Chickens and Parasites

MotherHen75

Songster
Dec 18, 2018
286
265
151
South Carolina
Can a chicken eat a parasite directly? I’ve seen some pretty nasty parasitic worms and some were big! I know if a chicken eats a infected host then the parasites will live with the chicken as it’s host. If a chicken were to eat a ring worm directly, would they get it or would it be considered as food and digest it?
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,279
38,622
1,096
southern Michigan
Ring worm is a fungal skin infection, nothing to do with worms!
Round worms happen, spread by eggs in their environment. If a bird chews up the roundworm that's laying in the environment, it's food.
Many parasites have complicated life cycles, involving two or sometimes three different hosts for different phases of their total life story. All yucky, IMO.
Mary
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,404
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856
Holts Summit, Missouri
Internal parasites of chickens I am aware of, enter body of chicken and then grow to size the parasite can then produce offspring that continue life cycle outside the chicken's body. Route of uptake is not always through the chicken's mouth.
 

MotherHen75

Songster
Dec 18, 2018
286
265
151
South Carolina
Ring worm is a fungal skin infection, nothing to do with worms!
Round worms happen, spread by eggs in their environment. If a bird chews up the roundworm that's laying in the environment, it's food.
Many parasites have complicated life cycles, involving two or sometimes three different hosts for different phases of their total life story. All yucky, IMO.
Mary
sorry, meant round worm
 

MotherHen75

Songster
Dec 18, 2018
286
265
151
South Carolina
Here’s a picture of a roundworm my barred rock pooped out. She’s all good now, but if a chicken were to eat a worm like this minus the poop, would the worm be digested or would the chicken become it’s host?
 

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Sue Gremlin

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 1, 2013
888
1,708
282
Vicksburg, MI
Chickens get many types of worms, and some of these have a direct life cycle (i.e they get infected from other chickens) and some have an indirect life cycle (they get infected by eating a required intermediate host, like a beetle or a worm). Some can be transmitted either way, such as large roundworms, which can be transmitted by a host of bugs and earthworms, snails or slugs, which they use as a "transporter" host (the proper term is "paratenic host", meaning they are not required for transmission), or worm eggs can be passed from chicken to chicken directly. They aren't transmitted as actual worms, they move around between hosts as eggs, as do most internal parasites. Some worms even live outside the host some of the time, but I don't know if there are any of these that infect chickens.
Tapeworms are transmitted only by intermediate hosts like ants and beetles, and cannot be directly transmitted from chicken to chicken.
 
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Sue Gremlin

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 1, 2013
888
1,708
282
Vicksburg, MI
Here’s a picture of a roundworm my barred rock pooped out. She’s all good now, but if a chicken were to eat a worm like this minus the poop, would the worm be digested or would the chicken become it’s host?
Good question. An adult worm itself is not infective, so it would be digested without consequence since the eggs inside the female worm are not infective, and the worm wouldn't survive being eaten. The eggs have to go through a stage of development (called embryonation or larvation) before they have the capability of infecting their next host, which usually happens when the food or water is contaminated with these larvated eggs.
So if you leave feces laying around that has worm eggs in it, the eggs will eventually reach the infective stage (it takes something like 2 weeks, depending on the environmental temperature). Eggs are super tough and can live in that stage a long time, waiting for a chicken or paratenic host to eat them.
 

CatWhisperer

Crowing
8 Years
Jun 16, 2013
1,503
5,057
401
northwest Arkansas
So to answer your original question in a much simpler manner, no. A chicken will not get infected with worms by eating an adult roundworm.
Sorry, I get long-winded sometimes. :)
But if a chicken pooped out a roundworm that your chicken ate then a number of your chickens already have roundworms and need to be treated. Roundworms require more than one treatment to be completely eliminated.
 

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