My 6 wk old chicks have begun to open their beaks very widely, as if yawning. If they were cats, I'd say they were trying to cough up a hair ball.
I'm curious as to what they're up to, if anybody knows.
I was told a few possibilites when mine started doing it
The most worrisome is gapeworm, could they have become exposed from any kind of bugs, earthworms, etc.?
Are they on bedding that other chickens have shared?
If there is a possiblity, search on this site for gapeworm. It is a parasite. There are cures but untreated it will choke your chicken and they will die.
You might do a search on yawn because I remember this coming up once before. I think the general concensus was that it's common. Mine spend their time panting in the West Texas heat so their mouths are always open!
I was concerned too b/c mine do it. I watched though and it's hardly ever just one... so I figured it was a chicken thing. Gapeworm will worry me later when they are out for a while or exposed to something other than plastic and clean litter.
Aargh! Wow, this is frustrating. Because we thought we were being kind to are chicks by giving them an occasional worm as a treat. Earthworms. Who knew that these carry gapeworm?! How is it I never saw anyone write that you should never, ever give your chicks worms because they may carry gapeworm. Man, had I known they would have had nothing but their crumbles, ever.
And they have the other symptom too, they keep shaking their heads, sometimes so strongly they hit the side of the brooder box. I thought this was just chick behavior.
I'm really starting to freak out now.
Well, I just got finished watching my chicks obsessively for the past half hour, and neither one of them did that yawn thing, or shook their heads. They are very energetic, and are feeding, drinking, grooming, and even flying into each other.
So, are there any reasons that the yawn and the head shaking might come and go?
At any rate, I'm greatly relieved, because they do not seem like they are about to drop dead.