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How To Tell if Ducks Have Worms (3 Simple Tips)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Just like any other poultry animal, ducks can have worms, and if you are wondering how to tell if ducks have worms, then you should read this article to the end

Even though worming the ducks is essential, if you don’t break the cycle with good management, it can become a significant problem.

There are many symptoms and behaviors through which you can find that your duck is carrying worms, for instance, being underweight, coughing and shaking, etc.

It’s quite critical that you find the infected ducks with worms early and apply necessary steps and measures, or you may lose your farm.

And it’s not easy to catch it early as many people fail to notice the symptoms.

We have put together a list of queries for you so that you recognize the signs early.

How do I know if my duck has worms?

How To Tell if Ducks Have Worms

This kind of infection is chronic, and that makes it quite difficult for you to identify it early as many ducks don’t show the obvious signs of sickness.

But as we mentioned before, ducks show some non-specific symptoms, and they do give out unnatural behaviors upon carrying worms.       

What are the symptoms?

Here are some of the things that you need to be vigilant about:

  • Intermittent diarrhea and anemia, which leads to pale combs.
  • Your ducks will start to lose weight.
  • They will reduce or lose their appetite.
  • They will grow at a very low growth rate.

What are the common types of worms in ducks?

We have put together a list of the most common worms that affect the ducks.


It is highly likely that you will come across roundworms in your ducks as they are the most common worms found in ducks.

Sometimes you can easily see them with your naked eye on the duck’s droppings.


We have discussed these worms later in this extensive guide, as they are considered to be the lethal ones.

They cause breathing and respiratory problems in your fluffy fellows.

Gizzard Worm:

They are rare in ducks, but you may find them in ducks in some seasons along with gizzards and geese.


They reside in the lower intestine, but it is highly unlikely that your ducks would have such worms.

Caeca Worms:

Another uncommon form of worms which are found in the caeca tubes.

Ducks show no sign when they have these worms and these worms are not lethal as well.

But they can cause inflammation of the caecum, so little precautions would not hurt.

Flubendazole and levamisole are considered to be effective for treatment.

Now that you are familiar with the worm condition among ducks, you can get yourself a fluffy and healthy pet or flock.

Can you get worms from ducks?

Research and many health officials have mentioned in their stats and studies that people can be infected with worms upon coming in contact with their droppings.

So, you ought not to get too close with your feathery friends.

Many people have gotten illness and various diseases due to this.

How can you avoid and treat it?

If you have a farm or you own feathery pets, you should take care of the following things.

  • Don’t snuggle with your duck, no matter how fluffy and puffy they look.
  • Look out for symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps, and consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
  • Use hand sanitizers after you come in contact with them.

How do you treat gapeworms in ducks?

Gapeworms are found in the lungs and trachea of ducks and they cause breathing and coughing problems.

And if the infestation is high, it can lead to death.

The following are the ways through which you can treat them.

  • For your pets, your healthcare would tell you to use supplemental oxygen.
  • For a flock, people use worm treatment products.
  • And the dosage depends on multiple factors, the level of infestation, age of ducks, etc.
  • Moxidectin and Ivermectin are usually the ones used for treatment.
  • Don’t use a strong dose even if your duck has a high infestation, you ought to use half of the usual dose to let your ducks develop.

Can duck eggs have worms in them?

Though it is very rare, it is entirely possible for a worm to travel from the mother ducks to the oviduct.

It only happens under the extremely severe worm infestation.

Eggs that are affected by worms are not suitable for eating.

This condition is extremely rare because in ducks worms usually occur when they have stopped breeding.

If they are infested with earthworms before laying the eggs, the eggs are damaged and the rate of egg production in the ducks drops drastically or stops altogether.

On the other hand, chickens are more likely to transfer worms to their eggs.

When should ducks be dewormed?

You can save your ducks from many health problems if you choose to worm them every six months.

But you should not let it spread too much and you must break the cycle with good management to get yourself a healthy flock.

The best way to go about de-worming your ducks is by choosing a methodological approach.

Irregular treatments are always ineffective.

If the worm infection is severe, the intervals of treatment can be reduced from six months to around 3-4 weeks.

The regular treatment of ducks can prevent the eggs from damage.

The only licensed treatment for worms in poultry animals is flubendazole.

What happens if you eat ducks with worms?

You must always check poultry animals for any disease or worms before ingesting them.

The most common indication of worms is smelly meat.

If you eat ducks that are infected by worms, you might need to visit your local ER and check for food poisoning.

Tiny worms may cause stomach-ache, but they don’t leave a lasting effect.

If you eat a duck that hosts bigger parasites then this might be a cause of concern.

If you notice worms in meat, check if they are cooked or alive.

Eating cooked worms is not concerning at all, but consult a doctor immediately if you consume live worms.


Ducks are important elements of wildlife that are naturally domestic and serve various purposes.

They are used in poultry, breeding, and hunting games as well.

Because they are active participants of our lifestyle, it is very important to treat and care for this domestic bird.

As we have already established, worms are the most common disease in ducks.

It is very crucial to be attentive and observant when it comes to catching the symptoms.

Having ill birds does not only affect them, it has a great impact on you as well.

You ought to look after every aspect of it.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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