Intestinal Worms in Chickens: Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Ways of Prevention

Chicken farming business is one of the businesses favored by the people of Indonesia, because this business has great opportunities and high profits. This is because the demand for meat and chicken eggs every day tends to be stable and even increased. However, please note that the yield of chicken production may also decrease. One of the factors that affect the decline in production (meat and eggs) is the onset of disease in chickens. Diseases that often occur in chickens are worms.

So, what is worm disease in chickens? How to prevent it?

Relax, the answer you can find in this article. This time we invite you to find out all about the disease of worms in chickens. Starting from understanding, symptoms and how to prevent it. Nada is already curious, right? Yup, just read the article to the end!

What is chicken pox?

What is chicken pox?
What is chicken pox?

Worm disease or also called Helminthiasis in chickens is an infection in the digestive tract of chickens caused by parasitic infestations. This disease affects all types of poultry, ranging from slaughter chickens, laying hens, to free-range chickens. These parasites enter through food and drink consumed by chickens every day.

If there are parasites in the body of chickens, it has an impact on reducing the production of meat and chicken eggs. This happens because the body of chickens attacked by parasites can become thin. Worms will absorb some of the food and nutrients for growth, damage the tissues of vital organs, such as the digestive tract, liver, lungs, and blood and are able to reduce the appetite of chickens.

Causes of intestinal worms in chickens

Deworming disease in chickens is caused by parasitic worms that nest in the digestive tract. In general, there are 3 classes of parasitic worms that can infect chickens, these worms include :

1. Class of nematodes (earthworms)

It has been widely known various types of nematode worms that attack birds with various locations of attack. Below is described the life cycle of each type of nematode.

Oxyspirura mansoni

The life cycle of this worm is that the eggs along with eye secretions flow through the lacrimal duct into the digestive tract and out with the feces of infected birds. As a new intermediate host is known cockroach pycnoscelus surinamensis and its larvae develop in the body of the intermediate host.

Syngamus trachea

The Syngamus trachea worm has a life cycle, namely adult female worms will lay eggs, then when coughing the eggs will be ejected and swallowed into the digestive tract and eventually come out with feces. The stool that comes out will undergo further development into infective eggs containing infective L3.

Capillaria annulata

These worms have an indirect life cycle. This means that eggs that come out with feces are swallowed by earthworms and undergo development reaching the infective stage after 2-3 weeks. Prepaten period for 3-4 weeks.

Tetrameres americana

The life cycle of the tetrameres americana worm, in which the eggs will come out with feces, requires a host between suitable orthoptera insects, such as Melanoplus femurrubrum, M. differentialis, and Blatella germanica. Infection occurs indirectly, due to eating infected insects.

Dyspharynx nasuta

The worm Dispharynx nasuta has a life cycle similar to other spirurides, its intermediate host will ingest the infective eggs and further development will occur until it reaches L3 in the body cavity. If the infective isopod is ingested by the definitive host, L3 further develops into L4 and L5 (adults) in the proventriculus and esophagus.

Cheilospirura Hamulosa

The life cycle of this worm, namely eggs that come out with feces, are swallowed by intermediate hosts and develop further into the infective stage takes about 3 weeks. Definitive hosts will be infected due to ingestion of infective intermediate hosts and the prepaten period takes about 3 weeks.

Ascaridia galli

This worm has a cycle that is after ingested infective eggs will be digested by digestive enzymes and larvae stage II free. Stage II larvae will penetrate the intestinal mucosa and develop into Stage III larvae. Stage III larvae exit again into the intestinal lumen and develop into Stage IV larvae and eventually develop into ordinary worms.

Capillaria caudinflata

The capillaria caudinflata worm has the same cycle as the Capillaria anulata worm, namely the indirect life cycle.

Strongyloides avium

The life cycle of the worm Strongyloides avium is typical among worms of other classes of nematodes. This worm is important for veterinary medicine, as it is able to carry out the cycle of reproduction of parasites and free life. The entire parasitic cycle begins when a female worm living in the cecum produces eggs containing larvae by parthenogenesis. After hatching, the larvae can develop through four stages, namely into adult male and female worms that are free-living and can be followed by a series of free-living generations. Infection is generally direct, but percutaneous infection can also occur. The prepatent period is 8-14 days.

Heterakis gallinarum

The life cycle of this worm, namely worm eggs have not developed when they come out with the patient’s stool, after 2 weeks or more in a supportive environment (optimum temperature and humidity) in the eggs will form stage I (L1) larvae, develop again into Stage 2 (L2) larvae that are infective.

Capillaria anatis

Capillaria anatis worms have a direct life cycle. That is, stage I (L1) infective larvae develop in eggs takes about 3-4 weeks. The definitive host will be infected due to ingestion of the infective L1, the development into an adult worm occurs without a migration phase. The prepatent period takes 3-4 weeks.

2. Class Cestodes (tapeworms)

Cestodes (tapeworms) cause cestodosis in chickens. The types of Cestodes that cause cestodosis are Davainea proglottina, Raillietina echinobothrida, and Amoebotaenia sphenoides. These worms are transmitted to poultry, due to the ingestion of infective intermediate hosts.

The life cycle of these worms, which generally starts from the definitive infected host, will secrete gravid proglottids in a series of strobila or alone with feces, sometimes the proglottids will break in the intestine, so that the eggs come out with feces. Then the proglotids undergo apolysis (disintegration), so the eggs are scattered in search of the environment.

If the egg is ingested by a suitable intermediate host, because it is affected by secretions (stomach, intestine, liver, and pancreas) in the digestive tract, the oncosphere will be digested, causing the activation of the embryophore. Embryophores using their hooks will penetrate the intestinal wall and eventually with the flow of blood or lymph circulate throughout the body to the place of predilection and develop further into an intermediate form (metacestode).

3. Class trematodes (leafworms)

A well-known parasitic worm disease by trematode worms (leafworms) is Echinostoma revolutum, this worm lives in the cecum and rectum of chickens. The worm is approximately 10-12 mm long and 2.25 mm wide. The testicles are tandem, elongated, oval or slightly lobed, located in the middle of the body and behind the ovaries. The cirrus sac is located between the branching of the cecum and the ventral suction Vanity.

The life cycle of this worm is that the eggs outside the host’s body will hatch into miracidium in water after developing for less than 3 weeks under appropriate conditions. Then the miracidium passes into the host (snail). Miracidium penetrates the soft parts of the snail’s body to get to the kidneys and turns into sporocysts. Approximately starting 9-12 days after infection, sporocysts produce one or two brood redia daily for two weeks. This parent Redia begins to produce daughter redia 19-23 days after infection. Redia children move to the distal organs and produce cercariae that begin to come out of the snail 46-62 days after infection.

Cercariae will form metacercariae and macista. Cercariae can come out of the original snail and into other snails that have the same or different species. The definitive host will be infected if it eats these snails and the worms will develop into adults in the digestive tract in the body within a period of 15-19 days.


There are several symptoms that can be seen if the chicken has worms. These symptoms include :

  • The appetite of chickens decreases.
  • The body of the chicken looks unpowered (lethargic and limp).
  • Chickens have diarrhea.
  • Chicken feathers look matted and dull.
  • The chicken looks pale.
  • Growth is late, eventually chickens experience dwarfism.
  • The body’s resistance is weak.
  • Body weight decreases (experiencing emaciation).
  • Egg production decreases.

Ways of prevention

Farmers can do several ways to prevent worms in chickens. Here are some ways :

  1. Quality feeding with balanced nutritional content

One way to prevent chickens from worms is to provide quality feed. In addition to quality feed, farmers must also pay attention to the content of nutrients in it, these nutrients must be balanced. It aims to maintain the immunity of chickens, so that chickens are not susceptible to disease.

  1. Sanitation of the cage and the environment around the cage

Cases of worms can be transmitted from one chicken to another chicken through chicken droppings that contaminate the area of the cage, place to eat, drink and other equipment. Therefore, disinfection and sanitation activities of the cage and the environment around the cage needs to be done. The Litter in the chicken coop can be infested with parasites and bacteria, which eventually become a breeding ground for worms. These parasites and bacteria are usually found in feces/ chicken droppings, so don’t let any feces accumulate in the cage. Efforts so that the conditions of the cage are not damp and wet, because if the conditions in the cage are damp and wet can increase high chances of worm infestation.

  1. Regular deworming

Deworming disease rarely causes death in chickens, but the economic losses are quite large, namely decreased egg production and chicken weight. Therefore, the disease of worms should not be underestimated and ignored. It is true that worm disease rarely causes specific symptoms and is difficult to detect early. Well, you can overcome this by giving regular deworming. With the administration of this drug can minimize the entry of intestinal worms in chickens.

In this article, we have discussed everything about the disease of worms in chickens. Starting from what is worm disease in chickens, causes, symptoms, to how to prevent it.

The point is that the disease of worms in chickens is a disease that the farmer must pay attention to. This is because if the chicken is attacked by worms, it will cause considerable economic losses. The disadvantages include, the cost of treatment is quite expensive, decreased body weight of chickens, and decreased egg production in laying hens. Therefore, we provide a preventive way so that the chickens you keep are not easily affected by worms.

Thus this article, may be useful and add insight to you. Thanks and see you on another occasion!

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