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Discussion in 'Nutrition - Sponsored by Purina Poultry' started by pattydaisyopal, Mar 8, 2015.
can I feed my chickens and chicks worms? Even some from a bait shop?
My chickens have always loved finding worms and will eat them. They probably won't like worms when they're little (mine started eating them around 6 weeks). Either way make sure you are not counting the worms as their diet, just think of them as a nice treat. Feed grower/starter food to the babies and laying food to the hens (unless they are for showing then there are other kinds you can buy). My rooster has always eaten the hens' laying food as well and he is doing fine.
Quote:Feeding worms or other treats is a personal choice, and feeding earthworms does have some risk. In some areas of the country, earthworms serve as a vector for gapeworms, a disturbing tracheal (think windpipe) parasite of chickens. It is hard to say whether or not your local bait shop is the best place to source worms, since you do not know the conditions under which those worms have been raised. Lack of such knowledge is always a risk. Meal worms are the preferred choice for most flock raisers (for both chicks and adult birds). Always remember that worms are a snack for your birds and should not be relied upon as a main source of nutrients. To make sure that your birds are receiving a balanced and complete nutrient profile, make sure that 90% of the diet consists of a complete feed (complete starter feed up to 18-20 weeks of age and complete layer feed at 18-20 weeks of age and beyond). Enjoy your birds!
One also has to worry about histomoniasis (blackhead) with earthworms. -Kathy
Chickens are fairly resistant to blackhead, although they certainly can be infected, but it can be deadly for turkeys and sometimes gamebirds.
Painfully aware of blackhead here as I have lost three peafowl, two poults and one adult chicken to it. Have also necropsies two peafowl from someone five miles south of me.
If caught soon enough it is treatable with metronidazole (Flagyl) and a wormer like fenbendazole (Safeguard), but 9 out of ten times, or so it seems, they will also have an E. coli infection that I usually treat with enrofloxacin (Baytri). Problem for many is that both drugs are banned for use in poultry.
Interestingly, I've only had to treat one bird for gapeworms, so here I would have to say that blackhead is more of a problem for all species than gapeworms are.