Sick chicken w/ gape worm!


11 Years
Aug 25, 2010
Clatskanie, OR
I went out last night just after dark to lock up my chickens at night only to discover My Mille Fleur Booted bantam huddled under the coop next to the waterer, not moving a muscle! At first i thought she was dead. but i picked her up to check her out and she was gasping for air, I immediately knew she had gape worm from reading up on it just recently. So i took off my jacket and wrapped her up in it since she was obviously freezing. Took her to my hubby and then he took her inside the house to warm her up. I went back out to the coop and counted my chickens like i always do! only to discover that a fair amount of them had blood on them, no wounds. My Roo had blood all down his hackles but none on face comb or any place else no wounds either, now i immediately thought they had attacked mille in her weakened state! She had blood on her face, as i checked for any signs of fowl play outside the coop i found a whole that was dug from outside the run about the size of maybe a rat, the next morning i looked in the daylight before letting anyone out that their was blood leading away from the coop starting from the whole that was dug. since i am not missing any chickens and none of the other chickens have wounds i can assume that the culprit came in with the intent to steal and egg or have chicken dinner but lost!
Mille is pretty bad and this a.m. all my chickens in the coop have signs of gape worm, everyone has been treated with flubendazole, but what else can i do to help Mille? She has blood around her eyes and comb her comb has been coated with Blu-Kote but i am worried about her eyes. What can I put on and around them that is safe for her? already she is more active even just hours of worming her to rid of the Gape worm, but she cannot open her eyes to see the food or water so i am giving fluid with syringe. their are no other signs of scratches on any other part of her body, but i worry that she could have gotten something from the unknown intruder.
I will do anything to save her, I have already done what I can for her coop mates and everything for her that I know of!
Please help! Thanks!
My Poor Girl!
What you described sounds nothing like gape worm. Something got in your run and attacked your birds. It will probably be back tonight or one of the next few nights. Either kill the varmint or improve the pen so that it cannot get in. Blood loss and no immediate signs of injury make me think a weasel or its ilk. Check all over your hen's head and neck, under the feathers, looking for tiny puncture wounds, look under the wings too.
i dont think gape worm either its probably shock and stress which can kill chickens. I would ensure your cope is totally safe before whatever it was returns. I would keep your hen warm and calm make sure she is drinking and hope for the best.
She does have gape worm. She is gasping for breath, constantly stretching her neck and shaking her head to dislodge it, eyes closed as if constantly sleeping, she is also has a tracheal rattle. her complexion is very pale due to the lack of oxygen, not to mention I can see the worm in her throat when I look in it.
I believe the varmint went after her as she was the weakest.
The coop is very secure the run has been fixed, and varmint left the scene with more then a few scratches thanks to my Roo and other hens. I don't know if it is the same varmint or not but my dog brought me a Rat this morning that was torn to bits!
Between my dog who is protective of her chickens and my chickens who fight back, I have never had a problem with predators until now. My chickens have always been healthy until now.
All of the chickens in the coop are now showing signs of it! I am out their with them every day and didn't notice anything unusual until last night, now this morning a few others are doing the head shake, neck extend, breathing through their mouths, and rattling sounds. I treated every one yesterday as a precaution, because if the gape worm was already in adult form in her, I was sure some others had gotten it too.
if you can suggest an ointment that is safe to put on her eyelids I would be very appreciative.
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BYC ers seem to recommend antibiotic ointment Without pain medicine (lidocaine, etc) as a good, general purpose treatment for wounds. I hope your hen is safe from her flockmates until she is fully recovered.
Where do you think the gapeworm came from? Are your chickens eating and drinking?

They aren't eating as much as normal and they have almost empty crops when they go to bed at night, but since i treated them all with flebedazole they all seem to be drinking and eating better with the exception of Milly who I have been hand feeding.
With all of this rain they have alot more access to worms, slugs and snails that they don't normally get as the crawly creatures have been taking refuge in their covered run, the worms have been alot more active since the rains to. so I am not really sure where it came from but I am thinking one of the crawlies was the culprit.
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Do you think it would to much if i were to put duramyacine in the water for the rest of the flock? Just incase theirs is respiratory infection, they have already been wormed as a precautionary since I have 2 with Gape Worm and the others were showing the beginning signs.
Sounds like you're doing everything you can... You might do a quick search here on gapeworm as I seem to remember someone saying you could try to pull some of the worms out of the throat with tweezers? Sorry if I'm wrong...but I think I saw that. Don't try it without confirming though - I'd hate to be suggesting something that does more harm than good! Hang in there!

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