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Nematodes - good or bad around hens?

Hi everyone

Well, thanks to the really mild weather this year we have been over run with slugs - yuk!  Every morning there they are their silver trails all over the place - pretty silver but messy. They have also devastated our baby gunnera plant :-(

So, I heard on a radio programme that Nematodes are fabulous in getting rid of slugs whilst being perfectly harmless for everything else.  But are they okay for hens cause they look like tiny tiny worms.


  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    From what I know about nematodes, they are usually a host-specific parasite, which dies off once it's host is eliminated.  I would have thought they are harmless to your hens.  I also think you may need to nurture a frog and/or hedgehog army - by far the best slug control!

    Well done to you for not even considering pellets=D>
  • BonnieBonnie Senior Member
    Thanks Helen.   I hear so many horror stories of wild birds and animals eating pests that have been given poison etc. and it then goes on to kill them.  So sad.
    Anyway, we'll give the namatodes a go and let you know how we do. Hopefully the cold weather will get rid of them soon anyway :-)
  • doormousedoormouse Senior Member
    I know I'm a bit late but currently working in agricultural research and quite friendly with a guy who is licensed to work with nematodes - will pick his brains! M
  • BonnieBonnie Senior Member
    Marie - where have you been. Lovely to see you :-)
    Look forward to all the juicy gossip on nematodes! x
  • doormousedoormouse Senior Member
    Hiya - managed to catch my nematode expert mate today and read out the majority of this thread...he agrees with Helen that most nematodes are host specific:

    - the slug ones target the slugs' breathing holes then eat them from the inside (and was actually developed at the research institute we work at yonks ago!)

    - some are not host specific (eg Ringworm) - but I said we treat our hens for that stuff

    - he said that although they are 'worms' they are so microscopic the chickens wouldn't see them...I said that chickens seem to have microscopic eyeballs from the way they peck at fence panels so don't underestimate them!

    The upshot being that nematodes for slug control are fine if chickens eat them - they're natural and host-specific - so go for it and let us know how you get on.  

    He did also agree with the hedgehog cultivating...I sooooo want a hedgehog!

    So that's the basics - if you have more questions, shout - he really is an expert and you know what experts are like...love to bore you silly with their knowledge so please ask?
  • BonnieBonnie Senior Member
    Marie, that is fantastic thank you :-) .........and a big thank you to your expert mate.

    So, it's off to the garden centre this weekend and to think up the next juicy question
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    edited November 2016
    I love it - not only do we get Marie back, but she comes with a free parasite advice expert!

    I have a question he might be able to help with;  I have an exbat who has tapeworms which are completely resistant to praziquantrel.  I've tried equitape and droncit (spot-on) but she still has 100+ cysts in her poos! :((

    Although she appears to be dealing well with them, I expect her to moult soon and think that her little system may struggle to cope.

    My vet is also looking into it, but maybe your expert has a tip - maybe there's a nematode for this?  

    Many thanks in advance Mr Whitecoat and clipboard!
  • doormousedoormouse Senior Member
    Well Helen - felt I needed to bring something to the party after all this time so I didn't get 'kicked to the kerb' by you lot while I tried to integrate myself back!!!

    He is so not white coat and clipboard but a down to earth Yorkshire man...that's why we get on...will ask...won't see him now till Tuesday at the earliest... we sometimes work in the same laboratory but he has his 'nematode only' section he works in and I have taken over the rest of it for a photography experiment I'm trying...so spend quite a bit of time together...will let you know next week!  ~:> M
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    edited November 2016
    Thanks M.  Like the sound of him!

    I suspect that it's not possible to send nematodes down into a hen's intestines still intact enough to do away with tapeworms, but you never know!
  • BonnieBonnie Senior Member
    Hmmm I saw an article on natural ways to get rid of intestinal worms (yuk!) and wonder if they are any good for hens???

    Crushed coconut
    Raw garlic
    Unripe papaya
    Pumpkin seeds
    Carom seeds

    Not all at once though

  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Thanks Bonnie,

    Having read quite a lot of info on worms generally, I think that some of these are only possible deterrents, along with rhubarb leaves which our flock seem to love!

    However - garlic clove in water bowl might be worth a try!
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    stout would get rid of them too but make for some very interesting perching techniques at night  :-O

  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Is that really so Kath?  Have you tried it personally? 
  • undautriundautri Senior Member
    cant say i have personally drunk stout then tried to perch  but once had trouble getting into a mini after drinking cherry brandy ...does that count :(|)
     seriously its an OLD trick used with horses ...my Dad once bought a mare off the marshes in the next village - it was so skinny that the owner didnt realise it was in foal - vet suggested feeding bran mash, boiled linseed and stout to get her condition up and rid her of worms . that was about 35 years ago so i doubt if vets today would suggest it .
    xx kath

  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    That definitely counts if you're after a giggle! ROFL!

    I suspect the linseed was the worming part of the concoction here, and the stout was just something the older generation used to think 'put hairs on your chest' so to speak!

    My vet has suggested we try a double dose of pyrantel (another paralysing agent) so hopefully will get that next week.  Thing is - I think her tapeworms are being paralysed in the 'grip' position!~X(
  • doormousedoormouse Senior Member
    edited November 2016
    My mate works with plant nematodes so not sure about livestock ones, but says there is probably a nematode for everything...problem is, most are not commercially available so you'd never come across them...he said he's keep it in mind in case anything came to light!...sorry - can't be more help than that at the mo as have only seen him once on his own since I posted...hoping you get to the bottom of it soon Helen...

    Sounds like stout's worth a try...a beakful for the chooks and the rest of the bottle for you! Kath...lol...I had the same effect getting out of a cab on red wine...real Ab Fab style!! 
    X_X M
  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Thanks for trying Mx
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