Worms and Worming the Racing Pigeon
From Dr. Rob Marshall's "Pigeon Medicine Handbook"

The "health" medicines include the Super-Additives TURBOVITE OIL, BLOOMFORD, DUFOPLUS and IOFORD, which promote general good health and vitality in the breeding and racing birds. Epsom Salts, Apple Cider Vinegar, Hi-Cal, Herbal Teas, Castle~ Picking Stone and Sea Grit also fall into this category.

Regular worm treatment controls most worm problems with the minimum of fuss, but it is important to know how, when and which wormer to use. Some wormers cannot be given during racing whereas others cannot be given during breeding. The following information explains the appropriate use of wormers.

Worms are common and must be controlled in both the breeding and racing flocks because they weaken the bird nutritionally. This means that, although the correct balance of feeds may be fed and eaten, the bowel of a bird with worms is unable to absorb (take in ) the nutrients into the body system. The result is a pigeon that loses weight, has poor feather could be anemic, becomes tired after exercise and looks unwell. Both the racing and breeding pigeons with worms become susceptible to "Respiratory", Canker, Enteritis and especially fungal diseases. The racing bird cannot perform with worms and the breeding bird cannot rear babies successfully.
The racing pigeon with worms cannot race nor breed successfully.

All states of Australia experience similar worm problems but to differing degrees so that the worming programs discussed here apply to all situations. Many fanciers in the Southern states mistakenly believe they do not a have a tapeworm problem, but in fact tape worms occur in all states. The southern states of Tasmania and Victoria experience more roundworm problems than the Northern states because of their wetter climates, but roundworm treatment is necessary in all areas of Australia.

Worms occur especially when there is moisture in the loft. This may occur in concrete floor lofts moreso than in wooden floor lofts because the concrete holds the moisture longer. Worms occur more with deep litter lofts than in lofts scraped daily, because the worms eggs accumulate and become concentrated in the deep litter situation. Only Tapeworms occur in wired floor lofts unless free lofting is permitted, but wired floors create potential health problems in humid or cold areas. Free lofting predisposes the flock to Roundworms, Hairworms and Tapeworms and is best avoided during the race season. Worm control depends upon both good hygiene and the regular worming of both the breeding and racing flock with the appropriate wormers. Worming programs are detailed later in this booklet.

The fancier needs to know why the worms occur as much as what wormer to use, so that the overuse of wormers can be avoided. Wormers used in excess, as with other medicines, is to be avoided in pigeons for several reasons. One important reason is that overuse of wormers increase the chances of the worms developing resistance to these medicines. The understanding of why the worms occur is the most important part of worm management. The changing of wormers during the season is a good idea as it helps prevent the development of worm resistance. Roundworms, hairworms and tapeworms are the three main worms to be controlled in the race and breeding loft. The following information outlines the best wormers to use for different occasions. Synanthic is used for roundworms and tapeworms during the race season and for stock birds before breeding. Levamisole Powder is used for roundworms and hairworms in young birds and for stock birds before breeding. S76 is used for roundworms and hairworms during racing, moulting and breeding. The recommended wormers then are Synanthic, Levamisole Powder and S76. Other less commonly used wormers are Piperazine and Drontal tablets.

Synanthic (Oxfendasole) alternated with S76 are the best wormers to use in the racing season, because they do not affect form.

YOUNG BIRD SEASON WORMERS S76 and Levamisole Powder are best wormers for the young birds because they do not affect feather growth and promote good natural resistance.

BREEDING SEASON WORMERS S76 is the preferred breeding season wormer because it is safe for babies, does not affect fertility and z controls lice and mites.

Roundworms will infect nearly all young birds with older birds being rarely affected, because of the increased natural resistance of the older bird to roundworms. If for any reason (e.g. diseases such as "Respiratory" or Fungal infection in the loft, poor loft hygiene or overwork ect) the immune system of the old bird is damaged then roundworm infection may occur. The wormers which are used for roundworms are Levamisole Powder for roundworms in young birds, moulting birds and in stock birds pre-breeding, Synanthic or S76 during racing.

Tapeworms are very difficult to detect in the racing loft unless the worms are seen hanging from the vent but  Tapeworms are a major problem in all parts of Australia. Not every bird will have tapeworm and they are not spread from bird to bird but by insects. The treatment of Tapeworms must include the eradication of insects such as snails, slugs, moths and especially weavils from the seed.

Thecontrol of weavils is difficult without the use of insecticides. Bay leaves, Garlic cloves etc do not seem to control the weavil, but cool storage will prevent the weavils from hatching. During the race season any seed with weavils is best discarded so that the constant threat of tapeworms is avoided. Synanthic is used for tapeworms unless the birds are moulting, then Drontal tablets are used. The dose of Synanthic varies according to the degree of tapeworm infection.

Hairworms are usually a stock bird problem related to dleeplitter and overcrowding. Levamisole Powder is the treatment of choice for the stock birds before the breeding season. It is necessary to repeat worming 3 weeks after the first Levamisole course. Hairworms are blood suckers and therefore cause anemia and illthrift in the stock birds. Such a flock requires an iron supplement such as loford daily for 2 weeks after the first worming, then Bloomford, Turbovite and Dufoplus each second day for 3 weeks until pairing.