One of the most serious health concerns for peafowl are worms. Peafowl are susceptible to a wide range of internal and external parasites which sap their strength and even kill juvenile peafowl. When considering worms and peafowl, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Young peafowl are especially susceptible to worms and are less able to deal with the strain the parasites put on their bodies. Many people recommend that peachicks should not be put on dirt until they are at least two months old.
If your peafowl appear thin and listless, worms may be the culprit. Check their droppings for any signs of the parasites and consider starting a worming routine.
Although there is some debate whether worming peafowl is a necessity, many who raise large numbers of peafowl find that it is. Even if you choose not to implement a worming routine, it is wise to keep an eye on your birds' conditions and be ready to worm them if necessary. There is no wormer made especially for peafowl, so many peafowl owners have experimented with a variety of products to develop routines that work for them.
One would think that Wazine (also know as Piperzine), which is marketed for chickens, would be the best choice for peafowl as well. However, Wazine kills only roundworms, and not the capillary, cecal, tape and gape worms that peafowl are also susceptible to. I have personally talked to peafowl owners who have wormed with Wazine and still lost birds from worms. Although some incorporate Wazine with other wormers, most agree that Wazine is a waste of money for peafowl. However, it will not hurt peafowl and can be safely used.
Most peafowl owners worm with ivermectin, tramisol, panacure, or some combination of the three.
Ivermectin is used by many peafowl owners because it kills the larval stage of parasites as well as mature worms. Although it should not be considered a miracle cure that will kill every type of worm, it is a powerful enough wormer to work well unless your place has a severe infestation. Brand name ivermectin is sold as Ivomec, but generic stuff works just as well and will save you some money. Mix 1 cc of 1% injectable cattle ivermectin per quart of water (4 ccs per gallon) and give it to your peafowl as their only water source for two days. Since the peafowl will probably be able to tell that the water is different and not like it, it's best to remove all water for a period of time before you give them the wormer. Obviously, if it is hot you shouldn't leave them without water for more than a few hours, but if it is cooler they can go a day without any ill effects, and it will help ensure they drink the treated water. If they finish it off, add fresh treated water until the two days are up. If worms are a nasty problem or you want to dose a particular sick looking bird you can also catch them and use a syringe to administer a few drops in their mouth. Month old peachicks can be given two drops, and the amount can gradually be increased until they are six months or older and can be safely given seven drops. Ivermectin can also take care of external parasites. Put a drop under each wing to keep away lice and mites.
Tramisol (levamisole hydrochloride) soluble pig wormer can also be used. Other companies market Tramisol as Levasole-this is an identical product. Just be certain that it's Anthelmintic Hydrochloride pig wormer. It is white/yellow powder in a bottle that you fill with water. Do not buy the capsules for sheep. Follow the instructions on the bottle to mix with the appropriate amount of water, and then mix an ounce of that solution with each gallon of water and give that to you peas as their only water source as described above. This is okay for chickens as well. It is important not to overdose with Tramisol because it can be harmful.
A third type of wormer is Panacure (fenbendazole), also marketed as safeguard. Safeguard comes in liquid, granular, pellet and liquid forms. The liquid can be mixed with water like ivermectin and tramisol. The paste can be individually administered to birds orally or blended with milk and then mixed with twenty five pounds of feed. The pellets can be fed right to the birds.
I worm my birds twice a year with ivermectin, once in March before breeding season starts and once in September after it is over. Occasionally I vary the routine and worm with tramisol instead. There is some debate over whether wormers affect fertility of eggs. Although it is often said that they do, some who use ivermectin worm right through breeding season without any problems. Because worms are not a huge problem here I avoid worming during breeding season just to be safe.
When considering what sort of worming routine you'd like to implement, you should keep a few things in mind. How often you should worm your birds depends a lot on the conditions of their home. Very warm areas tend to have more of a worm problem than colder areas. Some in the Southern United States worm their birds monthly, starting when chicks are two months old, and must do so or they start to lose birds. Others do it quarterly. Here in Pennsylvania I worm twice a year and haven't had any problems. Some lucky folk never worm their birds at all and don't have problems. Also, think about other animals on your farm. If you worm your chickens, your goats, your horses, and whatever else you raise, then you probably should be worming your peafowl as well. If worming's never crossed your mind, and you've never had an issue with any of your animals, then it might not be necessary. Still, I suggest worming at least annually. Your birds will probably look better for it. Even if they don't have enough worms to seem unwell, they could still be infested.
When choosing what type of wormer to use, consider alternating between at least two types. No wormer kills all types of worms at all stages of development, and using one wormer too often might lead to worms building an immunity against it. Even if you have a favorite wormer you use most of the time, consider using a different product every once in a while just for a change.
Worms can be a major problem, but they don't have to be. With a little extra time and expense you can keep you birds healthy and worm free.
For more information on worming peafowl:
This page last modified Saturday, July 15th, 2006