Poultry Worms Infestation and Prevention

Worm infestation has resulted in huge losses in the poultry industry worldwide. It has both health and economical loss in the poultry industry and a lot of time it’s wrongly diagnosed for diseases condition in many poultry farms.

Worm compete with nutrients that is needed for bird and this could cause nutritional imbalance for the birds and lead to low production rate, loss of body weight and predisposed birds to many other infections.

Worms that are found in poultry are:

  • Tape Worm: It is fairly uncommon and its found in the intestine.
  • Gape Worm: It’s found in the trachea and lungs.
  • Caecal Worm: It causes little damage but transmits blackhead to Turkeys.
  • Capillaria or Hair Worm: It is found in the crop, oesophagus, proventriculus and intestine;
  • Round Worm: It is found in the birds digestive system.
  • Gizzard Worm: It is found in the gizzard, mainly in geese.

Worms Life Cycle

Two means of transmission has been identified in worm life cycle:

1. Direct transmission:

Birds can be infected by worms through consumption of contaminated feed or drinks contaminated water. It may also feed on infected earthworms or other intermediate hosts.

2. Indirect transmission.

Worms develop and mature in the intestinal tract of the

bird. Adult worms lay eggs and eggs are expelled

in the faeces. Eggs mature on the ground and consumed.

Symptoms of worms

  • Loss of weight;
  • Poor feed conversion ratio and weight gain;
  • Increased feed consumption;
  • Pale yolk colour;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Anemia, birds will have pale comb and wattles;
  • Birds stretch neck and gasp for breath in gape Worm infestation;
  • Mortality.

Gapeworm infestation can be mistaken for chronic respiratory diseases, always call attention of a veterinarians for proper diagnosis.


  • Deworm birds regularly every 3 – 4 months with Ivermectin, piperazine or levamisole;
  • Maintain good litter management by replacing wet litter with dry; wood; shavings and always remove wet spots the the pen;
  • Maintain good biosecurity on the farm.

Prevention is cheaper than cure therefore deworming schedule should be integrated into farm’s management to prevent economic losses attributed to worm infestation.



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