I've tried a neem oil/water spray on my chickens but it did not get rid of the lice. What ratio do you use when mixing neem and mineral oil? How often do you need to rub down your chickens? I'm at the point where the lice have to be dealt with before they get out of hand.
Organic method for treating chicken lice? - Page 8
- Poultry Crank
When did Dawn become an organic substance? I dunno where the soap industry gets its raw materials, but being essentially a chemical process, I'm betting they trace to petrochemical origins. Certainly the manufacturing, packaging, handling and distribution are well invested in petro-compounds.....
All I'm saying is beware the use of the term, "organic." It's seductive lure easily leads one astray.
"Poetry often comes in through the window of irrelevance"
"Poetry often comes in through the window of irrelevance"
SO glad I found this thread, really great info for a novice owner who inherited 5 hens all who seem to have gotten lice after 3 weeks of ownership.
My question is this, however. My birds ALL show classic signs, it started with slowing of egg production, 3, 2 , 1 then none a day, decreased appetite, lots of picking and scratching, and lots of feathers all over my property. These hens have obviously never really been handled, because they are a drag to catch and once you do, it's a real struggle. So tonight, I opened the hen house and had a peek with a flash light while they were roosting. Much easier, but I saw no lice, just a lot of bald spots and what can only be described as a "moth eaten" appearance to the feathers at the vent and under the wings. I saw what looked like could have been egg clusters at the feather base, but the feathers were so messed up, maybe they were just matted? Hard to say.
Having not seen any critters should I just prophylactically dust them? This problem started about 2 weeks ago and I am anxious for them and to solve the problem.
It is possible that they are just molting. That does happen and they look terribly ratty for a while and won't lay eggs.
Chickens do have lots of bald areas on their bodies so that isn't really a big concern. And chickens do preen constantly so that isn't a concern either.
If you pick up the chickens and inspect the vent closely, parting the feathers and getting down to the skin, you will be able to see the lice if they have it.
My chickens have lice. I need to treat it soon but in the meantime, I am still getting lots of eggs and they eat like little pigs. When I do treat them, I will use poultry dust that contains a chemical pesticide. It's the only things that really works but you HAVE to do it twice and leave no more than one week between treatments.
I HATE using chemicals but if you use it once in a while, it's not terrible imo.
I wouldn't use it unless you are sure they have lice.
Edited by slickchik - 3/10/12 at 5:27pm
I misread your post... You said you saw egg clusters at the base of the feathers. That is lice... I am pretty sure they had lice when you got them. It's just something that happens and doesn't have anything to do with you :-)
One way to deal with lice is to force a molt by not feeding the chickens for several days. The feathers with the eggs fall off and you rake it up. Lice have to be on the bird to survive. BUT I DONT recommend this method. I'd NEVER restrict the food supply for my lovely ladies.
Edited by slickchik - 3/10/12 at 5:32pm
I'll do a REALLY thorough check tomorrow.
Would it be common for all of them to molt at the same time? I also saw "flecks" of blood on the chest of my White bird this a.m when I let them out. This is a "before"...
EDIT: Also, they are loosing feathers from the bottom up, not the top down, usually molt happens the other way doesn't it?
Edited by VT-510 - 3/11/12 at 12:26pm
Thanks for posting and following up. I just found lice and eggs on my chicken this afternoon. Being new to chicken keeping i tend to panic over everything. It was nice to find a calm, sensible, organic idea to dealing with these little pests. You really helped give me peace of mind. I am going to try your method this afternoon. I will also probably dust the coop with DE (food grade) as i've read that helps.
this sounds like a good way to solve it... i think i should try it because all the other things i have read use chemicals... there was one about this powder stuff and it scared me because it said "could cause the chickens/turkeys/ducks to have cancer"... i have over 50 birds though but i would do anything for them.
I got one hen think she Red Star or Sexlink that pecks all her front neck feathers out and then her chest.
Wasn't too bad for a while. She is fearful and gets chased a lot but mostly stays out of the way. Figured if she got used the place she would be fine. She hangs mostly with a Gold Wyandotte she came with.
Got better for a while now worse than ever.
She has a big red bulge of skin looks like a golf ball on her chest.
I have been given them Cayenne and Ginger in their food.
So today I got out the essential oils of Lemon Eucalytptus, Citronella, Tea Tree, clove and Pennyroyal which is fine as long as pregnant women don't eat it.
I mixed the oils with a homeopathic stress lotion and some pure aloe concentrate Mannose and a little calendula and coconut oil.
It was real thick liquid so I squeezed it out of a dropper and smeared on her skin. The aloe and calendula will help heal the skin and the rest should scare off any mites or lice if there are any. Could be she just does this feather pulling thing as nerves. But it tastes so bad every time she would try to peck at this stuff on her chest she would have to rub her beak in the dirt.
I am hoping the lotion will stay on a day or more and it will keep her from pecking herself.
But I also noticed one other older Buff Orpington who lays eggs with wrinkles in the shells, went broody for a few weeks until I took her and put her in a private pen with a roost and no nest box for 3 days. Cured the broodiness and she lays an egg every couple days or so now. She is probably old, her eggs are beyond Jumbo. But I noticed the side of her neck all plucked out so I put some of this lotion on her neck and near her vent where it looked like some feathers had been broken off and some plucked.
So maybe I do have some critters on the one that spread to this one when it went broody. I will keep the oils going daily for a while and see what happens.
They all love to go to several dirt baths where they free range on several acres. I thought my spearmint and peppermint that grows in one part of the pasture, an old garden would keep the bugs away. But they roam too much I guess or the bug found them.
I cover the runs and coop and the hens with DE regularly. As well as our goats who share the range with them. And a little PDZ zeolites to absorb nitrogen and ammonia odor on the ground.