Have you ever been playing around on the bed with your pet bird and noticed a little, yellow worm wiggling around on the bed – and then another – and then another? Or maybe you were watching her fluttering around in her cage and noticed the same thing? You follow the trail of little worms all the way to your bird’s rear end. That is pretty disgusting, but it’s actually not uncommon for birds to get intestinal worms.
So where did those worms come from? How can you get rid of them, and how can you prevent your bird from getting worms again?
How Do Birds Get Worms?
In most cases, those little worms are actually larvae, or baby flies of some kind. The adult flies are attracted to old food and even feces that accumulate along the inside of your bird’s cage or aviary or even around your home.
When birds eat the old, spoiled food – and some even consume feces – they ingest the eggs. The eggs hatch inside your bird’s intestines and begin traveling through the intestinal tract to get to the outside world. Eventually, those worms will grow into flies and will then fly away.
When those little bugs start feeding on the bird droppings, crumbs and old food inside the cage, they begin to multiply and can eventually create a small-scale infestation inside the cage. You might not notice them crawling around inside the bedding at the floor of the cage or aviary, but they are there. And eventually they will climb up and onto your pet bird. They will eventually burrow into her skin and begin laying eggs inside of her.
How to Get Rid of Worms
If your bird has worms, this is a very uncomfortable condition. It’s best to get treatment from the vet to relieve her discomfort and to prevent additional health problems that worms might cause from crawling around inside her body. Your vet will likely give a medication known as a wormer or dewormer. This can be mixed into your bird’s water supply or given to your bird orally, and it should kill off the worms within a few days.
How to Prevent Birds From Getting Worms
The best way to keep your bird from getting worms is to limit her exposure to old food, soiled bedding and feces. Cleaning her cage and giving her fresh nesting materials on a weekly or semi-weekly basis is ideal. If you have multiple birds, then you should clean out their cage even more frequently. Keeping doors and windows closed to prevent flies from entering your home are also good preventive measures. And you should probably never let your bird play around on the ground outside to keep her from picking up parasites.
Your vet can also give your bird a treatment for more long-term prevention. Worm protection drops are absorbed into your birds skin over time. The solution is actually a low-grade poison that enters your bird’s bloodstream, killing parasites that bite her or enter her body without harming her. Some varieties of these worm prevention treatments can be applied once onto her skin behind her neck, and they will last for several weeks at a time. If you are interested in applying parasite and worm treatments yourself at home, you can shop for vet products direct bird worming products online. But if you’ve never used these products before, it’s a good idea to check with your vet or with the supplier to make sure you get the right type of wormer for your species of bird.
Intestinal parasites can create serious health risks for your pet birds, so it is important that you take precautions to limit their exposure to old foods, trash, animal feces, soiled materials and insect infestations. Cleaning their cages and aviaries and keeping your birds indoors and applying long-term treatments can keep fleas, flies and worms from causing health problems and are the best steps you can take to protect your birds’ health.