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gape worm/ chicken gasping for air

 
Marianne West
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I am new to raising chickens and just had one little one (about 3 month old) die. She was gasping for air - the only symptom I saw. Internet research let me to Gape worm, apparently a parasite which settles in their throat. From what I have been reading, they are transmitted by eating slugs and earthworms. the forums recommend a heavy duty dewormer and mention some old books about using a feather down their throat to pull the gape worm out. Any other suggestions? Has anybody experience with mixing diatomaceous earth with the feed? Or are their other causes for gasping?
The remedy given is to not let the chickens forage, but that just seems wrong. Any suggestions?
 
Jay Green
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Why not do a post-mortem on this bird before deciding that it is gape worm? I'd slit that neck open and look at it...could be interesting.

 
Paul Krum
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Was it already down when you saw it gasping? Or did it start gasping, lose strength and then die?

When they are in the process of dying, I see gasping a lot.
 
Marianne West
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It seemed to be having a hard time breathing for a day or so (I wasn't home, my husband told me that she wasn't doing well). I went in the evening to put out more food and she was running towards it. this morning - she was dead.
 
Marianne West
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Why not do a post-mortem on this bird before deciding that it is gape worm?

I think we will tonight.
 
Jay Green
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Marianne, what did you find? You know, I was asking my mother about what grandma used, if anything, to dose her chickens with if they got sick in this manner or if they ever did(I've never experienced any illness in my flocks in all these years, so I have no reference point for illness in poultry).

The only thing she would use on chickens that were wheezing or coughing was to dose them with some kerosene. Yep, eye dropper full right down the gullet. Said the chickens were fine the very next day!

I agree with a previous post about the gasping before dying...most creatures will do this, so if the gasping occurred after the animal was already down and slipping away, it might very well have been a symptom of the active dying process.

 
Marianne West
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Jay,
I have to admit to you that we didn't do it. I am terrible with anything having to do with sickness and blood and didn't eat chicken for a long time because just looking at them kinda grossed me out. I know - weird. And I did manage to survive raising 3 kids, childhood diseases, scraped knees and all. My husband, on the other hand, is a doctor and should be used to dissecting things. Alas, by the time I came home from teaching classes, it was almost dark and he was done with doing things. To top it off, I didn't put her in the fridge.
Now, she is buried. The other's seem fine. I did mix diatomaceous earth into their food (they didn't like it all that much), even though I am not clear how it is supposed to work. The claim is there, that it will kill parasites, i.e. in dogs, but at the same time I understand that it doesn't supposedly doesn't work when wet.
Also, reading up on this more, people are saying to use a skinny feather, dip it either in paraffin or castor oil (mixed with camphor oil according to some), stick that down the chickens throat and remove the parasite mechanically. I see how the kerosine could work by killing the parasites. Kind of surprising that it doesn't kill the chicken.
My hope is that it was something unexplainable and the other's will be fine. However, if one shows symptoms, I will muscle up and get that feather and see what I can find. Or, if another one dies, I'll make sure we look.
Thank you for your input and caring and finding out about it.
Marianne
 
Jay Green
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If you are wanting a more natural worm preventative/treatment, you might try Shaklee's soap...just a tiny dab..in their water as a de-wormer. Also, raw pumpkin seeds are great for this as well....they contain a chemical that paralyzes the worm, which detach and are flushed out with the feces. Garlic powder in the feed is a great treatment as well~parasites won't stay attached to the mucosa lining if the blood has sulfur in it. Same with lice and mites...hate sulfur.

Never really had much faith in DE...results seem to be mixed.

Hope you never have to slit open any of your chickens in the future! It's never pleasant but it gets better the more you do it.
 
Marianne West
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thank you Jay. great advise! I am going to implement all. Yes, Garlic. Had read about crushing a glove and letting them inhale the garlic for 2 minutes. Seemed a little strange, but I'll add garlic powder to the feed. I used to use shaklee all the time and just got pointed toward it in another context. Guess time to get some.
thank you and hope your chickens stay nice and healthy
 
Jay Green
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Thanks, Marianne! My chickens are always healthy! Yeah...it know it sounds a little smug, but I work on managing them in such a way that I rather expect good health, so I'm never surprised at their consequent good health. Been keeping chickens off and on for 36 years and haven't had any illnesses in my flocks, so it must be working.

Never heard of letting chickens breath garlic...that would be a rough way of trying to get it into the whole flock. Easier just to juice some and place it in the water or feed or just place powder in the feed.
 
Marianne West
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That is great to hear. Share how you raise them, please. I like to get to the point where I can be smug about it too
 
Jay Green
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I'm going to do you a favor... This is going to be heavy reading and sorting through some nonsense to get to the meat of the thread but it's well worth it. Soon there will be a webpage dedicated to the information on this thread and a book will follow. I started the thread but many experienced old cusses have contributed and it all has some sound advice in it...and some pretty funny stuff as well:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/605260/chickens-for-10-20-years-or-more-pull-up-a-rockin-chair-and-lay-some-wisdom-on-us
 
Marianne West
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Great! I have been on backyard chicken to look for stuff, but haven't come across this one. You are writing a book. cool. are you going to publish as e book or hard copy?
 
Jay Green
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Hard copy if I can get a publisher to take an interest...ebook if I can't. You'll love it, I guarantee. The book will be full of great information that you simply can't find in other poultry books and it will also have some fun satirical glances into the pet chicken fad currently sweeping the nation.
 
Marianne West
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Can't answer you - have to read 5000 + posts just don't include me as one of those pet chicken owners who can't slit her chicken's throat even though it is already dead )
 
Jay Green
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It's all a learning curve :lol Pretty soon you'll be killing chickens with the best of 'em!
 
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