EDIT from title, it's definitely lice, not mites.
We got 15, 5 month old Black Australorp pullets about 1.5 months ago from someone on craigslist who had many, many hens for sale. All but 2 are laying well daily.
We lost one to a vent prolapse, and now several (if not all) have lice:( There were no signs except poopy tail feathers which have been increasing, and now several chickens have them. They also have a lot of watery poop, always have but I looked up normal poops and it seemed fine?
They are all eating well/drinking well, foraging well, no lethargy, etc so I didn't think there was anything wrong with them and now it's bad. They all like to dustbath in sand/wood ash in a tire so I thought that would help prevent mites/lice.
I am a new chicken owner so I've been quickly trying to research how best to deal with it, and have a few questions:
1) Sounds silly, but can we still eat eggs from hens that have lice? It seems like it should be okay, but sounds super disgusting and I'm not sure I want to right now, but hate to waste eggs since that's the reason we got them.
2) I know I need to clean out the coop/nesting boxes well and change/throw out the bedding, but how often am I going to need to do that?
3) Do I need to clean the coop with soapy water/spray? It's spring here and always raining/cloudy lately, so I don't really want to add more moisture to the coop, it won't dry out very well at all.
4) I trimmed some of their poopy tail feathers today and was thinking I should bathe them, but will that make anything worse? A few of their rear ends are very disgusting.
5) Is Diatomaceous Earth enough to treat them with? I would prefer not to use chemicals, but I also want this gone quickly.
6) I do have some Ivermectin horse paste 1.87% which I know plenty of people say not to use because it's hard to dose, but it seems like the tiniest piece (like a grain of sand) wouldn't hurt to put between their shoulders?
7) How long do I need to treat them? Will I know they are healed when I don't see any lice/eggs, or do I treat much longer than that?
8) Could they have had lice when I got them from the person who raised them or have I done something wrong allowing this to happen?
Edited by amama - 4/26/16 at 8:26pm