Fall or Winter is also a good time to de-worm. The problem with the usual deworming method is that it requires you to destroy any eggs laid during the deworming process. Pretty intense chemicals are used. On one hand, you KNOW that the girls are going to emerge from the process "clean as a whistle" when using these chemicals. On the other hand, I wonder if such heavy-duty chemicals are really necessary every year, unless there's a major infestation*. So this year, I'm trying out Verm-X and pumpkin seed smoothies.
You can read more about Verm-X at their site. Basically, Verm-X is an herb/spice combination that is supposed to have deworming properties. You can get it in liquid form, or feed pellets. One challenge, however: the girls drink and forage in so many places that I can't guarantee they're ingesting enough (or any) of the formula. Tried soaking bread scraps in the liquid Verm-X as an alternative suggested by their site, but the girls wouldn't touch the stuff - it has that potent a scent! After chatting on Twitter with a couple other hen-addled folks, came up with a solution: pre-soak scratch grains in Verm-X. This gives the Verm-X time to "off-gas" some its scent, making it more approachable. The girls are now eating the grains.
pumpkin seeds can be used as a dewormer. Grind fresh seeds in a food processor with some unsweetened bio-active yogurt, and serve. This recipe is what the girls REALLY love. Figure I'll make this smoothie recipe for the remainder of the six-week de-worming process (the Verm-X will run out before then), and see how it goes.
Supposedly back in "ye olde days", those who worked with animals on farms were also encouraged by country doctors to do a regular de-worming regimen (and of course, I can't find the links where I first read this). There are plenty of herbal parasite cleanse methods available to humans over-the-counter. It's been three years of owning animals, so I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt if I were to do one as well. And thankfully, I don't need to worry about throwing out my own eggs.
*NOTE: [start legalese] Be sure to talk to your vet or doctor (whichever is appropriate) before undertaking any parasite cleanse. This blog article is provided for information purposes only. [end legalese]