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Gaping Hen

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Yep, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. Yep

    Yep New Egg

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    My cornish hen who's not quite a year, has been opening her mouth really wide as if she's yawning, sometimes she'll shake her head when she does it. She does it basically all day everyday. It's almost as if she's gagging. It's been going on for about three weeks. I tried to look down her throat, of course she wasn't cooperating very well, but I didn't really see anything. So I don't know if it's gape worm. She acts okay, and eats well. And today I found a light brown/tan bug on her. Very tiny. It almost looked like it had wings..but I dunno. I couldn't smash it between fingers either. Any help or advice on how to treat her would be wonderful. Thank you so much.
     
  2. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I'm going to say she has gape worm and needs to be treated right away for it.

    As stated from The Chicken Health Handbook:

    The gapeworm Syngamus trachea) buries its head in the lining of a bird's windpipe or other part of the respiratory system, causing "the gapes" or "gapes". Gapeworms get their name from the habit and infected bird has of continually yawning or gasping for air. these worms, which are big enough to be seen without magnification, are also called "red worms" or "forked worms" - each blood-red female has a somewhat paler male permanently attached forming the letter Y.
    Gapeworms cause considerable losses in free-ranged flocks, particularly those associated with adult turkeys. This parasite is especially serious in young birds; older chickens become resistant.
    An infected chicken coughs up worm eggs, swallows them, and expels them in droppings. The cycle is either direct or indirect, involving earthworms, snails, and slugs. Eggs take up to two weeks to embryonate and may survive in soil for as long as 4 1/2 years.
    Symptoms of gapes are yawning, grunting, gasping, sneezing, coughing (sometimes coughing up a detached worm), choking, loss of energy, loss of appetite, weakness, emaciation, closed eyes, head shaking, frequent throwing of head forward with mouth open to gasp for air, and convulsive shaking of the head (to dislodge worms from the windpipe). Gapeworms multiply rapidly, eventually suffocating the bird.
    Infected small flocks are treated with either thiabendazole or levamisole.

    Hope this helps some and I wish your flock the best. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Yep

    Yep New Egg

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    Aug 1, 2008
    The funny thing is, she doesn't seem to show any of the other symptoms. But to be on the safe side I'm going to treat her for it anyway. Can I get either of these medications without a prescription? And will they treat any other worms she may have?
     
  4. Yep

    Yep New Egg

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    I was able to finally get a good look down her throat, and I didn't see anything. Could worms in general be causing her to do this? And what would be a good de-wormer?

    And also, I was wondering, if people or other pets can catch the same lice/mites that chickens get? Thanks.
     
  5. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    If you didn't see anything in her throat, then it's quite possible it could be something else. Especially if there aren't any other symptoms involved. I typed exactly what the book said because I wanted you to see all the symptoms that were related with gapeworm.

    Have you checked to see if she might be egg bound? Are any of the other hens coughing, sneezing, wheezing, gaping? How old is she?

    It is so hard to say what is wrong with her without seeing her and then it would still be a guessing game. There are so many different things that could cause gaping. Worms in general could be one of them.

    I personally would start by worming her and make sure that you keep her in isolation, away from the other chickens. See if any new symptoms develop.

    I wish I could be more help to you here. There are just so many different poultry illnesses out there.

    As far as lice and mites go, they are breed specific. Poultry lice stay with poultry.

    Good luck with this and sorry I can't help more. [​IMG]
     
  6. Yep

    Yep New Egg

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    Thank you so much for the help you've given. [​IMG] She's not quite a year old. And I've been keeping her isolated. Can you reccomend a good wormer?
     
  7. gumpsgirl

    gumpsgirl Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    You are welcome! I'm just sorry I can't be of any more help to you.

    I personally have never used a chemical wormer on my chickens. I have always used chopped, hulled pumpkin seeds mixed in buttermilk along with giving them a Tbsp of organic ACV to a gallon of water daily. These are good preventatives, but won't treat the worms. I would recommend that you do a search on threads asking about wormers. Here is a link to one of the most recent threads and it has quite a bit of good info. in it. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=120261
     
  8. Chiwchiw16

    Chiwchiw16 Out Of The Brooder

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    HEY BROTHER I JUST WANT TO KNOW if i should worry when my ONLY MALE CHICKEN is gaping eventhough he's already 6 years old?
     

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