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New Girls Have Worms!

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Two weeks ago we rehomed 2 ex-barn hens from a rescue charity (I did come on here asking for advice re. integrating them....)

Newbies Sunshine & Queenie are currently in an open top run, sleeping in a dog cage overnight. Our original three are being lifted into the coop which is in the same run for sleeping and are spending the days free-ranging in the garden. So two groups separated by a wire fence.

The rescue hens were meant to be health-checked, wormed etc by the rescue charity, though as they were only picked up the day before they were rehomed I'm not sure if this is really possible?

After a week, I happened to notice that the charity uses Vermex for worming, and around the same time I noticed some foamy yellow droppings.... so I decided to give them a dose of Flubenvet just in case.

Foamy yellow droppings with worms appeared within a couple of days, so I started my original three girls on Flubenvet too (they were last wormed maybe 2 months ago...).

It will be 7 days tomorrow. Queenie has laid today for the first time in a week, and I last noticed foamy yellow poo yesterday morning.

Now this is my first chicken worm experience so I have many questions! My questions are:

1. The new chooks are in a closed run and have been since we got them. Do I need to sanitise the ground somehow? Or do I just reworm in X number of days?

2. Am I okay to mix the new & old chickens this weekend? They will both have had a full week of Flubenvet by then.

3. Is the foamy yellow poo indicative of worms? Does this stop once the worms are gone?

4. Is the fact that Queenie is laying again good news? She is the scragglier of the two, but is eating and drinking fine and looks bright enough. Sunshine has laid everyday bar one :)



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If I were you, I would wait until the Flubenvet treatment is completed on both the old and new hens. If you know they already have worms, I would discard any eggs laid during that period - not because Flubenvet is unsafe but because the worms can potentially make their way into the eggs themselves!

Once all of them are treated, you should be able to mix them, but I would also just look out for other signs of illness in case the worms aren't their only issue. This link is pretty graphic (with pictures) but also quite useful: http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=17568.0 - it could be a few potential issues, also foamy yellow poo can sometimes just be normal.

Before mixing them, I would completely change all the substrate (hemp, flax, bark etc.) for fresh stuff, along with all their bedding etc. and give it a good clean with a disinfectant designed for chickens just to be safe. This will minimise any risk of them getting reinfected with worms any time soon, and will also lessen the risk of transferring any illness that isn't word.

You can give them some poultry tonic for a few days to keep them eating. You could also give them some apple cider vinegar for a few days to help get rid of any internal parasites or infections (I give mine ACV for a few days every month; although I generally only use poultry tonic during their moult).

Keep an eye on them for another week or so, but I suspect once you've treated them they will probably be fine. If you find any signs of worms or infections after that, I would liaise with a vert just to be safe.

We worm ours every 6 months: once in April and once in October, and we've never had any problems doing that so far. :)



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Thank Andy :) I see what you mean about the poo - had it not been for the worm I'd have thought it was just a caecal poo.

The problem with the run is that it is just a portioned off patch of garden (uncovered), so the groundcover is soil and a few logs/pallets. So although I can clear out the coop, I can't really change the floor of the run (can I?). Would Nettex work?

I add ACV to their drinkers as a matter of course. I'll get some poultry tonic as I think it'll help the new chooks 'feather up' a bit, although TBH they've improved a lot since we got them - combs already looker redder, eyes brighter, some bald patches getting better, bare bums gone :) 

Queenie's egg today had a very thin shell - cracked when I added it to the helter skelter earlier - presumably that will improve as her health improves.

Thanks for your help!

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15 minutes ago, sadieatthebridge said:

The problem with the run is that it is just a portioned off patch of garden (uncovered), so the groundcover is soil and a few logs/pallets. So although I can clear out the coop, I can't really change the floor of the run (can I?). Would Nettex work?

Queenie's egg today had a very thin shell - cracked when I added it to the helter skelter earlier - presumably that will improve as her health improves.

I've never used Nettex, so someone else might be better to advise on that one.

It's a pit of a pain in the bum to do, but what we did instead of having them straight on the dirt was to lay some patio slab down. We have quite a big garden so we were able to set-up the area without having to move the current set-up first. Anyhow: we dug over an area in our garden the same size as the run (and also the area to cover the cube) and then laid down a few layers of weed barrier fabric. On top of the fabric we laid down a layer of sand (about 1" deep) and on top of that laid the patio slabs so they were nesting together; we could have used cement but couldn't be bothered with the hassle - 1.5 years later and we've had no issues with our quick and dirty method. Then on top of the stone we laid bark chippings to act as the substrate. A lot of people advise not to use bark because of mould spores etc.; however, we have never had an issue with this and, if the bark starts to compost or becomes really covered in poo then we change it all out. We change a bag or two of chipping every month or so and then once a quarter they get everything taken out and all new chipping takes its place.

You don't have to use bark, you can use one of the many other types. We're thinking of switching to hemp/flax but we're debating it as we'll need to change it more often and because it's absorbent and we only have a tarp as the 'roof' of the pen, it may get messy fast. 

If you have the time and money to lay some patio down like we did (and I know a few others have too) then I would recommend doing it.

RE: thin egg shells, there can be some varying reasons for it. First, make sure they have lots of grit with oyster shell mixed in to get them some extra calcium as that will help. Officially, and legally, you're technically not meant to do this, but I give ours some meal worms maybe once a week. Not huge amounts, just a handful or so, and that seems to help them with their shells and it seems to work a treat as it helps with protein intake. One way you can tell they might need protein is if they start eating each others feathers when they come out naturally.

It can also be down to the hen itself: if the hen is young and just coming in to lay, you may get some softies - ditto if the hen is quite old. It can also be a thing with the breed/strain of hen you have. For instance, our Bluebelle is prone to laying softies (hence the mealworms) and I've read a fair number of other people having this issue with their BBs too!

There's some info here on soft shells: https://poultrykeeper.com/egg-problems/soft-thin-or-missing-egg-shells/. It may sound weird but some people take old egg shells and dry them out in the oven to kill off bacteria etc. and then crunch them up and mix them in with their food as the shells themselves are good for calcium. I'm sure there's many other suggestions too.

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So, I haven't read through all the replies as I am in a rush, but if they are ex-batts, there oughtn't to be a worm issue as they should all have been kept in a bio-secure environment.

please bear in mind that nine of the herbal products are wormers, if you think they have a heavy workload, or haven't been worked before, then I would do one programme of worming with Flubenvet, then repeat the 7 day regime again after 3 weeks. You should also support their gut flora with nettex gut conditioner.

i wouldn't integrate the new flock until they have been thoroughly treated for both worms and lice/mites.

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Apologies for the previously rushed answer.

the yellow frothy poos may be just caecal poos, where the caecal glands empty roughly every 10th poo. Runny droppings of a more usual colour can be an indication of worms.

you should treat the litter in their run with nettex ground sanitising powder, once a week as a matter of course. I would suggest that you turn out the litter after worming and sanitise the ground before putting new Aubiose in. I usually time the run clearing out process to coincide with worming.

When you are dosing with Flubenvet pellets, be sure to keep them in the run as much as possible for those 7 days, so that they eat the pellets. Feed nothing but those pellets.

Dose their water with a good poultry tonic such as Vit boost, this contains probiotics to hell the gut, and B vits for stress.  I wouldn't rush to integrate them too soon, ex batts can need more time and should be stronger to deal with any tussles which may ensue.

hope that this helps

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Thanks guys!

Re. the poor egg shell quality, all the ladies get mixed grit with oyster shell in a separate container. I'll see what the next few eggs are like and decide what to do.

The soil in the run is a worry, because presumably the girls will all be reinfected within a few weeks...seeing as I've actually seen worms and they're scraggly rescues, I'll reworm again in 3 weeks time. I've never seen any worms with the original three, though that is not to say they've never had them. I've always just wormed every 3/4 months with Flubenvet, added ACV to their water, and sometimes garlic / herbal powder stuff to their pellets (can't remember what it is called). They don't spend much time in the run as they're free to free-range in the garden.

I agree Dogmother, I assumed ex-barn hens would be worm-free. I've contacted the rescue just to check and ask for advice. We've had chooks for 2 years and this was our first worm sighting :o I've had a cuddle with them both this morning and they are still very thin compared to our 'big three'. Bright eyed, redder combs but still quite thin and straggly, plus Queenie has mucky bloomers, though it is dried on mud rather than anything really runny. She does sit down a lot more that the other hens, perhaps weak legs? so that could be a cause. But they both roost nicely of an evening :)

Aah, Dogmother, I see you have lurchers :) We have a rescue greyhound (secretly terrified of the chickens :D)

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