1 chicken dead, 2 not moving with huge lesions, all have bad lice. Help!

bevbuzz

Hatching
10 Years
Jan 14, 2010
7
1
7
Someone told me chickens almost always have lice so I never checked or worried. They have been healthy for years. But 3 days ago hen stopped moving around 1 day, so I isolated her, 1 1/2 days later she died. That night 2nd hen stopped walking around. Now concerned, did physical exam. Lice abundant, but I never thought I'd see what I saw: lesions (like skin eaten off) about 2 1/2 inches long by 1 inch wide. Most scabby & dry. Checked more chickens - 2 more not moving much have lesions. One lesion smelly with pus. All my oldest hens. Others have lice but no lesions. YET. Someone said it must be the lice eating the skin. Does this really happen? She said to dip in bucket of diotomaceous earth & wood ash mixture & rub their skin with it. Then thoroughly clean all bedding, coop, nest boxes. Should I trust this natural method or get some pyrethrin or ?? Help!
 

ChickensAreSweet

Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
15,100
621
398
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
The wood ash and DE are great for prevention. Since you have an infestation, I would go with poultry dust from the feed store (permethrin). I have dealt with mites but not lice.

The lice do eat the dander/feathers and are very very irritating to the chickens...so much so that it can lead to deaths I have read. Thus, it is best to have a no bug policy.

Dust the chickens under the wings, vent area and everywhere but the face. Repeat in 7 days, and repeat again at 14 days. They live on the chicken...it is best to dust your coop too, just in case there are mites in there (some mites live just in the coop). If you don't repeat the treatment they will be back. For the nits (after the bugs are dead and long gone) you can rub them with coconut oil and they will dissolve over a period of time, I have read.

For the lesions I'd spray with Blu Kote but I am not sure the best way to treat them...that is just what I have on hand. For the pus I don't know what to do.
 

JewellChicks

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 6, 2014
45
0
24
I had a chickens with very bad lice and also huge lesions. Actually she still has some of the lesions but is on her way to recovery. Here is what I did after researching on line and in backyard chickens:

Initially:
Treated her with Sevin 5% Dust to kill lice and mites. (Only to be used in cases of infestation)
-be sure to focus under the wings and in vent area. Use sparingly, but be sure to cover all of the chickens (do not get on face/head).
Cleaned lesions and removed 'dead' feathers and skin.
applied antibiotic ointment and betadine on wounds.

After the chicken is isolated and fed (see bellow). Then I treated the whole flock and cleaned their coop. I coated coop with DE.

Fallow-up care:
-Isolated chicken in a cat/dog crate. At night I kept the crate in doors in a ventilated area with a heating pad under her. (covered heating pad with a towel and shredded paper). During the day she stayed on the porch close by for observation and to make things easier. I cleaned cage as often as possible picking out droppings and changing all of bedding twice a day. Keep a tab on the droppings and how they look. This one had diarrhea for a few weeks. Apparently that goes along with mites/lice.
-Feed her a mixture of scrambled eggs, yogurt, molasses (black strap is best) and apple sauce with a side of brown rice or quinoa. The objective was to get her to eat and get plenty of nutrition in her. She was very skinny by the time I realized there was a problem. I knew the lice and mites had sucked the life right out of her. She also got snacks of apple, papaya, cucumber, banana, Kale, lettus and such. Not all at one time but I keep some things tied to the sides of the crate and others fed periodically. I always kept chicken food in there but she did not eat it much in the beginning. As time went on I did not give the mixture and instead gave scrambled eggs (she loved these) rice or quinoa and kept fruits and veggies and chicken food available.
-Applied antibiotic ointment and betadine on wounds 2 times a day.
-Bathed her once a week for a few weeks using the benadine washing liquid. At his time I softened the scabs and some would easily come off (do not pull them off). Then applied antibiotic ointment and bentadine.


Once she started feeling better I let her be with other chickens for a few hours. Then let her be with them full time. I still go and doctor her wounds at night.

She is much better now but still recovering. You should look into it your self as much as you can. I am sure all cases are different but this is what worked for me.

Good luck
 

JewellChicks

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 6, 2014
45
0
24
The wood ash and DE are great for prevention. Since you have an infestation, I would go with poultry dust from the feed store (permethrin). I have dealt with mites but not lice.

The lice do eat the dander/feathers and are very very irritating to the chickens...so much so that it can lead to deaths I have read. Thus, it is best to have a no bug policy.

Dust the chickens under the wings, vent area and everywhere but the face. Repeat in 7 days, and repeat again at 14 days. They live on the chicken...it is best to dust your coop too, just in case there are mites in there (some mites live just in the coop). If you don't repeat the treatment they will be back. For the nits (after the bugs are dead and long gone) you can rub them with coconut oil and they will dissolve over a period of time, I have read.

For the lesions I'd spray with Blu Kote but I am not sure the best way to treat them...that is just what I have on hand. For the pus I don't know what to do.
Yes I meant to add the treatment of Sevin/ permethrin should be done for a total of three time in seven day intervals. Very importan!!.
 

JewellChicks

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 6, 2014
45
0
24
The main objective is to kill of the parasites and keep them from coming back and keep the chickens warm and the lesions clean. Make sure they are getting plenty of nutrition and water. This will give them a fighting chance to heal. But if they get worse or don't seam to get better then you may need a vet.
 

bevbuzz

Hatching
10 Years
Jan 14, 2010
7
1
7
Thanks so much for the good advice on lice. After reading it & other sites, I went out & bought some permethrin powder, too. Only afterward did I call a vet. The nurse over the phone there said that huge lesions like I described where the skin was gone in some areas, scabbed over in most but one smelled with pus, does not sound like something from lice. She said it might be a bacterial infection. Anyone dealt with anything like that? I can't see Dr. til Monday. I think anyway around it I should go out & dust them right now for lice since they clearly have a bad case of lice, too. But someone told me permethrin might reduce their immune system. I guess where the one sore is open I'll be careful around that spot. Maybe then antibacterial cream? Anyone done the vinegar in the water thing to boost immune system?
 

JewellChicks

In the Brooder
5 Years
Mar 6, 2014
45
0
24
I am not a vet but I would think that the lice caused the wounds that then became infected. Antibiotics may be necessary so good thing the vet is coming buy on Monday.

Permethrin is some toxic stuff that is why I mentioned to only use it in the case of an infestation. It may be hard on there immune system so use sparingly. But I figured that the little suckers living on the pour birds is hard on them also. You may also have mites, they are hard or impossible to see. Mites will drink there blood which will make it harder on them to heal also. Mites have bloody droppings like a flee. So you can check the coop for that by wetting your hands and running them over the surfaces. If a reddish color comes off then you probably have mites also.

If the nurse did not give you any advise on how to keep the wounds clean until Monday I would suggest the antibiotic ointment and bentadine.

I have not used vinegar in the water sorry cant help you there.

I have heard that Spirulina is good for human's immune systems and I feed it to my hens periodically. It is a good source of beta carotene.

Black strap molassas is full of vitamins and nutrition that may help. It will intense them to eat if they have lost their appetite. And if they have diarrhea it, believe it or not, helps with that. If they do have diarrhea they may also need electrolytes.

Not to scare you more but have you looked into scaly mites? They live on the legs and even comb/waddle of the birds. Just mentioning it because if you have the vet over you might as well have them take a look at your birds feet as well.

Your friend is somewhat correct in saying that the birds often have bugs on them. From what I have read as long as your birds live like back yard chickens (not in a sterile room) they will get a few but they can keep them down with a good dust bath. As I am sure you have figured out the trick is prevention. Make sure they have a good dusting source ,wood ash and DE are good, but be careful of too much DE, you do not want them breathing it in. After the smoke clears you should check them all every month for mites/lice/eggs.

Let us know what the vet says. Good luck.
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium member
9 Years
Apr 3, 2011
50,654
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gander007

Crowing
6 Years
Oct 9, 2013
15,521
1,311
446
South Western Death Valley, Ca.
Treat for mites every 7 days X3, and for lice every 10 days X3. Here are some good university poultry links where permethrin and 5%sevin dust are recommended, and good pictures of lice and mites so you know which ones you are treating:
http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8162.pdf
http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html
http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/08/poultry-lice-and-mites-identification.html
A big X 2 on Eggdessive,

Thanks so much for the good advice on lice. After reading it & other sites, I went out & bought some permethrin powder, too. Only afterward did I call a vet. The nurse over the phone there said that huge lesions like I described where the skin was gone in some areas, scabbed over in most but one smelled with pus, does not sound like something from lice. She said it might be a bacterial infection. Anyone dealt with anything like that? I can't see Dr. til Monday. I think anyway around it I should go out & dust them right now for lice since they clearly have a bad case of lice, too. But someone told me permethrin might reduce their immune system. I guess where the one sore is open I'll be careful around that spot. Maybe then antibacterial cream? Anyone done the vinegar in the water thing to boost immune system?

If you ever see lice or bugs of any type it is time to take care then not wait as I am sure you would not like any on you ....


The way I try to boost the immune system is to feed some hard boiled egg's as there is a lot of different vitamins and I get rid of the egg's that have been sitting in the refrigerator for more then 3 weeks ....


Good luck and I hope you get this cleaned up .....
 
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