Worms- the slick, intermingling little creatures look dirty.
They are parasites that feed on their host, (i.e) They feed off the body in which they live. These are something every bird owner should be wary of.
Worms can infect your bird, and they can cause havoc on your bird’s health. You must know everything about it.
How Many Kinds of Worms Are There?
Different worms can affect your bird’s health. Some of them are roundworm, Tapeworm, Capillaria, and Gizzard Worm.
All of these are different and show different symptoms when attacking your bird.
Roundworms are of different shapes and sizes, and they prefer different body parts of the bird to attack. They infect the bird by laying eggs inside it. The bird pushes them out in the feces, where they incubate in soil.
The healthy birds get infected by either coming in contact with them or via an insect who had eaten those eggs.
It can cause great problems in the eyes, air sacs, gastrointestinal tract, etc. Some of the common types of roundworms are-
Also called a hairworm, it is a very thin worm that attacks the digestive system of the bird. It slips easily into the esophagus and intestine and makes the bird weak. It is caused when a bird eats the dropping of another infected bird.
Birds that live on the ground or come contact in contact with soil get Ascarids &ndash. It is common in cockatiels, budgies, and psittacine, etc.
It is also called a red fork or fork worm. It also belongs to the roundworm family. It is a parasite that wreaks havoc on the respiratory system of wild birds. The birds that are infected by syngamus trachea are turkeys, pigeons, poultry, pheasants, guinea fowls, quails, ducks, etc.
It is a nematode that has a vast family, and it infects a bird’s body via an insect or other means. It affects the intestines of the bird. Commonly affected birds are parrots, cockatoos, macaws, parakeets, etc.
How to know if your bird is infected by roundworms?
There are various symptoms that reflect a bird’s bad health. The symptoms differ for different body parts.
The most common ones are-
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Dried blood at the beak
- Difficulty breathing
- Vision obscurity
- Head shaking, etc.
They are called cestodes and come in different shapes and sizes to infect chickens and turkeys. These tapeworms make their places in the bowels of the poultry and birds and establish themselves, feeding off the bird’s bodily fluids. They look like ribbons and contain egg packets on their body.
They lay eggs, and through the digestive tract, these eggs fall into the soil through their feces. When an insect eats it, or the bird directly comes into contact with them, it gets infected.
These tapeworms can affect the poultry in your yard and even your bird in a cage. The different types of tapeworms include Raillietina echinobothrida, Metroliasthes Lucida, Raillietina tetragona, Davainea proglottina, Choanotaenia infundibulum, etc.
How to know if your bird has tapeworms?
You can look at your bird for the following symptoms.
- The bird starts losing weight as the tapeworms steal its nutrition.
- Chickens stop laying eggs as healthy ones do.
- The dropping turns to a watery and loose one.
- The bird starts looking disheveled and dirty as they stop preening.
- They become quiet.
- The birds are no longer perky and chirpy.
- It loses its appetite.
How To Know If My Bird Has Worms?
Many ask this question and the only answer is that you need to be attentive towards your bird.
Generally, people come to know about them when they witness worms in bird poop and cages. It is a later stage when worms start coming out via excretion. Your bird may be dealing with it for a long time.
Many times, you don’t see any symptoms.
But the most common ones are-
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Rough plumage
- Open-mouthed breathing
- Difficulty breathing
- Blurred vision
- Crooked head or neck
How To Prevent Worms From Developing In Birds?
If you see any symptoms of worms in your birds, you must ask how to control worms from multiplying because if they cause irreparable damage to the internal tissues and organs of the bird, they can even cause death.
So, the first thing to do is to take your bird to the vet.
Whether they are roundworms or tapeworms, the vet can tell by the symptoms and an initial examination. Then they start the treatment, which is different for different parasites.
Treatment Of Roundworms
The treatment starts with the identification of the body part which is infected. There are different species of roundworms, and they attack different parts. There are different medications for roundworms, such as Ivermectin, piperazine, and fenbendazole.
The vet will describe any of the dewormers that you need to give to your bird. You must treat your bird for a particular time and may get it rechecked to assess the progress.
You will see the medication working within 2-3 days. If you have a flock, get other birds checked as well, as they may also be infected.
Treatment of Tapeworms
If you closely look at your bird’s droppings, you will identify that tapeworms are troubling your bird. You can see the white or pink egg packets in the droppings, which are visible to the naked eye.
Or you can also see a tapeworm hanging out of your bird’s behind. In any case, take the bird to the vet and isolate the bird to protect other birds of the flock.
The first part of treatment involves treating your bird. There are two medications for it- epsiprantel and praziquantel. These two medicines are to be given to the bird, and you will see the difference.
The next part involves cleaning the infected area. If it’s a single bird, wherever it has pooped in the last few days needs to be cleaned. If the birds live in a flock, then clean the entire area and look for symptoms in other birds as well.
How To Prevent Worms From Developing In Birds?
The best way to avoid worms from spreading in your birds is to be proactive about their prevention. If you keep the area clean and dangerous for worms, your birds will be safe. Here is how to prevent worms from developing in birds.
Keep The Coop Clean
Be it a single bird or an entire flock, keep the cage and coop clean. Do it at least once a week. Any more than that is good.
Don’t Crowd The Area
Do not keep a large number of birds in a small place. More birds mean more germs and an increased risk of worms.
Isolate The Bird Before introducing It To Your Flock
If you get a new bird for your aviary, keep the bird isolated for a few days and look for any sort of infection or disease. If possible, get it vaccinated so it doesn’t infect other birds.
Keep Them Away From Freshly Tilled Ground
If you have tilled your ground, you must have seen several insects surfacing from the deep soil. These insects can be infected with worm eggs and if your birds eat them, there is no stopping worm.
Give Them Natural Dewormers
Several natural dewormers can form part of your bird’s diet and prevent worms from growing and spreading even if the bird gets infected.
Don’t Give Any Treats On The Ground
It is a natural habit that you put treat on the ground, and the birds pick on them. Change the habit. The birds may pick on parasites from the ground. They may also pick up on infected droppings.
Keep Wild Birds At Bay
Wild birds have a far stronger immune system, and they are very different from pet birds in terms that they can survive slight infections. They may be infected, and if they come In contact with pet birds or leave their droppings, your birds may get the infection.
Related Read: What Bird Should I Get? Which Pet Bird Is Best For Me?
Keep Fresh and Sanitized Water
Most of the problems in pet birds are caused due to unhygienic practices, especially dirty drinking water.
As soon as your bird drinks water, remove the tray, empty it and wash it, and place fresh water next time.
If you leave the water tray in their cage, they may drop into it and infect it, and when other birds drink it, it can make them sick.
Use Pest Management To Get Rid Of Insects
Most worms enter the bird’s body through insects who feed on the eggs laid by the worms. Use pest management to get rid of these insects and save your birds.
These measures will help your bird to avoid any kind of discomfort. In addition, you can ward off expensive medication and trips to the vet’s office.
Do Caged Birds Need Worming?
You keep your home clean, you keep your bird’s cage clean, you also try to keep your yard clean and free of insects, but there is still a possibility that your bird gets worms. Thus, your caged birds also need worming.
Some people wonder that if they have a single bird, it does not need worming. But that’s not true. Every bird needs worming.
What Causes Worms In Birds?
There are different ways in which a bird may get infected by worms.
- First is contaminated food and water. If you don’t change the food bowls regularly and don’t wash them, the birds will drop into them, and germs will grow there.
- Most worms lay eggs inside a bird, and these eggs come out in feces. If your bird comes into contact with such contaminated feces, it can get worms.
- Insects feed on different things, and these insects may be infected. If your bird eats them, this is another source of worms.
Natural Deworming For Birds
There are several products available in your kitchen that will help in worming your bird. These are-
These seeds are rich in amino acids and paralyze the worms. You can give it to your bird at regular intervals to keep worms at bay. Make a powder of seeds or mix it in their pellet.
It is a good ant parasitic element to treat external parasites. Mix a tablespoon in your bird’s bathtub and let it play.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This natural product is available in every kitchen and can easily treat worms. Mix it with clean water, and fill your pet’s water bowl.
It is not a worm killer, but it boosts the immunity of the birds, so they can fight against worms.
How Often Should I Worm The Birds?
The ideal period to worm your birds is four times a year, i.e. every 3 months. If you have a single bird, getting it wormed twice or thrice a year is alright. But if you have an aviary, get your birds wormed every 3 months.
Best Dewormers For Birds
There are several deworming medicines available for birds on the market. The most common of them is piperazine. It has been used for birds for ages, and now parasites have become immune to it. It is not very effective nowadays.
There is Levamisol which needs to be administered very carefully as it can be toxic in case of an overdose.
Ivermectin is another option that is effective but not useful to treat tapeworms. It may not be very effective once mixed with water.
You can rely on Avitrol Plus bird wormer which is effective against many parasites. It can be administered directly or by mixing in the water.
There is VetaFarm Wormout Gel and can be administered directly to the crop or by mixing in water.
Birds are small creatures. They are prone to many diseases and infections. It is important to get them vaccinated on time to avoid any issues later on.
Worms are deadly if not treated on time. The best way to encounter them is to take preventive measures mentioned above.
If you see any of the symptoms stated above, take your bird to the vet before it’s too late.