Herbal and chemical approach to control of Ascaridia Galli infection in commercial poultry farm

1Sachin Patidar, 2*Neeraj Kumar and 3Jayshree Jakhar

1MVSc, Department of Veterinary Parasitology, GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand
2 PhD, Division of Veterinary Pathology, ICAR-IVRI, Izatnagar, Uttar Pradesh, 3MVSc, Department of Veterinary Pathology,
GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, Uttarakhand


Infectious diseases are a significant huge obstacle for the poultry industry. Parasitic infections are very common among them, and one of the most common parasitic roundworms found in poultry is Ascaridia galli. Infection is characterized by haemorrhages, diarrhoea, and listlessness.  Parasitic infections such as A. galli are treated with various chemical anthelmintics and medicinal plants. Synthetic chemicals can promote resistance, so there is need for alternative ways to treat the disease along with medicinal plants. Medicinal plants have the potential to combat such parasitism and the development of anthelmintic resistance appears to be very slow against such treatment. This review covers the studies related to the screening of both anthelmintics and plant materials having anthelmintic activities against A. galli.

Keywords- Ascaridia galli, Gastrointestinal Parasite, Medicinal anthelmintics, Chemical anthelmintics. 


Parasitism with protozoa, helminths and arthropods remains a main threat for poultry industry worldwide. Between helminths, like Roundworms, Tapeworms and Flukes, Nematodes are the most important ones. Ascaridia galli, Heterakis gallinarum and Capillaria spp. are the most common roundworms of poultry, with Ascaridia galli being the most prevalent round worm that live in the intestines of birds (1). Several studies report incidences of up to 90% in various countries. It is much more abundant in traditional farming with outdoor run than in industrial production facilities. This parasite is responsible for clinical and subclinical parasitism. In heavily infected poultry the clinical signs include droopiness, diarrhea and hemorrhages due to heavy worm infection, particularly in chickens and turkeys. Also, during heavy infestation birds may show signs of decreased weight gain and retarded growth, due to damaged integrity of the intestinal mucosa and subsequent impaired nutrient utilization. In more severe cases and especially in young birds, intestinal blockage may occur, leading to death (2). A. galli infections result in serious economic losses, usually associated with treatment cost, decreased feed efficiency and poor egg and meat production. Another very debilitating factor resulting in economic losses is the ability of A. galli eggs to act as vectors for transmission of fatal bacterial infectious organisms, such as Salmonella and E. coli. Currently many anthelminthic used for control of A. galli infection in poultry farm but due to high cost and resistance against parasites nowadays attention has been drawn to the use of botanicals in poultry diet, due to their anthelmintic properties (6).

Life cycle and transmission

The life cycle of A. galli is direct. From the small intestine, adult female worms pass eggs in the faeces. Infectious larvae develop inside the eggs in around 12 days at 33°C, but frequently take longer at lower temperatures. Infectious eggs can survive for up to a year in the litter of birds. They do not withstand at temperature below 12°C, but they may withstand a little frost. Earthworms are mechanical vectors that can eat vast volumes of infective eggs. Birds become infected after consuming infective eggs, either directly through contaminated food or water or indirectly through infected earthworms. The larvae are released in the stomach lumen after being ingested, where they moult and stay for around 10 days. They then penetrate the stomach lining, where they stay for 1 to 7 weeks until moulting. They then return to the lumen of the gut, where they mature into adult worms and the females begin to lay eggs (8).

Susceptibility and pathogenicity

Infections with Ascaridia are particularly dangerous to young chickens under the age of 1 to 3 months, especially if they have a vitamin or protein shortage. In poultry husbandry, heavy illness is the leading cause of weight loss and decreased egg production. Intestinal obstruction can occur as a result of severe illnesses. Unscrupulousness, wing drooping, head bleaching, and emaciation are all visible. Infection also results in blood loss, lower blood sugar levels, higher uric acid levels, shrinking thymus glands, stunted growth, and a higher mortality rate (5). Adult worms may travel up the oviduct and be found in hens’ eggs, as well as in the birds’ faeces, in cases of severe illness.

Clinical signs and symptoms

Marked lesions are produced when large number of young parasites penetrate into duodenal mucosa may cause severe haemorrhagic enteritis. Birds become anaemic and suffer from diarrhoea. Affected birds become unthrifty, markedly emaciated and egg production is decreased. In heavy infection, intestinal obstruction may occur. The color of egg yolk become pale. As birds get older, they become more resistant to the worms, which limits both the injury and the worms’ reproduction, i.e., the contamination of their surroundings with eggs. Resistant is a breed-specific trait. Dietary deficiencies such as vitamin A, B and B12, various minerals and proteins leads to heavy infection (7).


A. galli can be diagnosed by the above clinical signs, faecal examination or worms in the intestine at post-mortem. Evidence of enteritis/hemorrhagic enteritis can be seen on PM (10).

Prevention and control

  • For sustainable control of A. galli different approaches have been employed such as, nutrition of poultry, utilization of genetic resistance, biological control, and the use of plants with promising anthelmintic activity (9).
  • General hygiene requirements must be followed, including dry and disinfected flooring, clean feed and water, and separate upbringing of young, growing, and adult birds. Provide clean feeding troughs and drinking water appliances. Because the development of the worm’s eggs requires humidity, it is advisable to keep the birds’ bedding as dry as possible and to change it frequently to prevent or at least reduce Ascaridia infections.
  • To avoid or limit egg contamination, strict sanitation of feeders and drinkers is required. It’s also a good idea to rotate your pastures. Parasitic infections should be screened on a regular basis, and all infected birds should be separated and treated properly (4).

Table 1. Common medicinal plants used for against A. gall in poultry (11)

S.N.PlantPart useDose (mg/kg)RouteEffect against A. gall
1Azadirachta indica (Neem)Leaves powder200OrallyIncreased bird body weight; Parasite death
2Pomegranate (Punica granatum)Peel powder1500OrallyFecal egg reduction, Increased packed cell volume, total serum proteins, body weight
3Kadak patti (Vernonia Amygdalina)Leaves powder100OrallyFecal egg reduction
4Latakaaranj. Malayalam (Caesalpinia crista)Seed powder50OrallyFecal egg reduction
5Piliostigma foveolatum (Dalzell)Bark200OrallyFecal egg reduction
6Melia Azedarach (Bakain)Fruit powder20OrallyEgg development inhibition

Table 2. Common anthelmintic drugs used for against A. gall in poultry (12)

1PiperazineSingle dose, 50 mg/bird (less than 6 weeks old), 100 mg/bird (more than 6 weeks old), in the feed at 0.2%–0.4% or in the drinking water at 0.1%–0.2%  Orally
2Hygromycin – B8-12 g/tons of feed for 8 weeksOrally
3Albendazole5-10 mg/kgOrally direct by syringe (Not soluble in water)
4Fenbendazole14.5 g/ton of feedOrally
5Pyrantel tartrate15–25 mg/kgOrally


The variety of botanicals provides a significant source of bioactive compounds available other than chemical anthelmintics, which could lead to potential new natural-source therapies for chicken ascaridiosis. The anthelmintic properties of botanicals constitute a very promising alternative strategy to overcome current treatment limitations, especially given the economic relevance of parasitic diseases in the growth of the poultry industry.