Constant lice in orpingtons' nether regions! Harka-mectin?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Libbynugget, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. Libbynugget

    Libbynugget Out Of The Brooder

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    I have two silver laced orpingtons - Margaret and Mrs Warboys - and the poor girls have a HORRID infestation of lice around their vents and backside area. They're only about ten months old (and still haven't started laying!) but I've had these constant infestations since I got them home. My other chickens have never had lice and are fine with a dusting of powder every now and then (a little in their dust bath too) But the poor orps seem to battle it off and then succumb again!!! Today I had to cut a lot of their feathers to free up their backsides and SUDDENLY LICE EVERYWHERE!!! I check them every two weeks, so this is a very sudden onset. HELP!!!

    Has anyone tried Harka-mectin? My local feed store said they're not legally allowed to recommend it but they said this whilst theatrically nodding their heads in response to my question of whether or not it would help clear the lice. My orps are BIG girls, so maybe the powder isn't enough?

    Any advice much appreciated!!

    P.S The orpgintons live in a wooden chicken house alone, the other chickens live in a plastic one - could it be the housing? I treat the wooden hen house with pest spray once a month.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    For lice you have to repeat the treatment at 14 days (even better is to do it every 7 days times three so they lay fewer lice eggs) to break the life cycle of the lice.

    So you would need to dust with poultry dust (permethrin), putting it in a tied off sock or stocking (wear mask, gloves, long sleeves and take shower afterward). Make sure you get the vent area, under the wings, back, and neck, abdomen. Not the face.

    Dust the coops too. Best to toss bedding even in nest boxes (for mites this is a MUST- lice I have not dealt with so am not sure if you can get by with just dusting the place). Mites will come right back if you don't toss ALL shavings even in nest boxes with each treatment.

    For the nits (egg sacs), unrefined coconut oil is supposed to dissolve them over time after you have killed the bugs- some on BYC use it. Other people cut the feathers off instead.
     
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Poultry lice only eat the blood as an aside. They are not like other species of lice (sucking lice) affecting other animals. So medications that "poison the blood" for the lice are not likely to work as well on poultry. They may work for mites though.

    Insecticides are highly regulated and only certain things are approved for poultry (legal). Hence the caution by others. This is a federal law.

    Sevin garden dust works very well but isn't approved anymore for poultry since 2009. Permethrin poultry dust is what I buy in the feed store for my chickens. That is what I recommend you try.

    http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8162.pdf
    Here is a link from 2005 (pesticide recommendations are outdated) from UC Davis but gives good info on lice).
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2014
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Agree, you need to dust these birds and keep dusting them and the coop every 7 to 10 days until you clear up the infestation. That is the hatch cycle, miss a few and your back to square one. Hence the need to keep repeating the treatments.

    Take what you are told by feed store employee's with a grain of salt! Just because they work there doesn't mean they know what they are talking about. With mites, yes, ivermectin's are great, not with lice. With lice you need to treat the birds externally. I use the permethrin poultry dust that ChickensAreSweet already mentioned.
     
  5. Libbynugget

    Libbynugget Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2013
    Thanks, everyone! I think I'll give the Harka-mactin a miss and just fuss over them with lice/mite powder!
     
  6. debbytingen

    debbytingen Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 13, 2013
    I use food grade DE at the Tractor Supply Store. It is a white powder and very fine and you only use a very little. There are two kinds, food grade and non-food grade. Keeps bugs out of flour. This stuff is amazing and it kills fleas as well. I just dust the chickens and put new shavings in their laying box and them I put the DE in there. The name is so long, but the Farm Place will know what it is. You have to get food grade and make sure that you tell them that! I will never use anything else, because it has multiple uses and it WORKS. I hope this helps. Believe you me I have been in your shoes.
     
  7. Libbynugget

    Libbynugget Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2013
    UPDATE: Both hens are like different girls! Doing really well just from treatment with the Johnsons Mite & Lice powder. I completely treated their wooden hen house with pest control spray and put a little DE in their sand bath. Still two more sessions to go with the powder, but all looks good so far.

    Perhaps the biggest (and probably unrelated) news is that THEY'RE LAYING!!!! After partially writing them off as nothing more than lovely, friendly little ornaments, they've finally started to lay!!!!!

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for the advice, lovely hen fans!!
     
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Great news!
     
  9. Libbynugget

    Libbynugget Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks again for the advice! Enjoy the silly picture!!
    [​IMG]
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Besides, as far as I am aware there is no egg withholding period with Permethrin. Sevin still kills lice like gangbusters, but if you use it on layers there is a 2 week or more long period during which you were required by law to discard the eggs. I suspect this with holding period had more to do with Sevin 5% dust being delisted for poultry as anything else. BTW, Sevin has a 1 day withholding period with most food crops and a Zero day withholding period if your using It on tomatoes.

    You could make up a plastic garbage can full of liquid Permethrin and water to create a dip. The thing to do is dip every chicken on your place and kill every last chicken louse in their stronghold. Lice can't live off the chicken, mites can. By treating every chicken you get every last louse and nit. Don't worry too much about Permethrin, it is so safe it's used on babies skin to treat scabies, a form of mite. Dipping your chickens also knocks scaly leg mites for a loop.
     

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