Ascarids (minyoo) are one of the most common parasitic roundworms of poultry. They (Ascaridia galli) occur in chickens and turkeys. Adult worms are about the length of a finger (one and a half to three inches long) and two millimetres thick (the size of grass straw). Thus, they can be seen easily with the naked eye.
Heavily infected birds may show droopiness, emaciation and diarrhoea. Their droppings are watery and dark brown..
The primary damage is reduced efficiency of feed utilisation. The chicken may continue feeding but continue to lose weight. Death has been observed in severe infections.
Chickens of three to four months of age show resistance to infection. Specimens of this parasite are found occasionally in eggs. The worm apparently wanders from the intestine up the oviduct and is included in the egg contents as the egg is being formed.
The life history of this parasite is simple and direct. Females lay thick heavy-shelled eggs in the intestine that pass in the faeces. A small embryo develops in the egg but does not hatch immediately. The larvae in the egg reach the infective stage within two to three weeks. Embryonated eggs are very hardy and under laboratory conditions may live for two years. Under ordinary conditions, however, few probably live more than one year. Disinfectants and other cleaning agents do not kill eggs under farm conditions. Birds become infected by eating eggs that have reached the infective stage.
Ascarids in the chicken is treated using piperazine. But drugs remove only the adult parasite. The immature form probably produces the most severe damage. Therefore it is important to repeat the treatment after one month in order to rid the chickens of Ascarids. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using piperazine based drugs.
It is always better to control and avoid than to treat. Ascarids can be controlled in your farm by observing the following:
The parasite can be controlled by strict sanitation. If the birds are confined, clean the house thoroughly and completely before a new group is brought in. Avoid using deep litter or replace the litter every so often.
Pay attention to with particular care applied to the sanitation of young birds
Segregate birds by age groups so that they do mix. Observe the droppings often start treatment immediately something untoward is observed. If birds are on the range, and it is possible to use a clean range for each group of birds, then do it. Treat range birds more frequently.