Can I give my chickens worms?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by bryan8, May 29, 2009.

  1. bryan8

    bryan8 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    New york
    I have ten 4 week red sex links. Can i give them red worms out of my garden? would I need to supply tiny rocks?

  2. My Little Sister's Farm

    My Little Sister's Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2008
    Forest Grove, Oregon
    They should be fine eating worms at that age. Their gizzard is quite efficient at this age. To be honest, I don't give my babies grit until their are their coop, even then they don't eat a whole lot. I would just give them the worms and not worry too much about grit. At that age, unless they were raised by mommy, they aren't always interested yet anyway.
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The issue you need to think about is not grit but parasites. Earthworms are carriers of intestinal worms that chickens can get.

    Granted, they will eat worms when foraging. That does not mean you really want to add to the load, or introduce it this early.

    Mealworms from the bait store cost more but are safe.
  4. bryan8

    bryan8 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    New york
    Opps 2 of my chicks probally ate 2 worms total. About an inch long. Will they be ok?
  5. cw

    cw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2009
    green co.
    they will be fine
  6. chicks44

    chicks44 Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 17, 2009
    So, to be clear, because I am curious about this too. At what age do the chicks have to be before feeding them anything other than starter mix? Also, only worms and bugs from a bait store or pet shop are safe? My chickens will mostly be confined, but I want them to have some natural food sources. Any other treat suggesstions to throw in from the outside? I have seen branches etc. Are there specific things they have fun with?
  7. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    off topic, but when i read the title to your post, i mis read it . for a moment i thought you were asking if the chickens could contract worms from you.

    i think i need to go to bed.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  8. sfchixn

    sfchixn Out Of The Brooder

    May 30, 2009
    Hi all, first post! --

    We worm compost at home so the worms are all indoors (garage and living room, lol) and are fed our (all vegetarian) kitchen scraps. I feel pretty safe feeding these worms to our new chicks (1-3 weeks old.)

    We have 4 chicks: Black Australorp, Red Star, Plymouth Barred Rock and a Buff Orpington. One just so happens to be older than the other three by 1 or 2 weeks.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Quote:You have not murdered your chicks. Ddawn is correct that earthworms are an intermediate host to certain worms that can infect chicks, so it is a good idea to research the topic and know what to look for. It's knowledge you should have anyway. Google can be your friend or use the search feature on this site. I have not fed my chicks in the brooder any earthworms for this reason but many people do and don't have any serious problems.

    When a chick is raised in it's natural environment by mama, it eats all kinds of living and dead matter, including grit. Different things can be hosts to different parasites or diseases. Your chickens will be exposed to them all someday if they get outside at all.

    When we raise our chicks in the brooder, they do not live in a natural environment. They are contained so their poop can build up to dangerous levels if we don't manage it for them. They eat a manufactured blend of food instead of living and dead matter unless we give it to them. They don't have a mama to keep them warm so we supply heat lamps. It seems difficult to keep them healthy since we don't instinctively know what to do for them but they are pretty tough and normally do fine if we come close to giving them their necessities.

    I firmly believe in supplying grit to them before giving any food other than the manufactured starter or starter/grower. Their system is set up for their gizzard to grind up their food for them so they can properly digest it and pass it through the rest of their system. I think grit reduces the chance of constipation or the runs if they eat anything other than the manufactured starter. They have not had a case of pasty butt since I started supplying them grit at day 3, but that may just be coincidence. I give them sand from a sand pile in what will be their run. There are no earthworms in it that I can see. I realize they could still get some parasite or disease from this, but I observe them carefully three times a day for problems. They are going to be eating this some day anyway.

    Good luck!
  10. vermontworms

    vermontworms Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 16, 2009
    I was just looking up info on parasites in a different thread. Parasites that could come from earthworms go through a life cycle that is bird --> bird feces --> earthworm --> bird. If you don't feed compost worms bird manure, they should not pick up any of the parasite eggs.

    I would agree with sfchixn: compost worms you raise yourself on clean food scraps should not be a health risk for chickens (or at least shouldn't give them parasites).

    The worst thing you could do is try to feed chicken manure to compost worms in order to feed the compost worms to your chickens. That would be a disease risk.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009

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