Control of Poultry Parasites
By John Buttery, CEO Anivax™, Specimen kits and parasite testing for backyard chickens and horses
Many species of parasites must spend a part of their developmental cycle outside the body of the host
or they cannot continue to exist. In the case of poultry parasites, with few exceptions, the stage away
from the bird is spent in the feces. Some of the protozoan parasites, however, spend this developmental
stage in the blood stream, and these parasites are therefore not eliminated through any of the body
openings of the host. Their escape from the body depends on their being removed by bloodsucking insects.
In their infective stages, parasites are introduced into susceptible hosts in a number of ways:
- By means of contaminated litter and soil.
- By means of contaminated food and water.
- By means of carriers; birds that have had a light infection or have survived a more severe one may
carry the organisms within their intestinal tracts for long periods of time and spread the parasites
in their discharges.
- By intermediate hosts; insects such as flies, mosquitoes, and beetles, or other low forms of animal
life such as snails and slugs, in which a part of the development of the parasite takes place, are
eaten by susceptible hosts, and as a result infection is set up.
- By mechanical means; animals and human beings may carry infective material on their feet and thus
spread the parasites from one pen to another. Attendants have been known to carry infective material
from an infected pen to a sanitary one; contaminated chicken coops and other equipment may be a source
of infection when carelessly moved from place to place or used for healthy birds.