Review of The Three Little Worms and the Big Bad Bird () — Foreword Reviews
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Worms in Birds
We have been learning to tell the story of Dear Zoo. The fact is if it has a gut, it can get worms, no exceptions. So how does a bird end up with worms? It occurs very easily. Round Worm eggs are spread through the droppings of birds already carrying a worm burden. Worm eggs shed into the environment are incredibly tough. They require 14 days in the environment before they become infective and can then remain infective in the right circumstances for years afterwards, simply waiting for a new host to infect.
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Birds usually ingest worm eggs while foraging in an infected area, but there is always the chance that the infected area will be brought to them, in the form of branches, feather or dropping dust, wild birds or even a new cage mate. These parasites are experts of infiltration. So why should you care about worms? Well, different worms cause different issues.
Sounds traumatic right? Well, in large numbers it can be. But you see the real problem caused by Roundworms happens when the larvae reach the gut and then mature into adults. At this point, each worm becomes an egg producing factory sucking up nutrients that your bird needs and increasing in numbers as the life cycle continues now your birds are in serious trouble. What are symptoms of worms? Birds can carry a large number of worms in their stomach without showing any outward symptoms.
Then in the right conditions, for example, your bird becomes stressed; this existing large worm population can explode in numbers causing immediate implications and even death.
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Some of the symptoms that are common with worms with birds include weight loss, poor feather condition, lethargy, sleepiness and ruffled feathers. In breeding birds you may also see a reduced activity particularly in the egg production. Adults carrying worms also pose a risk to their developing babies. The big problem is that these symptoms are not specific to just worms and the majority of them occur when the birds are very sick, with just about any disease.
For robins, this makes good sense. Robins eat a lot of earthworms during the breeding season, and they use those early dark hours to hunt for worms because worms are most available before the sun gets too high.
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Robins lay their eggs mid-morning after feasting on worms. A robin can then fly over to her nest and lay her eggs easily, but most other birds seem to need a long period of quiet before they can lay eggs. Those other species can get a big breakfast even if they eat late because they don't want worms anyway!
An Egg a Day is Work If you think laying an egg is easy, think again! Robins lay only one egg per day for good reasons. Female birds have one working ovary, unlike mammals, which have two. Ovaries are the organs where eggs are produced. A bird's ovary looks like a tiny bunch of different-sized grapes. These "grapes" are the ova , or actually the yolks. The one ovum about to be released looks huge. One or two are about half this size, a few more are a bit smaller, and the rest of the ova are tiny. About once a day, the largest yolk is ovulated.
That means it pops off the ovary and starts traveling down a tube to the outside of the robin's body. This tube is called the oviduct. Egg Formation If a female robin has mated with a male, the yolk will become fertilized. If the robin hasn't mated, the yolk still goes down the oviduct and will be laid like a normal robin egg, but it won't develop into a robin. As the yolk travels through the oviduct, the tube's walls slowly secrete drip out watery proteins called albumen to surround the yolk.
Near the end of the trip down the tube, the oviduct secretes calcium compounds. The calcium compounds will become the eggshell, but the egg will remain a bit soft until it is laid.
You can imagine why the formation of an egg is a tremendous drain on a mother robin's body!