Gape Worm (aka Syngamus Tachea)
I recently had a Gape Worm infection in my chicken flock, i thought it would be good to share my research and findings with you in this short blog.
Background: Gape worm mainly affects chickens but is also found in other types of poultry. Gape Worm infections are generally introduced by wild birds or by bringing infected birds into your stock. The gape worm itself is Y shaped and when fully grown is between 1 and 2cm in length. They lay their eggs in the throat of the birds which causes them to cough them out. The dispersed eggs are then eaten by other birds and thus spreads throughout the flock. Typical gestation is around 7 days from infection.
Symptoms: A Gape worm infection is often confused with a respiratory infection due to the nature of the symptoms (when i first saw these sign i suspected Infectious Bronchitus and treated with Tylan to no avail). An infected bird will gasp (or “gape”) for breath, shake it head and stretch it necks regularly, you’ll often here a gurgling noise from the throat and/or their calls will often sound croaky.
Treatment: In my opinion the best medication is “flubenvet”, treat as directed for 7 days. I often repeat the treatment in 21 days to ensure the cycle is broken. You’ll generally notice an improvement in the birds symptoms after around 4days of treatment, but ensure you finish the course as directed in the instructions.
Prevention: To reduce the risk of infection, regularly worming your birds and moving the location of their run will significant reduce your chances of an infection.
Where to Buy: You can purchase flubnevet from most agricultural stores or online, it comes in either 1% or 2.5% powered mixes or premixed 20Kg bags of layers feed.