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Freaked out about gapeworm

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by srfjeld, May 22, 2011.

  1. srfjeld

    srfjeld Chirping

    May 13, 2011
    Okay... another newbie question here. Even before thinking about getting chickens, I always thought all birds, including chickens, LOVED to eat worms. They are everywhere in the ground, especially here in Portland, Oregon where we have no shortage of rainfall. So when I got chickens I was thinking... Yay! They can eat all our dandelions and won't they have a great time finding and eating all the worms in our yard. I let them out to free range for the first time last Friday (they were a little over 2 weeks) and one found an earthworm and I took it away, simply b/c it looked too big (it wasn't easy to get from my girl, either). And then yesterday I let one out again and she ate a tiny little worm. Now, as I continue to explore this forum more, I learning about gapeworm from slugs and earthworms. How in the world am I supposed to keep them from eating worms when they are everywhere? And just how common is gapeworm? What are the first signs or symptoms? Do I need to be worried?

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Chickens eat earthworms all the time but I don't read about cases of gapeworm very often. I'd suggest, take a deep breath and relax!

    Yes, it can happen -- you will see the gaping and be able to find them in the back of the throat, if it does. I believe you moisten a Qtip and swab the throat to find them. A search on here will give you the info you need, anyway.

    What you might do is read up on worming and choose a worming program for your flock. If nothing else it will give you peace of mind.

    I know there are worms here because they have been found in the dogs, so I just worm them, usually once a year. I've never seen a gapeworm, and my flock certainly has access to plenty of worms and slugs and who knows what else!

    Good luck.
  3. srfjeld

    srfjeld Chirping

    May 13, 2011
    Thank you for posting... I'm a little hyper sensitive b/c we've already lost one of our chicks and it hurt like heck. Just want to be safe. [​IMG]
  4. azhenhouse

    azhenhouse Songster

    Jul 12, 2010
    North Eastern Arizona
    We have chicks that were hatched by one of our hens this last April. They are being raised by momma hen out in the coop with the entire flock of 11 hens, and one rooster. They eat what everyone else eats. One day I brought some super worms home from the pet store to feed to the adult chickens, and was quite surprised when my four day old chicks grabbed, and swallowed them up like it was spaghetti. I don't know if you have ever seen a super worm before, but they are big. I think it would be safe for your little ones to eat the worms from the yard. Gapeworms can be dangerous if your chickens get them, but we can't keep chickens from eating worms, snails, or slugs. It's in their nature to eat these bugs. If by chance they do get gameworms there are some treatments out there that will get rid of them. So, don't worry too much. I am a big worrywart myself, so I know how you feel. I hope this helps. [​IMG]

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