I discovered this morning that one or more of my hens has roundworms. I'll spare you the extremely disgusting photo, and just say that I saw multiple live worms in fresh poop.
I've done quite a bit of research today, and was reassured by the information that this is an extremely common problem, although I've NEVER, in all my years of caring for chickens, seen this issue. Some of the biggest carriers of the roundworm eggs are earthworms, slugs, and grasshoppers - all of which my ladies have access to since we allow them to forage. (If you are really eager to see that picture of worms in the poop, check out this link. There is also an even more disgusting photo of worms INSIDE an egg. Gross!)
They are easily treated too, just give them medication twice - once now to kill the adults, and again after 7-10 days to kill the ones that hatched from eggs in the intestines. The only problem is that it is not necessarily safe to eat the eggs while they are on treatment, and for 2 weeks after treatment. This means that we will have to throw away a LOT of eggs over the next 4-6 weeks. (I am estimating that we will lose at least 500 eggs.)
It is also not safe to eat the meat during that same period, so I think I will wait until this weekend to treat the hens, AFTER we have the chance to butcher another half dozen (so that I am down to my preferred over-winter number of 18.)
In any case, I feel dirty. I'm going to go wash my hands another 6 or 7 times, regardless of the fact that I didn't touch either hens or poop, and definitely not worms.
8 months ago