Pretty sure my chick has gapes, now what?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by thndrdancr, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. thndrdancr

    thndrdancr Songster

    Mar 30, 2007
    Belleville, Kansas
    Ok, my biggest brown Americauna, which is about 4 weeks old, eats everything when she is outside, including earthworms, etc. I have been taking the chicks outside on the nice warm sunny days, cuz I have been feeling sorry for them, being all cooped (ha, cooped) up inside for so long. We havent had very many days that have been nice.
    So, the last three days, she has been scratching at her throat and beak area, and keeps opening her mouth like she is yawning. She doesnt do it constantly yet, and still seems healthy, but does have diarhea, a murky dark poo that smells. I want to get on top of the prob before it gets bad if is gapes, but am really not sure what to do for it.
    I searched and googled and maybe am looking in the wrong areas or something, becuz I am not finding much info.
    Anyone know what to do and does this sound like gapes?
    Thanks for the help.
  2. rockAdoodle

    rockAdoodle In the Brooder

    Apr 12, 2007
    well i look on the internet to see if i could be any help . i found u a site that might help u out. . one question i have is, the feed u giving yr chic does it have plenty of grit in it . If not that might be yr problem there not enough grit in the chic crop to help to break down the worm it eating.
  3. Gracefulspice

    Gracefulspice Songster

    Mar 25, 2007
    I did remember reading a post about this in BYC. I found you the link. But I guess you should be sure that it's Gapes before you try it. Plus there may be other ways?

    I also found this.
    The gapeworm (Syngamus trachea) is a round red worm that attach to the trachea (windpipe) of birds and causes the disease referred to as "gapes". The term describes the open-mouth breathing characteristic of gapeworm-infected birds. Heavily infected birds usually emit a grunting sound because of the difficulty in breathing and many die from suffocation. The worms can easily block the trachea, so they are particularly harmful to young birds.
    The gapeworm is sometimes designated as the "red-worm"; or "forked-worm" because of its red color and because the male and female are joined in permanent copulation. They appear like the letter Y. The female is the larger of the two and is one-fourth to one inch in length. The male gapeworm may attain a length of one-fourth inch. Both sexes attach to the lining of the trachea with their mouthparts. Sufficient numbers may accumulate in the trachea to hinder air passage.

    The life cycle of the gapeworm is similar to that of the cecal worm; the parasite can be transmitted when birds eat embryonated worm eggs or earthworms containing the gapeworm larvae. The female worm lays eggs in the trachea, the eggs are coughed up, swallowed, and pass out in the droppings. Within eight to fourteen days the eggs embryonate and are infective when eaten by birds or earthworms. The earthworm, snails and slugs serve as primary intermediate hosts for the gapeworm. Gapeworms in infected earthworms remain viable for four and a half years while those in snails and slugs remain infective for one year. After being consumed by the bird, gapeworm larvae hatch in the intestine and migrate from the intestine to the trachea and lungs.

    Gapeworms infect chickens, turkeys, guinea fowl, pheasants, chukar partridge, and probably other birds. Young birds reared on soil of infected range pens are at high risk (pen-raised game birds). Some control or reduction in infection density (worms/bird) is achieved by alternating the use of range pens every other year and/or using a pen for only one brood each year. Tilling the soil in the pens at the end of the growing season helps to reduce the residual infection. Treating the soil to eliminate earthworms, snails and slugs is possible but the cost is usually prohibitive.

    Gapeworms are best prevented by administering a wormer at fifteen to thirty day intervals or including a drug at low levels continuously beginning fifteen days after birds are placed in the infected pens. One drug that is effective for eliminating gapeworms is fenbendazole, however, its use is not presently approved for use in birds by the Food and Drug Administration.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2007
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    It could just be that she got something caught in her throat and can't get comfortable. Mine do that when they get a piece of straw down the wrong way, so dont panic yet. To know, you'd have to pry open the beak and look in the throat with a flashlight to see the Y-shaped gapeworms attached. The Y is actually a male and female worm attached to each other.
  5. MandyH

    MandyH You'll shoot your eye out!

    speckledhen you always seem to know anything and everything! [​IMG] I wish I had some of your knowledge because I'm having bad results with my first bator hatch.[​IMG]
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    LOL, I certainly don't know everything, but have just learned alot through research and experience since I got chicks the first time. The gapeworm attaches itself to the side of the throat and does look like a reddish Y. Your chick probably doesnt have that, but just keep an eye out. If it starts coughing alot or really gasping for air, that's when I would worry.
    Sorry about your hatch experience. Just knowing things sure doesn't guarantee that you will have a good hatch-so many factors are involved. I have lost chicks late in incubation, in mid incubation, etc, however my first hatch was very good, even with shipped eggs. My bator, however, was brand new and that may have something to do with it. No bacteria in there! That's the main thing-disinfect that bator to within and inch of its life every time and let it dry in the sun, if possible. It could be nothing you did, just poor genetics or some other problem you'll just never know about. I think more people have terrible hatches due to bad thermometers than anything else. Better luck next time!
  7. MoonGoddess

    MoonGoddess Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Philly, PA
    Ok, I just had a chick do the same thing. They have been outside now for three days. She keeps opening her mouth like she is yawning, but when I looked in her mouth I saw nothing. Is there something else I should being doing?
    It freaks me out a little to see her like that.

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