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Tape worms

I have free range six month old chickens. And recently discover tape worm segments in their poo. I freaked out as I naively didn't think that this would be an issue in chickens. I have taken them to the vet and had them de wormed. I will continue the medicine as recommended and de worm Regularly. My concern is my children although we maintain good
Hygiene my children love the chickens and are always out there playing with them and bringing in the eggs (she has only just started laying) I can't guarantee that my children haven't touched something and not washed their hands. My question is are my children at risk of contracting tape worm from the infected chickens?


  • undautriundautri Senior Member
     as far as im aware, the tape worms that affect chickens can only be hosted by birds and cannot affect humans
    likewise the external parasites, lice and mites cannot live on humans - they may go on you and may even bite you but cannot exist on you
    more worrying are the bugs like salmonella and e colli but these are more likely to be contracted by handling infected meat and eggs than handling healthy live chickens
    hope this sets your mind to rest
     x kath
  • sandiesbrahmassandiesbrahmas Super Moderator
    Just answered this question on your other post,Freeranging.

    Thankfully, we agree, Kath!

    Healthy live chickens pose very little threat to humans (unless they are very stroppy cockerels!). The harmful bacteria live in the gut of some chickens (varies on where you live as to the percentage who are likely to carry them). As the chicken has a single opening to the world (cloaca) for eggs and excrement, then eggs and faecal contamination of meat are the main sources of trouble.

    Thorough hand washing and anti-bacterial gel after handling live or dead chicken is the best preventative.

  • solarbatssolarbats Senior Member
    Tapeworms from birds cannot be transferred to humans for two reasons: 
    1) Tapeworms are host specific. (We are more at risk from pig tapeworms, eg from under cooked pork).
    2) The tapeworm segments (or 'cysts') from your hens contain tapeworm eggs.  These must first be ingested by an 'intermediate host' such as a fly, snail etc.  The eggs then grow on to become larvae inside the insect.  The chicken eats the insect containing the larvae, then it grows into a tapeworm.

    Please let us know if your hens are now tapeworm free, since we have never had success treating tapeworm.  
    Under expert veterinary instruction we have tried different strengths of praziquantel, at different times of the day (such as just before bedtime, so that it sits in the system longer).  We've even tried two doses, a few hours apart - all to no avail.

    Tapeworm meds do not actually kill the tapeworm, they simply paralyse it, causing it to lose it's grip on the gut.  Maybe hen's metabolism is so fast that the meds go through too quickly for this to happen?  Whatever the reason, I'd love to see an effective treatment, since our hens have loads of cysts in their afternoon poo! (Very rarely you see them early in the day).
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