Dusting for lice and mites

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Madrone, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Madrone

    Madrone Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 24, 2011
    Is it necessary to "dust" ones flock routinely for lice and mites? And if so, how exactly is this done??
  2. WooingWyandotte

    WooingWyandotte Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 25, 2011
    Nor cal
    It depends. Some people routinely dust (every couple months, maybe??), others (like me) only dust when they see a problem. You can dust with a number of different things, the most popular seems to be Sevin, though I've never actually tried it myself. I dust with DE (diatomaceous earth) which has worked well for me and I don't plan on changing. A lot people don't like DE, they say it hasn't worked for them...so I've never been quite clear on that.
    A good way to check for mites/lice is to hold her chicken on their tummy (keel bone) resting on your arm with your hand in between their legs, lift 'er up and check the vent. If you see a lot of creep crawlies scampering off on the skin - you know you have a problem. Though I don't now the details, lice are yellowish clear with three legs on each side? Mites look similar but are a lot smaller.
    Also check the saddle/sickle and/or back feathers on your chickens, mites like to hide there. If you see yellowish clumps on the feathers those are lice egg sacks, if you see crawling small things running around on the skin/feathers (but more so on the skin) those are most likely mites.
    Check under the wing, blow a bit on the downy fluff if you have too. The hackles are a good place to check, also. Oh! I almost forgot, check their...for lack of a better word 'butt fluff'. Kinda pick through there, scabs can also be seen on your chicken I'm not sure whether or not they are mites or lice, but are some sort of sign of bugs.
    I wish you well!

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  3. Madrone

    Madrone Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 24, 2011
    Thanks for the reply! If I dust with DE, how exactly would I go about doing this...? lol..
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    One method is to fill a shaker container with DE (I use Sevin) and shake it onto them, moving things aorund so it gets down to the skin. Another is put them in something like a pillowcase, held around the neck, with the dust inside.

    Actually I've never seen lice or mites, to my amazement. I add Sevin to the straw when I change it in the nests, sprinkle it around the coop, and sprinkle it where they like to dust bathe.

    Rather than DE, you will need Sevin, permethrin/pyrethrin, or Ivomec Eprinex pour on (a cattle wormer) if you have an infestation -- you will also need to clean out the coop and repeat the whole process in about 10 days, possibly more than twice.
  5. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    Quote:Yup, they are a pain to get rid of. You will need Sevin. I now use DE as a preventative, but Sevin is required to get rid of the buggers. And REALLY clean the coop.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by