gizzard worms are normally found under the lining of the birds and they are usually carried by insects such as Grasshoppers, Beetles etc. they are between ½inch to 1inch long and reddish in color.
5) Large Round Worm
Large roundworms are the commonest found among poultry. The size of the adult roundworms could be up to 3inches long, it spreads directly through the dropping of the birds and the eggs of this parasite may remain alive in litter or soil for many months.
If one of these eggs passed out through droppings by the birds and is swallowed by another, it will find its way down to the central intestine where it continues to develop and spread. It lives mainly in the small intestine where it feeds and multiplies.
6) Tape Worms
Tape worms of poultry are flat, white segmented parasites that attach themselves to the intestinal lining by hook and sucker.
Most of the tape worms are large enough to be seen and some species attain a length of 6-7inches long. They lack both mouth and digestive tract while food is absorbed through the body surface.
Prevention-Control and Treatment of Worms
The prevention and control of worm infection involves much more than treatment. In all, it requires judicious mixing of measures which will assure proper diet, sanitation and medication.
Poultry should receive a diet which is adequate especially in regard to Vitamin A and Vitamin B complex. Lack of these vitamins makes poultry more susceptible to worm infections.
Commercial feed manufactures should supply rations which are adequate in these vitamins and their feeding recommendations should be followed exactly to produce birds with maximum resistance to worms
1) Thorough cleanup between batches of birds to remove contaminated litter should be carried out before restocking another batch of birds using the poultry pen.
2) Proper management of litter: remember that litter is the sanitary system of the poultry house and to keep this system in good operating conditions, it is necessary to keep the litter as dry as possible by frequent stirring and using enough litter to dilute droppings properly.
3) Accumulated droppings under the shelters should be removed.
4) Avoidance of overcrowding (which produces more favorable conditions for worms development and increasing the chances of infection by implication).
5) Use insecticides to control insects and some other forms of life which may serve as intermediate host for worm parasites.
Poultry farmers should try as much as possible to avoid insects being swallowed by birds because most of the insects can transfer worms to your birds. Being aware of this, you should make sure that you keep off insects in the poultry houses and make sure that the sides of the farm are free of thick bush and always cover the floor with clean litter to avoid insects being swallowed by birds.
Some poultry farmers who have the habits of throwing insects to birds are not doing any good for the rearing of birds and this is very dangerous acts because most of the insects harbor a lot of dangerous worms which can easily transfer to birds.