First necrospy--egg bound and roundworms

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by DragonDaddy, Oct 12, 2014.

  1. DragonDaddy

    DragonDaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Folks:

    After some agonizing, I decided to cull and perform a necropsy on this very thin hen who had not been gaining weight despite being isolated with starter crumble for a week. I was
    worried that I wouldn't be able to tell what was wrong, but I'm sure now. She was massively egg-bound. Probably should have culled her sooner. The DIY necropsy was a good learning experience, after all.

    I'm convinced that the egg binding was what was ailing her, but I did find several adult roundworms in her intestine. Probably about a dozen (in the last photo). I know that this is a subject of great debate, and I'm wondering whether to treat the rest of the flock for roundworms or to let them be. This is the only hen who is underweight. The rest are doing well, and don't have the protruding breastbone that this one hen had. Would it be at all reasonable to allow this moderate worm infestation to continue as a symbiotic relationship, rather than dosing the flock with chems?

    My flock of about 20 free range on an acre or so of pasture and forest.

    (Apologies for the slightly out-of-focus photos. **** you, Tim Cook!)




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  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Sorry for your loss, not much couldve been done about egg impactation. As far as worms are concerned; no debate about it. They have contaminated your soil with eggs and most likely your other birds have become infected as well. It's only a matter of time you'll see the worms effects in your other birds. I recommend that you worm your birds with valbazen or safeguard.
     
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  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Sorry for your loss and thanks for posting your necropsy findings. I would do like Dawg53 suggests and de-worm them.

    -Kathy
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
  4. DragonDaddy

    DragonDaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the replies and sympathy. I'm assuming the other chx must have some roundworms as well. I guess what I'm wondering is whether there is any room for thinking that some level of worm infestation is normal, and if the rest of the flock appears healthy, they may be keeping it in check without medication?

    I also have goats, and I know that such thinking is common in the goat world. That is, the goal is not to get rid of all worms, but rather to keep them to manageable level. The idea being that it is natural for the animals to have some small number of intestinal parasites, and the farmer has to balance the harm caused by the worms against the harm caused by the dewormer, the building up of resistance the meds we have available, etc. And there is some very recent thinking that worms may be a natural part of animals' biota, and reducing their #s to zero may cause more harm than good.

    I have no outwardly obvious signs that the rest of my flock is suffering. This girl was going South fast but I'm very sure that was because of the egg binding, not because of the roundworms. If I assume that the rest of the flock has a similar # of worms, but they maintain weight, lay eggs, have energy, etc., would it make sense to wait and see if the worms become a problem?
     
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    I do many of my own necropsies and send some off to UC Davis as well, and in all of the ones I have done I have only seen worms in one hen, no worms in any of the others, so I would have to say that it's not normal for mine to have them. Maybe you could have a fecal done and consult with a vet what worming program would be best for you.

    -Kathy
     
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Do you have a dog or cat? Is the goal the same for your dog or cat, ie...allow a small number of parasites? How would you know your birds have a small wormload without necropsy? To assume the rest of your birds have the same amount as the necropsied hen is guesswork. Chickens pick and peck the ground constantly...that's what they do. They have a greater chance of picking up worm oocysts and eating oocyst infective insects more than any other livestock animal. Rotating pasture, dry soil conditions, wormers, and rotating wormers prevents and treats worms.
     
  7. DragonDaddy

    DragonDaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Good point. I have 3 dogs, who are all on monthly wormers, I think largely to avoid heartworms, which are fatal, but which also address intestinal worms except for hookworms.

    It seems like there is a point of view that one should not treat worms unless they are a problem. See, for example, this link from NC State Univ. which states "Usually, low levels of infestation do not cause a problem and can be left untreated." Or this link from Univ. of New Hampshire which states " Mild infections of ascarids often go unnoticed, but severe infestations can cause a reduction in nutrient absorption, intestinal blockage and death." Another non-university example: this link stating: Most books will tell you that chickens can co-habitat, if you will, with worms, as long as the flock is healthy and with no vitamin deficiencies. Some books suggest worming every Spring and Fall while others recommend taking a stool sample every Spring and Fall to your local veterinarian to have it tested for worms prior to making the decision. All of it seems to be good sound advice, however, not many books tell you what to look for or what to use.

    Really, I'm not resistant to worming. I'm just trying to gather information, and it seems like there is a diversity of opinions of this subject.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Have your vet check for evidence of roundworms, cecal worms and capillary worms.

    -Kathy
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member Project Manager

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    Read this:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...feather-damage-while-molting/50#post_14133795
    -Kathy
     
  10. DragonDaddy

    DragonDaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK, I'm seeing additional threads such as this one, in addition to dawg53's many helpful posts, where the subject has been thoroughly hashed out. I'm not trying to flog a dead horse. Seems like there is a diversity of opinions on this subject.
     

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