Bugs on hen/ chickens dying!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by wmillsap, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. wmillsap

    wmillsap Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 23, 2015
    Bugs on hen...I have a hen who is losing feathers like crazy. She molted back in the spring but now looks like a yard full of feathers. Today I found these bugs on her.
    I have had two hens die durning molting the last few weeks but now I think it's from these bugs. Please help!! Do you have any suggestions?
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2014
    Yorkshire, UK
    My Coop
    Sorry to hear about the hens you have lost. It looks like lice in the pic you have posted. A good dusting with a louse powder on a regular basis should help your birds. Also if you check around the vents you may see eggs that are stuck to the feather shafts ~


    I have found coating these with Vaseline and dusting the birds regular gets them under control in the end. It can be a long regular job though.
    Here is an article I hope you find helpful ~ https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/mites-lice-treatment-and-prevention

    I've also found giving the birds a higher protein feed whilst molting can really help the birds. It can take a lot out of them when they molt and the extra protein really helps. I've switched my birds over to a game bird grower pellet which is the highest protein feed I can find. Extra vitamins & minerals in their water can also give them a boost.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2016
  3. rebrascora

    rebrascora Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Sorry to hear of your losses. There is a lot of joy but also some heartache in keeping chickens, as there is in life in general of course.

    I agree with the advice given by @Yorkshire Coop but would like to add that lice often thrive on sick birds that are too unwell to bother dust bathing/preening, rather than the lice being responsible for their sickness. Lice are an opportunist pest and more of an irritant than a serious health hazard..... unlike mites which suck blood. The photo of your bird appears to be lice and you may well find feather shafts caked with eggs like those in the photo YC posted near the vent and under wings.

    Providing a good dust bathing area with wood ash and sand or dry soil will help them to keep themselves free of lice, if you don't have one already, but once you get an infestation, then you need to actively dust them with a louse powder once a week for three weeks to catch each new batch as they hatch.

    As regards the hens that have died, there is some underlying problem as hens should not die from moulting or lice. Look closely for other symptoms. You may be able to send off a poop sample from a sick bird to a lab to be examined for worm eggs or coccidiosis. In the UK this can be done direct to the lab or with a veterinary practice. I don't know where in the world you are located but I imagine there may be similar services where you are. Also, if another hen dies, it is really useful to get a necropsy/post mortem done so that you can hopefully identify the illness and treat/prevent your other chickens from suffering the same fate.

    I hope your flock are looking and feeling better soon.

    Best wishes

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