Ark Veterinary Centre

Winter Poultry Management

Oct 23, 2012
Winter Poultry Management

Now is a good time to take stock and look at the health of your Backyard Birds. Summer has been and gone (blink and you missed it) and things are settling into the usual autumnal pattern.

Chickens, ducks and geese have all spent the summer months feeding away, and so the chances are they have picked up a burden of worms. These worms are a particular risk to free range birds and can be introduced by wild birds. There are two main types of roundworms that affect poultry, intestinal worms in the guts or gape worms in the windpipe and bronchial tubes. Both types of worms lay eggs that pass out in the birds droppings and contaminate the environment, building up over time and re-infecting them and others.

These worms can affect the quality and quantity of eggs layed and the health of your animals. Gut worms cause thin scraggy looking birds if there is a high worm burden, although birds can be affected without showing signs. Gape worms cause the bird to gasp and wheeze as they are situated in the airways. In sever cases, affected birds can even die.


Worms are almost impossible to prevent but some things such as feeding from feeders rather than the ground and moving birds to clean grass can help. However, it is best to consider worming them.

WORM     every three months, generally Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn.

WORM     all new birds and before putting birds out

WORM     if you suspect problems with worms


We recommend using Flubenvet for worming your birds, phone 01576 202552 for details.

Coccidiosis is another parasite of birds that comes from the environment and wild birds. It builds up in muddy, dirty and frequently used areas, especially where there are droppings. There are lots of different species of Cocci, some much more harmful to your birds than others. It can cause diarrhoea, sick birds and in extreme cases death. Although the less nasty species will more probably cause poor condition and poorer or fewer eggs.

Good hygiene and regular moving of feeders can help. But if you are suspicious please speak to us Baycox which may be required.

Also at this time of year it is well worth considering giving your birds the added bonus of a poultry drench to prepare them for winter. Many different drenches are available and all will give your birds a wee extra boost heading into the winter months.