BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Predators and Pests › Help! Can't get rid of feather lice in my free range chickens!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Help! Can't get rid of feather lice in my free range chickens!

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Help!  I have a small flock of 20 hens of various breeds.  They free range daily and therefore they do come in contact with other birds.  Last spring one of the girls started showing symptoms of feather lice.  As recommended I completely cleaned the coop removing all the old bedding, sprayed the coop down with Neem oil (while the girls were out of course), spread DE on the roosts and nesting boxes and then replaced all the bedding with new.  I have continued to rotate all of the bedding at least once a month and spray the coop down at the same time. I still cannot seem to keep my girls lice free.  It seems at least one of them is suffering from the nasty little bugs all the time! From reading other posts I thought having access to frequent dust baths was supposed to control feather lice. My girls have constant access to dry dust beds with different options for their bathing delight including straight up dirt, wood ash mixed with sand and now dirt with some DE mixed in.   What am I missing or what else can I do?  

 

Thanks for your suggestions!  I feel like a bad Mother Hen for not being able to keep my girls debugged.

post #2 of 9
You need to treat them with an insecticide. I use a pyrethrin based powder.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieLucht View Post
 

Help!  I have a small flock of 20 hens of various breeds.  They free range daily and therefore they do come in contact with other birds.  Last spring one of the girls started showing symptoms of feather lice.  As recommended I completely cleaned the coop removing all the old bedding, sprayed the coop down with Neem oil (while the girls were out of course), spread DE on the roosts and nesting boxes and then replaced all the bedding with new.  I have continued to rotate all of the bedding at least once a month and spray the coop down at the same time. I still cannot seem to keep my girls lice free.  It seems at least one of them is suffering from the nasty little bugs all the time! From reading other posts I thought having access to frequent dust baths was supposed to control feather lice. My girls have constant access to dry dust beds with different options for their bathing delight including straight up dirt, wood ash mixed with sand and now dirt with some DE mixed in.   What am I missing or what else can I do?  

 

Thanks for your suggestions!  I feel like a bad Mother Hen for not being able to keep my girls debugged.

@KatieLucht , welcome to BYC! I found that DE doesn't work, so now I use permethrin spray or powder.

 

Poultry mixing instructions - 5 ml (one teaspoon) Gordon's to 32 ounces (one quart) of water

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/gordons-permethrin-10-livestock-premise-spray-8-fl-oz

post #4 of 9

Have you actually seen the bugs and ID'd them positively via googling images of mites and lice?

Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.

Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).

Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.

Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.

 

If you do find some...check out this thread: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1134783/permethrin-spray

 

Agrees, applying permethrin to the birds is the best way to kill off a lice infestation....

.....if you have mites you need to treat the whole coop, cracks, crevices, and all.

 

Neem, DE, wood ash might help prevent an infestation...but they won't eliminate one.


Edited by aart - 3/14/17 at 4:38am

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you!  This is very helpful information.  And thank you for the links!  I haven't seen the actual lice but the base of the feathers do appear like they have the nits.  Do mites cause hens to pull out feathers, too?  I thought they just got under the leg scales.  

 

Thank you again for your help!  

 

Katie

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thank you for letting me know your experience with DE.  Reading about it makes it sound like it cures everything!  I am glad to know I am not the only who has has not found it all that helpful.  Thank you also for the link on Amazon.  I'll get this ordered today and give it a whirl!.

post #7 of 9

There area several different kinds of mites that affect poultry......

....some get under leg scales, some live in coop and come out to feed on blood at night, feather mites live in the feather shaft and are invisible to the human eye.

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=poultry+mites&rlz=1C1KMZB_enUS596US600&oq=poultry+mites&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i60&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #8 of 9
And there is a 4th mite that we don't hear about very often, it's the air sac mite, which cannot be treated with pesticides because it lives in the air sacs. Not something you need to worry about it, just thought that it was worth mentioning. big_smile.png
post #9 of 9

Permethrin spray is the best!   Mary

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Predators and Pests
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Predators and Pests › Help! Can't get rid of feather lice in my free range chickens!