Worms in Chicken Eggs: Causes + What You Need To Know

Worms in chicken eggs are a usual occurrence mainly due to the feeding habits of the birds. Chickens tend to eat anything and everything they can get their beaks on, which is how they may get worms.

Worm infestation remains a problem with chickens because eliminating them is not possible. All you can do as a chicken keeper is to ensure that your flock does not experience a worm overload which may cause poor health and even death.

What do worms in chicken eggs look like?

Worms in chicken eggs look different. For instance, roundworms look thick and white and may have a length of about 12 cm. On the other hand, hairworms are tiny and thread-like and may not be easily seen by your naked eye.

Worms in Chicken Eggs
Worms in Chicken Eggs

The caecal worms appear white, have a pointed tail, and are about 1.5 cm long.

It may not be easy to spot worms in chicken eggs. Therefore, always look for other potential signs of worm infestation and overload. This includes weight loss, pale and/or dry combs, and reduced appetite.

You should not be confusing the chalaza with worms. The chalaza is two stringy or rope-like structures naturally attached to the bottom and top of a shell to safeguard the yolk from slamming into the walls of an egg.  

Types of worms in chicken eggs

Chicken eggs may have different kinds of worms that are determined by their environment, species, and what they feed on. Types of worms in chicken eggs may include:

1. Roundworms

As a common worm in backyard birds, you may observe the parasitic worms in poop and chicken eggs when the infestation is excessive. The parasite in eggs does not pose any health risk, only disgusting in appearance.

The worm is majorly found in the small intestine of chickens and should be controlled as it lowers the nutrient absorption ability. The worms damage and impede the intestine walls of your poultry. As a result, you may have to deal with sickly or dead birds.

2. Hairworms

Also known as capillary parasites or threadworms, these parasitic worms are thin and appear like threads. You may find threadworms in different parts of the chicken’s body, including in the intestines and esophagus.

Because of their tiny size, it may not be possible for you to spot hairworms in chicken poop or eggs with your naked eyes.

Too many hairworms are bad as they may reduce the ability of your birds to absorb vital vitamins and nutrients.

3. Cecal worms

Although very common with backyard poultry, cecal parasitic worms are not dangerous. The worms reside in the caecum, a large tube or pouchlike structure marking the beginning of the large intestine. It is in the caecum where smelly droppings are usually created.

Treatment of cecal worms can be done by fenbendazole.

4. Gapeworms

When they infest your birds, they will mainly live in the trachea. That is why chickens having gapeworms will always experience breathing problems. The chickens tend to open their mouths, stretch their necks, gasp, or cough frequently in an attempt to breathe and expel gapeworms.

Gapeworms appear red, have a fork-like shape, and can be treated using a wormer, I.e., Waze.

5. Tapeworms

The parasitic worms can be transmitted by different insects and birds, such as earthworms and beetles.

Because tapeworms mainly attack different parts of the intestinal wall, that may cause a weaker immune system for your birds.

Try controlling tapeworms using either fenbendazole or levamisole, popular solutions for treating infections in birds and animals kept at home.

Causes of worms in chicken eggs

The causes of worms in chicken eggs are either indirect or direct contact. Worm eggs or larvae can be ingested directly from the grounds when your birds are pecking at anything and everything.

Because of the toughness of worm eggs and larvae, they can survive on the ground for months or even years just waiting for a host.

Your birds may also get worms directly when they come into contact with sick wild or indirectly by ingesting a sick intermediate host, like bugs and insects. If your chickens have worms in their poop, there are high chances that you will find them in their eggs.

Can you get worms from chicken eggs (What happens if you eat eggs with worms?)

There is a minimal chance that an egg’s worms will affect you if you eat them. But if you eat worms found on any spoilt food, including eggs, there is a danger of food poisoning.

Often, it is not easy for worms to be inside eggs, even if your egg-laying birds have an overload. Sometimes there may be worms in the egg shell, especially if one that is contaminated was broken around it. Those can be washed off with warm water. Always clean your hands after collecting eggs.

What to do if you find worms in chicken eggs and how to treat the chicken

If you find worms in chicken eggs, try to deworm your flock immediately. Confirm with your local vet about the best medication to give your poultry and follow the directions of use provided by the manufacturer.

There are potentially effective natural and organic dewormers you may use to treat your chickens. Frequently add garlic, Diatomaceous Earth, apple cider vinegar, or any other ingredient with anti-bacterial properties to your chickens’ feed and drinking water.  

Since eliminating parasitic worms from your chickens is problematic, spend more time on preventing an attack and overload. For instance:

  1. Keep the environment of your chickens dry
  2. Regularly clean a chicken’s coop and other objects like feeders to eliminate potentially infected droppings and discourage attacks by worms
  3. Always add anti-parasitic medications to the drinking water of your poultry
  4. Avoid putting chicken feed on the ground as it may promote worm infestation by ingestion
  5. Treat new birds with dewormers before mixing them with the existing birds
  6. Avoid keeping your chickens in one place. A location with an accumulation of manure or droppings will have a high load of parasitic worms.

Prevent and treat worm infections regularly so that your poultry remains healthy and productive. Always look for potential worm infestation signs in birds and eggs. Some signs may include vomiting, pale yolk and/or comb, neck stretching, discolored vent, and excessive sleeping.