Worms in peafowl is one of their most serious health concerns. Young peafowl are especially susceptible to worms and are less able to deal with the strain put on their systems.
There is some debate as to whether worming peafowl is necessary. However many who raise large numbers of peafowl find that it is, and I fall into this group. So even if you choose not to implement a worming routine, it is wise to keep an eye on your birds’ and be ready to worm if necessary.
I have based much of my treatment for worms on how I and many of my friends rear their game birds. Many peafowl breeders recommend that peachicks are not put on dirt until they are at least two months old. I would not go so far as to say this, however I worm all my peachicks at 14 days old. When I first started worming this young I really could see how much better they did compared to previous years’ flocks.
A few general considerations
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.
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 any wormer marketed for chickens would be a good choice for peafowl. However, most only kill roundworms, and not the capillary, cecal, tape and gape worms that peafowl are also susceptible to. That said, it will not hurt peafowl and can be used if that is all that is available. Bear in mind though that if available, dosing schedules for game or turkeys should be followed as these birds are closer to peafowl.
Please note that it is against the law in the UK to use a drug on an animal for which is not licensed. That is unless you have a prescription from your vet, in which case it will be used on an off-license basis.
Most peafowl owners in the UK worm with flubenvet mixed in the feed. I have used it in the past for both peafowl and pheasants. It has to be mixed in the feed unless you pay more for food containing it. If you are just feeding a small number of birds, then flubenvet is a good choice.
In the USA Ivermectin is used by many peafowl owners because it kills the larval stage of parasites as well as mature worms. It should not be considered a miracle cure that will kill every type of worm. But it is a powerful enough wormer to work well unless dealing with a severe infestation. Ivermectin is marketed as Ivomec, but generic versions work just as well in my experience, and are cheaper.
Mix 1cc of 1% injectable cattle ivermectin for each quart of water (4ccs per gallon). Give it to your peafowl as their only water source for two to three days. Ivermectin is not very palatable, so it’s best to remove all water for a period of time before introducing the wormer mix as the only source of water.
If worms are a nasty problem or you want to dose a particularly sick bird, you can also catch them and use a syringe to administer a few drops (neat rather than diluted) in their mouth. Month-old peachicks can be given two drops. At six months they can safely be 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)
Tramisol soluble pig wormer can also be used and is marketed as Levasole. Be sure you’re using Anthelmintic Hydrochloride pig wormer; do not buy capsules for sheep. It is a white/yellow powder in a bottle which you fill with water. Mix an ounce of solution from the bottle per gallon of water. Give that to your peas (for the duration detailed on the bottle). This should be their only water source as above. Note that Tramisol can be harmful in overdose.
A third wormer option is Panacure . This comes in paste and liquid form in the UK. The liquid is mixed with water like the other two. The paste is administered individually to birds orally, or blended with milk and mixed with feed.
I worm my birds twice a year. I use Ivermectin or Panacure in March before breeding season starts, and again in September after it is over. Occasionally I will vary the routine and worm with Tramisol instead.
There is some debate as to whether wormers affect fertility. Some have used Ivermectin in particular throughout the breeding season without any problems. But as worms are not a huge problem here I avoid worming then, just to be safe. I do though treat my peachicks at a young age for their protection.
When considering what sort of worming routine you’d like to implement, you should keep a few things in mind.
How often you worm your birds depends a lot on the conditions of their environment. Think about other animals you have. If you worm chickens, goats, horses and dogs, then you probably should be worming your peafowl as well. Some lucky folk never worm their peafowl at all and don’t have problems, however I suggest worming at least annually.
When choosing what type of wormer to use, consider alternating between at least two types. No wormer will kill all types of worms at all stages of development. Using one wormer too often may also lead to worms building an immunity against it. If you have a favourite wormer you use routinely, consider using a different product occasionally 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.