It is time for me to butcher my old girls who have not been laying well. I've got only 5 girls left out of 15 to send off to cold camp, but in the process, I have found one large, mature round worm while gutting one of the other birds. What should I do to thoroughly clean my coop before introducing the new young pullets? The coop is just about 6" deep of soft dry sand over hardpan.... and lots of dry, granulated poop that is too fine to sift out. I have tried to keep one corner of the coop well incorporated with DE so the girls had a good dust bath area. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Do I have to shovel out and replace all the sand? That would be a huge, heavy job. Do I dust the ground with something like Sevin and let it stay fallow for a few days? weeks? Do I water in the Sevin? Is the problem gone with the last of the old girls?
Unfortunately the two deworming agents are not licensed for egg layers.
The intestinal worms spread by egg release through the oral fecal route, and interestingly tend to have higher incidence in free range chickens which to me may mean they are hosted by a wider range of wildlife. The parasite's eggs are unfortunately very environmentally stable.
Obviously, keeping the chicken waste up off of the coup and the immediate vicinity and the feed up off of the ground helps reduce but is unlikely to eliminate the transmission cycle. I have a hard time believing the parasite's eggs would do well if fresh bleach solution was used to wipe down or spray pre-cleaned surfaces scrub brushed with hot soapy water.
A single worm means it is present in their environment but unlikely present in and around your coup in high amounts. So early detection is a good thing.
I am not impressed by what I read in the way of homemade or organic remedies (not surprising since little seems to harm them or their eggs) but I will attach the links I found if it may be of interest.
Young birds are more likely to be hit hardest by infestation.
I had done a web search, and previously read the blog on backyardchickens.com. The best course of action sounds like I'll have to clean and disinfect the nestboxes and as much as I hate the thought, I'll have to excavate and remove all the loose sand and soil. That will be a HUGE job, given that I'll also have to bring in new clean material after the removal stage is done. All in an abundance of precaution because of ONE mature roundworm out of a whole flock of birds. Ugh :(
Earthworms are a carrier of round worms I read, too. So, when you think of this, there is really no way to prevent a hen from getting worms.
I think you have probably done all you can do at this point, IMHO.
In other threads, over the past several years, I've written about how I haven't seen an earthworm in 14 years of digging in my soil here. Not one, nothing, nada. A friend had given me a container with about a thousand earthworms. I distributed them in the veggie garden where I've worked hard to incorporate lots of compost and other organic material, and they were never seen again.
Might consider this Jeanne instead of removal. The temperature it reportedly puts out fast (h/t Bob Morris) amazes me (so I tucked the link away). Water the surface to a couple of inch depth in the area to be nuked say the prior evening to let it distribute well. The next morning the combined heat/steam as you wave this wand back and forth should kill any eggs present almost instantly. All you likely care about is the upper couple of inches.
This would be a treatment that can be reapplied from time to time to again reduce populations---I don't think you can ever be completely free of the pathogen if it is in the extended area your chickens roam.
This torch can serve other uses as well such as weed, grass and thatch removal. This is the sort of tool you might even get the boys happy to use for you.
We already own a cheap propane fired weed torch from Harbor Freight tools. I wonder if it would suffice? I REALLY don't wanna have to shovel out that coop area. My birds do not free range. With a pack of bird dogs here, they would not survive my dogs' hunting drive. And getting help from my "boys" to shovel out? HAHAHAHA!!! You jest!! In my dreams.