Are nightcrawlers the same as earthworms?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by nova022, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read that you should not feed your chickens earthworms, but I do not know if nightcrawlers are the same as earthworms. There are a lot of nightcrawlers in my yard and I am concerned that the chickens will eat them when they are free ranging. Thanks for any information.
     
  2. jenifry

    jenifry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My kids feed the chickens store bought nightcrawlers at least once a week. It is a treat for the kids and the chickens love them. They will find earthworms and nightcrawlers naturally if they are there, and they will just be a boost to the protein in their diet. In fact it is a JOY to watch them fight over a big juicy worm when someone finds one and someone else notices. [​IMG] There are some parasites that worms can carry, but I have never had an issue with them.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  3. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you aren't supposed to feed them due to the fact they can carry internal parasites and give them to your chickens. That being said, my chickens find them all the time and snap them up in the yard. They stalk robin's and make them drop their catch and rob them, lol. The ducks are master worm hunters, and when the nightcrawlers are out they will gobble them like candy. I'm not about to stop them, the idea of freeranging is to allow them to get food, like yummy worms. Even hubby will go out there with a shovel and dig up worms for the girls every now and then. So I doubt it's that harmful to feed them to your chickens.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Julie is right, worms are carriers of internal parasites. The chickens will love them, and eating them won't kill them or make them sick, but they could introduce several kinds of parasites. If you feed worms (and nightcrawlers are just big worms) then you should deworm your hens twice a year.
     
  5. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have so many night crawlers in my yard I don't know how I could prevent them from eating them if they free range. One of my girls loves any thing that moves and I have seen her with a worm already. Can the parasites be passed to humans through the egss? What do you use as a dewormer? Thanks for your reply.
     
  6. BrendaJ

    BrendaJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nightcrawlers are just big worms. People like them for fishing ect. Chickens love them. Mine eat them along with lots of other bugs. i dont buy them for my chickens though - they are just in the yard. :)
     
  7. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree that it is hard to stop them from getting a worm. Henretta, my white rock pullet goes for anything that moves. Being new to chickens I want to do what I should, but it is hard to know all the ins and outs. Thanks for replying.
     
  8. juststruttin

    juststruttin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,

    From what I understand, Earthworms carry gape which is a worm that attaches to their trachea and has to be removed manually. If you are going to worm, make sure your wormer prevents gape, but from what I understand wormers will not kill gape once it has attached. Those worms will need to be removed with tongs down the throut.

    I only learned about the earth worm / gape dilemma last year and have been digging up earth worms for my chickens for years. I have never had any problems with gape, so I certainly do not plan on stopping earth worm hunting with my girls. When they see the shovel they come a running. It is really the cutest darn thing. I can't wait til winter.
     
  9. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definetly not have to buy any. When my sons were little I would by them nightcrawlers for bait when I took them fishing and I would empty the left over worms in the flower beds and garden. Now I have gazillons of them. If they were really harmful, I would not be able to let my chicks free range because there are so many. Thanks
     
  10. nova022

    nova022 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That sounds charming. I would love to see them in action. ; ) Chickens are so much fun.
     

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