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Can humans get lice from chickens?

post #1 of 18
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Can humans get lice from chickens?

Yesterday I discovered lice in my boy's hair.  This is my first encounter with head lice.  I cannot figure out where they got them and I may never know.  A friend mentioned that chicken have lice.  I've read on the net that this is true but I don't know whether they can transfer to humans or not.

My boys really love our chickens, almost as much as the cats and dog.  I'd hate to have to change the way they play with them.  Please note that I make them wash their hands after they play with them.

post #2 of 18

I'm no expert, but I would venture a guess that they are completely different types of lice!

*Michelle*
Surrogate mother hen to: 2 Barred Rocks (Queenie & Sister Sarah), 2 Black Australorps (Matilda & Belinda) and 2 Buff Orpingtons (Sugarloaf & Snickerdoodle)
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*Michelle*
Surrogate mother hen to: 2 Barred Rocks (Queenie & Sister Sarah), 2 Black Australorps (Matilda & Belinda) and 2 Buff Orpingtons (Sugarloaf & Snickerdoodle)
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post #3 of 18

Absolutely not. Lice are extremely specialized. Forgive the graphicness, but human pubic lice and human head lice are actually so different that even those cannot "swap" spots on the same person.

Human head lice is spread by hat, jacket, shirt, etc trading or close proximity (like wrestling, for instance) with a lice infested person. Lice cannot truly jump or fly. Your son got lice almost certainly from a classmate, little league team member, friend, etc.

I hope that is a relief for you. Although now you need to get rid of his lice- good luck. It is difficult.

-MTchick


Edited by MTchick - 5/28/07 at 3:59pm
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTchick 

Absolutely not. Lice are extremely specialized. Forgive the graphicness, but human pubic lice and human head lice are actually so different that even those cannot "swap" spots on the same person.

-MTchick


In general you are correct however there are a few nasties , like "bed bugs" for instance that will havoc your birds AND you!!!   Keeping your coops clean and lice free will ensure a minimum of risk.

post #5 of 18

Unfortunately head lice are epidemic in the schools across the country, with no regard to social status.  They are not the same as chicken lice so don't worry about that.  When my kids were little we had huge problems with them bringing home lice from school. One time I even found out they gave it to their Grandmother before we caught the infestation!  Boy was she unhappy sad  If all the kids in school are not checked and treated your kids will likely get it again after you kill them out the first time, I suggest calling the school nurse.

post #6 of 18

I would definitely contact the school. It is more than likely where they got it from. You cannot get lice from chickens, cats, dogs horses ect.....

Maggie,

I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying. ~ Oscar Wilde
"The best thing about animals is that they don't talk much." ~ Thornton Wilder
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Maggie,

I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying. ~ Oscar Wilde
"The best thing about animals is that they don't talk much." ~ Thornton Wilder
Reply
post #7 of 18

A friend mentioned that chicken have lice.


I just wanted to add that not ALL chicken have lice. Your friend's comment seems to imply that they are simply born with them. The fact is, hatcheries today are mainly clean of such parasites and things, so in general, your day old chicks will come to you lice, tick, flea, and parasite free. It is only after they are exposed to nasties such as these, that they COULD get/have them. Keeping good animal husbandry (cleaning regularily and keeping things dry, and tidy) will help to avoid this. Please inform your friend that saying "chickens have lice" is similar to saying "hens only lay eggs if there's a rooster." Neither of which are completely true.

Also wanted to add that MOST parasites and illnesses that poultry, livestock, and even domestic pets can get or carry, are not transferable to humans. The lice you might find on a chicken even looks different than a human louse, and they can not survive on a human. There are some exceptions, like fleas (in some cases) which seem to be able to live on all pets, and through a nuclear disaster! But even in that case though a flea may bite a human and invade our home, they can not LIVE on a human like they would live on a canine. Likewise, you need not fear that your son's lice will transfer to your chickens. He more than likely picked it up at school, other event, or a sleep over were another child had it.

Now about them "ickies".....Human lice are a pain in the butt to get rid of the FIRST time, and if the school doesnt know about the problem, they are even worse to remove the second, third, and any subsequent times. I have had this problem as well, and I made a $30 investment that has saved me hours of combing, washing, recombing, washing again (not to mention much easier on your childs tender scalp)....and I use it to periodically check the heads of my children. Its called a Robi Comb and its a little electronic (battery operated) louse comb that you run throught their dry hair (you can find it at Walmart, Walgreens, etc). No washing, no shampooing, no kids crying because they have to sit in the tub for 20 minutes with poison on their head. When it detects a louse, the constant humming stops so you can clean it out. It zaps them dead on contact and gets even the smallest of the small, AND the eggs. (Most shampoos only kill the largest ones, and need you to repeat a few days later, and shampoos DONT kill eggs.) If I get a note home about an outbreak, I run the comb through the kids hair a few times a week. I am on the PTA at their school and now most of the other parents have bought this life saving tool too, and we have yet to have an outbreak in the past 2 years. Thats good enough for me! $30 well spent IMHO! big_smile

post #8 of 18

I have another human lice suggestion.... You know how they tell you to wash all bedding on hot and to dry it in the dryer.. it's because heat kills the lice.  The reason most parents don't get them when the kids do is because of blow dryers.  Kids don't normally blow dry their hair.  After you have them treated, they always seem to come back but if you insist the childs hair is blown dry every time you wash it for the next month or so the lice, even if they did live through the poison, won't live through the blow dryer.  After you've treated the kids, wash and blow dry their hair several times a week.  It really works.

post #9 of 18

I wonder if when the head lice are treated and gone if combing through the hair with food grade DE (after each washing when the hair is dry) would help prevent any missed egg from hatching and possibly prevent him getting another infestation. If it works for our pets it should work for our children's hair. I would even powder the mattresses and carpet where the child sleeps.

I did my time with head lice  when my daughter was small. From kindergarden until 4th grade. I was ever so happy when the problem child moved away and took the lice with them.

LF Blue/Black/Splash Orpingtons - Appleyard Ducks - Geese - Bronze Turkeys - Dairy Goats - Fiber Sheep + eleventy hundred more animals
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LF Blue/Black/Splash Orpingtons - Appleyard Ducks - Geese - Bronze Turkeys - Dairy Goats - Fiber Sheep + eleventy hundred more animals
My Etsy Shop
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post #10 of 18

On that note, rrrsmom, there is actually a patent on a lice -blowing machine that is basically a special hair dryer. Blow drying the heck out of your kids hair after the lice shampoo is a good way to try to prevent that one darn egg that survived from multiplying, but you need to kill as many as possible first with the shampoos, etc. Apparently it is the air flow, not the heat of the dryer, that kills them.

Check this out;
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=56456

Lice are gross- I remember getting them as a kid. My mom must have been so frustrated!

-MTchick

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