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Edward

Mites, moulting or worms?

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Dear all

I'm a chicken owner of 6 weeks. Three hybrids. Only the ISA brown was in lay but has stopped. She's losing a few feathers around her tail so I thought it was moulting. Her comb is a bit pale and dry. They have cider vinegar in water, plus vitamin tonic as I thought that would help if she was moulting. I've checked where she's losing feathers at the top of her legs and back end (not a great number), right down to the skin and couldn't see any creepy crawlies. 

Yesterday I found a dead roundworm in some droppings in the coop. I did worm them a fortnight ago using verm x. 

She's bright eyed and active and doesn't appear unwell. Should I be worried? Any tips? 

Thanks in advance for any help. 

Edward 

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Hi Edward. Depends how old the ISA brown is as they moult in their second year, so it may be a moult and may not. The fact that she has stopped laying does point to her being older than the others, because pullets (hens in their first year) would lay through Winter, at a reduced rate, unless it was very cold when they may stop. So it may be a moult? Even if it is lice that isn't the priority here.

Finding a dead roundworm is rather worrying. Verm-X isn't a reliable wormer. You need to use Flubenvet and to make it easier get Flubenvet pre- mixed into Marriages (hope I've spelled it correctly) layers pellets which can be ordered on-line. For your three you would need 3Kg, fed over 7 days with no treats. As you have actually seen a worm (usually they dissolve in the gut) I'd treat it as serious and worm them again three weeks later., so you will need 6Kg. I think it comes in 10Kg bags, but it's a long time since I ordered any?

Take it one step at a time and treat those worms first, so get your order in for quick delivery, before the Christmas rush.

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How old are your hens?

Verm-X isn’t a wormer. It’s a herbal gut improver that will support the gut, but won’t kill any worms. Please have a look at either medicated pellets with Flubenvet or contact a vet for treatment.

If a hen is in a severe moult, you cab provide them with more protein. Cider vinegar won’t do much.

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Thanks for your replies. I realise verm x isn't an actual wormer (despite their claims) and have some flubenvet already on standby. I can't say for sure how old they are but would guess the ISA brown was around 20 weeks when bought. She laid four small eggs then stopped. The others, a Sussex Star and a Black Rockstar were 16 weeks at a guess. Tiny combs when bought. They all get on well and love being out in the garden. 

I have been told that passing a dead roundworm is a good sign as it couldn't survive in the hen's gut. 

Clearly she is not struggling too much as she's completely herself! 

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A dead roundworm is everything but a good sign. It means the worm load is so great, your hen is pooping worms. 
It really does mean you need to act.

They are a bit young for a moult, but could be a mini moult. Another possibility is that one of your hens might be feather pecking your ISA brown.

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Oh dear, the view about the dead worm was from the breeder who I rang for. advice. 

No sign of pecking from others. Hoping it is a mini moult. 

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Could be the severe worm burden is stressing her and has caused the mini-moult Edward. Imagine how she feels with all those wriggling around inside her. As said earlier, treating those worms is a priority.

The roundworm will die outside the host, so clearly it was living happily inside before that. It gets to the stage that her gut will be so full worms will start to be ejected, so definitely a very bad sign. They will be taking all the nutrients from the feed and that is probably why she stopped laying. Be aware that with a bad infestation the worms when they die will give off toxins and your hen may become ill. Hopefully she will be fine.

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Imagining how a chicken with worms feels is somewhat beyond my powers given she is showing no signs of ill health apart from losing a few feathers!

However, plan is to worm them all with flubenvet and see how they go. 

Thanks for your replies all. 

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