Hen exhibiting signs of Gapeworm

ColorCountry

In the Brooder
May 12, 2020
20
20
39
I have a 20 month old Easter Egger hen that opens it mouth repeatedly, gags, shakes her head and moves sideways with her neck outstretched like she is
trying to dislodge something in her throat. Internet research indicates Gapeworm parasite. She lives with two other Easter Egger hens in a 7 X 13 foot predator
proof coop, and has access to a 8 X 12 door enclosed run. She eats normally, and her droppings look normal. She is smaller than the other two hens, and
weighs about 4 pounds. I do let them free range in the backyard amongst the raised veggie beds and the small fruit trees. This year I let them get into the
raised veggie beds before I started to plant in early June. My raised beds have earthworms in them, and according to research can cause this ailment along with eating
slugs, flies and beetles. I haven't seen slugs.

Anyway, research indicates treatment with Ivermectin or Panacur ( Fenbendazole) which are in liquid or powder form for dissolving in water. My issue is the proper
dosage as these medications are for sheep or goats, not chickens. The IFA store does have Safe-guard ( fenbendazole) which research indicates a dosage of
3cc (ml)/gal in water for 3 days. Repeat in 3 weeks. Also, you are not to eat the eggs during the withdrawal period, but my hens are not laying at the moment.
I forgot to mention that the affected hen is also molting, so no eggs. Might be a good time to treat for the problem.

So, I am posting this in hopes a more experienced chicken wrangler might help share dosing protocol or maybe another method of treatment. For me, adding
meds to the water or food would be easier than chasing them down and injecting the meds orally.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

Raeganmh02

Chirping
Jan 26, 2020
138
142
96
I had a hen mid-summer of this year doing the same thing. She was gasping like awful and stretching out her neck when she did so. I’ve never had a hen act like that before. My hen, like yours, was eating fine and completely alert, however some days her gasping was so bad she could hardly breath. I did my research and like you came to the conclusion that it had to be gape worm, but I did not want to treat her unless I for sure knew what it was. Plus she is one of my feather mean layers (a brown leghorn) and I am a broke college student...so I debated on putting her down or just waiting and seeing if she would pull through. I did not want to cull her if she had a fighting chance, and since she was eating, pooping, and walking like normal I decided to just wait. She continued in her state for weeks, then one day I came home and she was completely fine! No gasping, no breathing struggles, nothing. I kept her in quarantine for another couple of days just to make sure she was good and wouldn’t spread something to the rest of my flock. After watching her for almost a week with no symptoms at all, I let her back with the others. To this day she is fine. I am not sure what the situation was. Sometimes chickens just come down with weird things. I wish I knew what her problem was. Whatever it was, she kicked it and none of the other chickens were affected.
 

ColorCountry

In the Brooder
May 12, 2020
20
20
39
Thank you all for the replies. Her crop is empty in the morning. I checked her vent
and it is clear. She wouldn't let me look inside her beak. I'll try again. I also checked
her droppings, and didn't see anything moving around after I opened them up
in the sun. She still eats and drinks like normal.
 

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