Your result will say which type of worms were seen in the sample and the number reported as e.p.g. or ‘eggs per gram’. Whether you need to worm or not will depend on the number and type of eggs seen.
Which worms are covered by the test?
Three types of internal parasite effect poultry that can be detected on a worm egg count. These include:
- Gastrointestinal worms that live in the bird’s guts. In poultry these include Ascaridia (chicken roundworms), Amidostomum anseris (gizzard worm), Bunostomum (Hookworm), Capillaria (hair or threadworm), Heterakis (caecal worm) and Raillietina species (tapeworm).
- Syngamustrachea (gape worm) which lives in the windpipe.
- Eimeria (coccidiosis), a microscopic parasitic organism called a protozoa.
Note that Tapeworm eggs may not show up in a worm count because of the way they are expelled. If you see anything that you are unsure of then please include it with the sample for checking.
What does my result mean?
Your result will say which type of worms were seen in the sample and the number reported as e.p.g. or ‘eggs per gram’. Whether you need to worm or not will depend on the number and type of eggs seen. The sign < means ‘less than’, so a result of <50 epg means no eggs seen in the sample.
Gastrointestinal worms and Gapeworm
- Up to 200 epg means a LOW count. Healthy birds can generally deal well with a low level of parasite infection, there is no need to worm at this level unless Capillaria Heterakis or Tapeworm is seen, in which case treatment is advised. (Although Heterakis itself is harmless it can be a carrier for the parasite that causes Blackhead.)
- Between 200 epg and 1200 epg is a MEDIUM count and the bird needs worming.
- Over 1200 epg means a HIGH count, the birds need worming and the programme/husbandry needs attention.
The poultry keeper’s aim is to ensure that birds are exposed to low levels of coccidiosis to enable them to build up natural immunity but not so many that they succumb to disease. While the number of coccidial oocysts relates to burden of infection, relatively high levels may be seen in dung samples without disease being present. Monitor infection levels, look out for symptoms of disease and consult your vet where necessary.
- <5000 e.p.g. no need to treat
- 5000 – 50000 e.p.g. worth consulting with your vet and looking out for loose droppings and other symptoms.
- >50000 e.p.g. disease usually present, consult your vet
If worms are identified then treat your birds with a course of Flubenvet 1% in feed for seven days. A 60g pot will be enough to treat a 20Kg bag of feed which would last 25-30 hens one week.
Test again in 8-12 weeks.
Flubenvet is not effective treatment for tapeworm; if you need to treat this worm then you will need to seek treatment from your vet who can prescribe a suitable product.
Good management practice and animal husbandry techniques will also help to break the lifecycle of any parasites mechanically, reducing your reliance on chemicals.
Remove droppings from housing areas regularly.
Wherever possible let in natural light, keep grass short and harrow loose surfaces of the range with a rake or similar implement. This will expose worm egg and larvae to harmful UV rays, a very effective way of reducing infective burdens on the ground.
Move drinkers and feeders to reduce poaching of the ground and also the build-up of worm eggs in the vicinity.
Clean and disinfect the inside of poultry housing, especially the floor areas, with a disinfectant effective against worm eggs and other bacterial and viral diseases. Dehydrating agents are also effective in acting as a desiccant in poultry houses, on scratching areas and in close vicinity to the living area.