Cockleburs!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by airmom1c05, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. airmom1c05

    airmom1c05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 3, 2008
    Raymond, Mississippi
    After free ranging for about an hour today, Brandy had cockleburs stuck in her breast feathers. This has never happened before. She sat in my lap and allowed me to try to remove them, but some were stuck well enough that I was removing bits of feather with them. Would warm water help remove them easier? Anybody else ever had this happen?
     
  2. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    I'm not sure what cockleburs are; is it the same as what we would call burdocks up here - the round, quarter-sized seed heads that have hooked barbs? Or do you mean those little green sticky seeds?
    I've had the little green ones stuck in a hen's butt feathers, and they come out with a firm downward tug (and usually a resulting peck on the hand :mad:).
    I've never had the big ones stuck in a chicken before, but I have picked hundreds out of horses' manes and tails over the years. It takes patience, time, and a good light source. Don't try to pull big clumps apart at once, just work one feather or a part of a feather out at a time. You are lucky that your girl was nice to you while you did it!
    I don't think warm water would help. The best long-term solution is to find the burdock patch, put your heaviest gloves on, dig it up, and throw it on the burn pile.
     
  3. airmom1c05

    airmom1c05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 3, 2008
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    These are probably about an 8th inch in diameter. Lots of locals call them hitchhikers. They are brown and look like tiny, tiny dirt clods, but they have little sticky tentacles on them and don't let go of her feathers easily. Sort of makes me wish there was such a thing as a chicken comb! (No pun intended.) I got the majority of them off/out so that it doesn't feel so obvious when I stroke her breast gently, but there are still a few very stubborn ones to remove. Thanks for your response. It poured rain during a severe thunderstorm wee hours this morning, so I won't be letting her free range today. As soon as it's dry enough, I'll follow her around and try to find out where she got into them. She is very good about letting me do stuff to her as long as I don't lay her on her back in my lap. My other birds will lay on their backs in my lap for dusting. Brandy takes her own dust bath except for the cup of food grade DE I sling on her fuzzy bottom weekly! If I sprinkle it in her favorite dust bath place and mix it into the dirt, she makes a new place! She does NOT like the DE except mixed in oatmeal for internal parasites. The other 3 don't seem to mind it at all. Brandy has a complex personality! [​IMG]
     
  4. Ang

    Ang Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 2, 2008
    West Central Illinois
    Burdocks and cockleburs are different and neither of them are the tiny hitch hikers. The only way I know to get any of them our of fur is to pick tiny bits of the fur away from the seed. I have never had my chickens get seeds stuck in their feathers before but you probably did the only thing you could do to get them out.
     
  5. airmom1c05

    airmom1c05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 3, 2008
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    Thanks, Ang. I will keep picking on her until they are ALL gone. Now if I can just find the source area.....[​IMG]
     
  6. Yonaton

    Yonaton Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    They're called 'Beggars Lice'. Not really a 'lice', but they *seem* to all of a sudden appear on you like lice do.

    I've never seen 'em on a bird, but I guess it just depends on if the bird happens to find the patch where they're growing is at, heh.
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:That is exactly the trick. You hold the SEED (the burr) and pull the fur, or presumably feathers, away from it. Not vice versa. Why? I don't know. But it works well this way, whereas the reverse, not so much.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  8. chickbea

    chickbea Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2007
    Vermont
    Now that I hear more of a description, are these what we call tickseed? They are slightly concave and have two prongs in the front - they look just like a bug.
    Either way, the best tactic is as said above - pull the feathers/fur away from the seed instead of trying to pull the seed out of the fur.
     
  9. airmom1c05

    airmom1c05 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for your help with this. I believe between Brandy and me, we got them all off, and she doesn't have any bare spots. As a matter of fact, there is no evidence they were ever on her. I found several suspicious places on the edge of the woods near the bush she likes to lay under when she free ranges, and sure enough, there they were! They must have just come up because she's been laying under that bush every time I let her out of the pen since I got her! It was easy to pull them up because the ground is so wet. I realize there are a lot more of them in the woods, but she generally doesn't go very deep into the woods......so far. Maybe I can get my DH to dig a trench around a large portion of the area and burn it off. Otherwise, I guess it's time for RoundUp or a perimeter chicken wire fence to keep her away from the stuff! It's always something. [​IMG] And here I've been praying God speed for spring! Then beggar lice "spring" up! Chickens are worth it all to me as I am sure they are to all of you! Muah!
     

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