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    Parasite control - precautions will keep your chickens healthy

    If you own chickens, chances are that they have intestinal parasites, but it’s nothing to fret over — if you keep them in check. “The word ‘parasite’ should not be a big concern; they’re going to be there,” says Dr. Gary Butcher, a veterinarian and professor of poultry diseases at the University of Florida.

    They get the parasites simply by doing what chickens do — eating bugs and earthworms and by pecking the ground and, in the process, pecking at chicken droppings. A few parasites don’t typically cause a problem, but extreme levels can have a devastating effect on a bird’s growth, egg production, and overall health. Taking precautions can help the small flock owner control intestinal parasites in his or her birds. Butcher suggests:

    • Upon acquiring chicks, give them medicated chick feed. The special feed can help the young birds develop immunity to certain parasites.
    • Keep your coops and roaming area clean and dry. Dampness breeds problems.
    • Make sure shavings or beddings are kept dry and replaced regularly. So chickens don’t walk and peck among their waste.
    • Avoid over-crowding. Giving chickens room to move will keep parasites down to a normal level.