Can earthworms make them sick?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 29, 2009
We have been feeding our chicks (5 weeks old) earthworms every few days as the kids find them.

A senior friend of my dad's just told him that we shouldn't feed them whole earthworms. I think she said they can carry a parasite or something that bothers their intestine. Then my dad went on to talk about how robins break up earthworms with their feet. Not sure if that directly related to the chicken thing or not.

Is there a problem with chicks this age (or older) eating earthworms?
nope my chix eat worms all the time let them eat and forage for stuff mine are healthier and eat less of my expensive chick food now because i let them eat totally wild stuff they eat worms bugs slugs flies moths... everything! they r fine dont worry
As you can see from this link, earthworms can be hosts for certain internal parasites. There is no need to panic. Chickens have been eating earthworms for thousands of years and thriving. Chicks raised by their mother outside will eat earthworms. You just need to be aware of what can happen and be aware of the signs that show you need to start treatment.
to me it is okay an occasional worm but regularly you will help the worms that effect chickens guts to have a priority of problems
if one feeds chickens for healthy eggs then the cost of chicken feed it not something to supplement but to figure it is the cost of healthy eggs

email me for any questions
this article has excellent advise on not feeding large amts of earth worms to chicks

This would make the need to feed daily 2% of given feed in DE and worm the chickens
the DE goes thru the gut and knicks the soft shelled worms and they die of dehydration

But the need for chemicallyworming is to get into the blood stream and kill the worm larvea to get the other worms at least every three months

some of the thoughts are

Clinical signs of parasitism are unthriftyness, poor growth and feed conversion, decreased egg production, and even death in severe infections. Furthermore, parasites can make the flock less resistant to diseases and exacerbate existing disease conditions.

Of all the intestinal worms, large roundworms (Ascaridia galli) probably inflict the most damage. Young birds are affected more severely. A mild infection is often not noticed. Large numbers of worms, however, interfere with feed absorption causing poor growth and production. In severe infections there can be actual intestinal blockage by the worms, causing death. Affected birds are unthrifty and more susceptible to other diseases. Roundworms are passed from bird to bird by directly ingesting the parasite egg in fecal contaminated feed, water, or litter, or by eating grasshoppers or earthworms carrying the parasite.

Another worm commonly found in chickens is the cecal worm (Heterakis gallinarum). While it rarely causes problems in chickens, its chief economic importance lies in its role as a carrier of the organism Histomonas melegridis, which causes a deadly disease in turkeys known as blackhead. Earthworms ingest the cecal worm egg containing the histomonad organism from the chicken litter. When the earthworms are ingested by the turkeys, they become infected. The cecal worm egg containing the histomonad organism may also be directly ingested by turkeys. Thus, one should never house chickens and turkeys together or allow turkeys on range which chickens have previously occupied.

Other intestinal parasites that cause problems are the small roundworms (Capillaria sp.). These parasites infect the intestines causing hemorrhage and thickening of the intestinal walls, leading to poor feed absorption and poor growth. Small roundworms are passed directly from bird to bird by ingestion of the parasite eggs or by ingestion of earthworms, insects, and other vectors carrying the parasite. Tapeworms are also very common, but unlike other worms must be passed through an intermediate host, such as a snail, slug, earthworm, beetle or fly.

Also the deficiencies of Vitamins A and B complex when feeding earth worms
you can do much harm to chickens health and well being here

any questions email me

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom