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sulfur powder against lice/mites?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

just wondering has anyone ever had luck using sulfur powder with chickens?

i came across it online as an old treatment against lice/mites/skin problems in chickens.....now i have lots of sulfur powder at home (left over from making body lotions/soap etc)

do i just rub it on the chicken, or mix it in feed or??????

" Of all the things i've lost, I miss my mind the most."
*Rooster Obsessed!*
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" Of all the things i've lost, I miss my mind the most."
*Rooster Obsessed!*
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post #2 of 3

Hi spish,

I've used it in the past, in a 50-50 mix with dolomitic limestone powder dusted over each bird. It seemed to work. I'd only had a very light infestation of mites though. I used it quite liberally in the pen and nestboxes with no ill effects.

I've also used it on cattle and it seemed effective.

Now though I tend to use rotenone. It's quite toxic so I'm fairly cautious, but it's nowhere near as bad as organophosphates and it works (and is allowed under organic systems because it's derived from a root).

I haven't used sulphur dust orally with chickens. I'm not sure how much sulphur they can tolerate or whether the powder is pure. But essentially garlic works as a worm repellent by being high in sulphur, so maybe it's worth an internet search?

cheers
Erica

http://www.permachicken.com Permaculture chicken blog: raising chickens with fewer industrial inputs.

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http://www.permachicken.com Permaculture chicken blog: raising chickens with fewer industrial inputs.

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post #3 of 3

 On other related threads, a couple of us discoved this paper from a year ago, with strong experimental evidence for the efficacy of sulfur compared to other non-toxic mite treatments: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/2470/novel-control-of-fowl-mites. Some other sources I've read indicate that ingested sulfur has no effect, but some people still claim that it works against mites when mixed into chicken feed at something like 0.2%. Whether that's because it actually works from inside or because some of it gets everywhere when the birds eat seems to be an open question.
    Anyway, to summarize, elemental sulfur has been known for a long time (centuries) to be effective against mites, fungi, and some insects, while having toxicity comparable to table salt. We got mites on some chickens recently, and started with diatomaceous earth, but after learning more I ordered 10 pounds of sulfur, probably several years' supply.
   Bottom line: there's probably not much point in getting your chickens to eat sulfur, although it's not going to hurt them if they do. Following the experiment results cited above, mixing sulfur powder at 10% by weight into some of your dust bathing areas, and hand-dusting infested birds on occasion, should do the trick. According to that paper, sulfur is much more effective than diatomaceous earth, with longer lasting effects that also extend to chickens that don't dust bathe but live with those that do! Sulfur is cheap, too, esp. considering that you need to use far less of it.
    Note to Erica: I agree about avoiding the more toxic insecticides/acaricides, regardless of whether they're from natural sources (some of the most toxic substances ever discovered are from natural sources - ricin, for example, or saxitoxin). But it's generally a mistake to conclude things like "garlic works by being high in sulfur." This is a common error among many who comment or question on BYC. What we're talking about here, elemental sulfur, doesn't necessarily have anything in common with compounds that contain sulfur. There are thousands of such compounds, ranging from essential nutrients and biological building blocks, to lethal poisons. As an analogy, we could point to methanol or organophosphates, or any of the countless deadly poisons and carcinogens that contain carbon, and say "We should never eat or use anything with carbon in it." But that would rule out sugars, starches, proteins, and every single food item that I can think of offhand.    

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