Can I eliminate lice from this coop?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hotspur, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. hotspur

    hotspur Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2008
    Last night I discovered lice eggs (clumps at the roots of the feathers) forward of the vent of our rooster.

    [By the way, thank you to the authors for the timely original-posting and photo plus responses at ]
    [Also see ]

    Unfortunately, I'm wondering whether or not I can successfully eliminate (or even control) lice in the coop.
    - first, because the floor is dirt and very uneven, with some rocks that I put in it around the edges of the coop in order to discourage our birds from their tendency to excavate near the edges of the coop (and thereby to inadvertently create subterranean entry-ways for predators).
    - secondly, because the coop is of mesh-on-frame construction, and there are plenty of places between mesh and frame that I cannot clean out, especially near the base.

    I'm thinking of simply raking out the existing straw, dusting heavily with food-grade diatomaceous earth (white powder) which I have, and then putting down new straw.

    Regarding the birds themselves, I wonder whether dusting with food-grade diatomaceous earth alone will be sufficient.

    This is starting to make me feel itchy, literally - even though I wore overalls while inspecting my birds and then laundered them!
    Also, I'm concerned about possibly breathing in a little diatomaceous earth - even if I wear a surgical mask over my face while dusting the coop and birds.
  2. ChIck3n

    ChIck3n Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2010
    Texas A&M
    Diatomaceous earth is fairly safe to use, so just don't stick your head in the bag and take a big whiff. I just throw the stuff around with my hands, and have never had any problem. Sprinkle it around the coop as needed.

    I use Adams Flea Spray on my birds, and it works very well. Spray some of that in the cracks around the coop as well. As long as you keep the birds well treated with it you should be fine (spray the vent, back of neck, between wattles, and under wings). Just don't let the rooster breed the hens for a few hours, as sterility has been reported when the roosters bred while the spray was still wet.
  3. leenie

    leenie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 29, 2009
    Springfield, VA
    I have used cold pressed virgin coconut oil on my gals with lice/eggs and the problem is gone within a day or two. I think there are a few threads on lice and VCO here now. Best part is it's easy, fast, all organic and harmless.
    Good luck!
  4. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2010
    As I understand it, lice live their entire lifecycle on the birds... they don't really live off the host very long at all. (and are bird specific, they don't like other animals, including people)
    Treating the birds often enough to kill them and break the cycle of any new hatched eggs would do the trick.

    Now mites, on the other hand... those infest the coop and cracks and all, etc...and don't lay their eggs on the feathers like that...but instead, use the coop and surroundings, mostly 'attacking' the birds at night on the roost.

    I've read that DE is perhaps a preventative (and many people like it, while many find that it does no good whatsoever), but for an infestation, something more is needed... DE is said to not wipe out an infestation, even by those that swear by it as a preventative.
  5. OregonChickenGal

    OregonChickenGal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2010
    Central Oregon
    DE will not get rid of mites, lice or the eggs. You need to completely clean your coop and then dust every nook and cranny of the coop with Sevin 5%. Don't forget to dust all your chickens with the dust also. Just don't get it in their eyes, nostrils or mouth. Sevin 5% is excellent for getting rid of these pests. Hope this helps.
  6. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Quote:x 2
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    The online poultry supply places have a variety of products that get rid of lice- you might want to investigate these as well.
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Quote:And remember, even a product like Sevin doesn't kill the eggs. You have to retreat in about a week to get the newly hatched buggers.
  9. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Also, straw is a poor bedding material as bugs can and do hide inside the individual pieces. Most other bedding materials do not have this issue. There are products taht will kill the eggs, but I don not believe there are any that you can use on the birds themselves. However, they are good for the coop surfaces. You can use products with an insect growth regulator on the birds, which will prevent immature bugs from transforming to the adult form.

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