Never seen worms like this before

journey11

Songster
Feb 14, 2009
679
10
201
WV
20210126_163435.jpg

I found these in my silkies' water bowl today. I've kept chickens some 12 years now and have never seen anything like this. It has been consistently cold here, except today was mild in the 50s, so I'm assuming one of my birds must have spit these up into their water. I change their water every 1-2 days in the winter at least, so they couldn't have been there long. I have Googled crop worms and other chicken worms and I can't figure out an ID on these. Wondering if I should deworm the whole flock? I have Ivermec Pour On on hand. I run my birds in a portable coop with electric netting fence. It's definitely past time to rotate them, but the weather has been so muddy I had held off.
 

cajuncluckerswla

Songster
May 21, 2020
93
281
116
They look like moth larvae/ molting mealworms. A spike in temperatures can encourage hatching of many species (they think it's spring and are impatient... lol) and they will typically look for a food or water source as soon as they emerge from the ground. The water in the bowl probably drew them in and they tumbled down the slick sides.
 

journey11

Songster
Feb 14, 2009
679
10
201
WV
They were in the water?
Is the waterer on the ground?

Could be any one of a multitude of types of insect larva.
I seriously doubt they came from inside your chickens.

Yes, they were still alive and wiggling. It is a heated dog bowl type waterer on the ground. I always see earthworms underneath the bowl when I dump it, drawn to the heat from the bowl, so hopefully that's the case with these too. They didn't look like any fly larvae I have ever seen, besides our temps staying in the 20s-30s pretty consistently for weeks now, I haven't seen any flies outside. These worms do resemble the shape of a mealworm, though soft and white, about 1/2" long and maybe 2mm in width, round-bodied, no legs.

None of chickens look sickly right now. I was worried this could have been a bad infestation of a gut-type worm of some sort. The chickens do need rotated onto new ground. It's so muddy I can't move the tractor right now. I rotate them over my big garden mostly and they compost scraps and kill the weeds for me, which makes for a good garden next year. Maybe these are some type of garden pest then. I can't imagine so many climbed into the bowl, with the soil already being damp anyway. I am just puzzled, but so long as they aren't a threat to my silkies. I need them in good health since I'll start hatching here soon. Thanks everyone for your replies.
 

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