Farming isn’t always clean and cheery. You’ll have to deal with issues like parasites and pests, especially if you purchase animals that are already infected. Ridding a new animal of parasites should be considered a top priority since it can affect your entire flock. Parasitic worms can cause health problems and even death to your homestead animals. It’s a major source of discomfort for your animals and can threaten your livelihood, too.
While chemical dewormers can put your animals right again, they aren’t the only answer. The key is to practice clean homesteading to prevent worms in the first place, especially because many worms are becoming immune to drugs.
Follow healthy homesteading practices to keep your animals worm-free. But don’t worry! If you have a problem with worms we’ve also included our favorite dewormers for farm fauna.
How to prevent worms on the homestead
Avoid feeding your animals on the ground. Worms can crawl into the feed and easily infect your animals with eggs.
Instead, feed your animals in a clean feeder. Discourage animals from sleeping or playing in the feeders so you keep their food supply clean.
Don’t forget to hose down and dry the feeders periodically!
Don’t crowd animals
Crowded conditions are unsanitary conditions. Give your animals more than enough space to not only protect their health but to give them a better quality of life.
When in doubt, follow the USDA’s animal handling guidelines to see how much space each animal requires.
Use clean pastures
If you have goats, sheep, cattle, or horses, you need to watch the health and cleanliness of the grazing pasture.
Rotate pastures to keep the grasses three inches in height. This deters worms from crawling to the top of the shaft, where animals feed.
Watch animals’ weight and health
Pregnant, lactating, old, weak, or underweight animals are more prone to worms. If there’s been an outbreak, be sure to separate the more vulnerable animals to protect their health.
Encourage farm diversity
Diversify the animals on your homestead. This minimizes the risk of spreading worms because not all animals are subject to the same parasites.
Our top dewormers for the homestead
While these practices won’t replace chemical deworming, they can help keep your animals safe and protected for the long term.
But we know that occasionally you’ll need to deworm your animals. Here are our favorite dewormers by species.
Cattle and swine
Noromectin is an effective way to treat roundworms, lungworms, lice, mites, and more in your cows and pigs. Follow dosing information carefully because it varies by species and animal weight.
Dogs and cats
Homestead dogs and cats might need more deworming than city pets.
We like this three-day canine dewormer for dogs. It’s safe for pregnant dogs and puppies over six weeks of age.
Bayer has a cat dewormer in tablet form. Simply crush the pill and add it to your cat’s favorite wet food.
Remember that these medications may cause mild vomiting or diarrhea.
Chickens love eating worms, but yes, they can still get worms. PetRx’s Poultry Remedy will fix eye worms in poultry as well as colds and scaly legs. It’s also a great product to prepare your chicken before a showing.
To give your chicken Poultry Remedy, simply add it to water and give it straight to the bird from the bottle.
Cure your horse’s worms with Panacur’s dewormer. This oral gel is easy to administer and even comes in an apple cinnamon flavor. It’s safe for horses who are pregnant, elderly, miniature, or over- or underweight.
The bottom line
Nobody likes dealing with worms, but it’s a reality on the homestead. Follow clean homesteading practices to prevent worms in the first place and treat with chemical dewormer as needed. Keep your homestead a happy worm-free place for both you and the animals’ comfort.