Gapeworm, but only in the young chickens of the flock?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by elabell, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. elabell

    elabell In the Brooder

    Jun 14, 2010
    San Diego
    Hi. I have a flock of ten, seven adult hens (just over a year old) and three 'teenagers' hatched this past spring (13-16 weeks old). The three young chickens have a habit of panting, they pant all the time. I do live in San Diego, CA and it is summer now, so I thought that it was just weather related (though the other hens find ways to stay cool and thus not pant). But recently I learned about gapeworm. Could all three of the young chickens have this? Like I said, it is only the three young chickens that are exhibiting this symptom, the older hens are fine. I have not been able to look down their throats because they do not like to be touched and handles since they were raised by some of my hens. All ten chickens live together, so if this were contagious I would have thought that it would have been a problem for all (or more) of the group, not just this year's chicks. The three young chickens are eating and drinking and are active. They have a very healthy appetite (one in fact, devours anything I bring out for them. Could this be a sign of another type of worm problem, like a tape worm?)

    Thanks for your input.
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Gapeworm isn't all that common. More likely they have a piece of shavings/straw stuck in their throats. Gapeworm comes from a nematode they get when they eat earthworms sometimes. The cure for it is to worm them with something like Safeguard (also called Panacur or Fenbendazole), but unless they are shaking their heads and coughing/hacking like they're choking, I doubt gapeworm.
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Are your 3 teenage chickens twisting their necks, gasping for breath? If not, and they are eating, drinking and otherwise acting normally as you state; they do not have gapeworm. They would have difficulty eating and drinking if they had gapeworm because they wouldnt be able to swallow properly. They would be concentrating on breathing more than anything else. They would be twisting their necks, gasping etc...trying to breathe. You and another person hold one of them and take a Q-tip and very gently stick it one inch down the chickens throat and gently twist the Q-tip, then bring it out. Gapeworms are red in color and are "Y" shaped. IF you see them on your've got a problem. I doubt they have tapeworms neither. Have you checked their poop, close up? There are different types of tapeworms. Check their poop with a magnifying glass; if you see what looks like a grain of rice OR what looks like a cooked flat piece of macaroni a couple of inches long (more or less), then they have tapeworms. Chickens are always hungry....they are walking stomachs.

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