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Lice Eggs-Will They EVER Fall Off?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

We found bird lice on our chickens in July when we were bathing them for the fair. Ugh.  I've dusted the birds and the coops with Sevin, bombed the coops with pyrethrin, cleaned the coop with bleach and blue dawn. Dusted the coop with Sevin and DE. I've performed this routine twice since I initially found the lice.  I did a spot inspection on two birds yesterday and they still have some lice eggs crusted on the feathers around their vents.  Sigh. The bright spot is I didn't see lice crawling.  My question to the forum is could my birds still have lice?  Is it possible to have killed the bugs and the eggs but the eggs to still remain attached to the feathers? If so will the egg clusters eventually fall off?

 

A couple of notes - We had a VERY wet spring and early summer in Missouri.  My birds have sand in their run but are allowed to free range every day.  I believe they weren't able to dust bathe as usually because everything was so wet.  My husband likes to put grass clippings in the coop along with the pine shavings I always use.  We have a purple martin house in the yard and keep bird feeders out during the winter.  Could the grass clippings be a source of lice? Can lice live in the compost pile where I deposit the removed bedding?  The chickens like to scratch in it.

 

Sorry so many questions.  I'm getting frustrated and want to do the right thing to keep my chickens healthy.  Thanks in advance for any and all advice!!!

post #2 of 3
I've been seeing this phenomena at my workplace recently. Loads of birds with eggs, but only a handful with lice. The eggs often seem to be dead, but I would dust them just in case. The nests do not fall off on their own; mild nests can be left to be shed at molt, but bigger ones can cause accumulation of dirt and the worst off feathers should be plucked.

Lice cannot live in things like compost or grass clippings; they require a constant source of nutrients from their host. They can be transported on pretty much anything though, so it is possible the grass clippings are the reason for your issue. I don't know how much of your run is sand, but even if you do free range, make sure they have access to a powdery dirt area to dustbathe in the run as well. Sand is very gritty and that makes it good for getting dirt out f their feathers, but the granules are far too large to smother the mites. I also suggest adding wood ash and diatomaceous earth to the area, as although they will not treat lice infestations, they are effective in preventing infestations from getting very bad.

200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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200 something birds. 8 species. ♥ Norman ♥ Norma ♥ Misha ♥ and ♥ Taylor ♥ are my babies.
Visit Norman the Rooster's Thread Here!
Breeding Sex Linked Silkies, Gamefowl, and EEs/OEs. Amateur genetics buff. Caponization practitioner/advocate.
Working at The Poultry Palace in Placerville, CA. Come see us for started pullets, chicks, Bar Ale feed, & more!

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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great advice, QueenMisha.  Looks like I'm going to be busy plucking and dusting. I'm glad you didn't suggest washing. I never look forward to that event. :)

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