EEEEWWWW!! Chicken Lice! I'm so freaked out right now. YUCK!


8 Years
Apr 28, 2011
Riverton, Wyoming
I have only been living with chickens for about 9 months now, I have six that I got as cute little chicks last spring and six 18-month old laying hens that I just adopted Monday. Two of the new girls are cross-beakers and as I was trimming their beaks tonight I noticed 2 tiny little tan bugs crawling around one of their eyes.


I've read in several other threads to treat with Sevin dust, so I'll have the hubby pick some up tomorrow.

I'm wondering, do these chicken lice like people and cats too? Should I burn the clothes I'm wearing? Take a scalding shower? Give the cat a flea dip?

Also, will a lice infestation cause severe feather loss? I assumed they were molting, but this is the baldest bird I've ever seen outside of the grocery store.

P.S. Is this RIR sun-burnt? the skin under her few remaining feathers is white.

The original six chickies in my flock are my babies, I hope to make these newbies babies too.



Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
Strasburg Ohio
Hello and welcome!

It is shocking. I've had chickens for four years now, and I remember the day a fellow sold me some Ameraucanas at a poultry show. My husband and I were carrying the pair back to the coop, and we noticed little buggies crawling on our shirts. AAAAAWK! But don't worry, those kinds of lice don't live on people. I really don't know about your cat, but I think he'll be fine too.

When you dust each bird, make sure you get down into those feathers real good, under the wings and near the vent areas....all over really. And then you repeat in exactly 2 weeks, to kill any of the little nits that hatch from eggs, before they mature and lay more eggs.

I also replaced all the straw and bedding in my coop, and dusted it too.

Another time, my flock got lice in the winter. I was really shocked, but I guess wild birds try and find shelter, and there you go! They spread the lice. My house is surrounded by six acres of woods, so we do have wild birds around.....

In your pic, that could very well be a chicken in a severe molt. Sometimes they look quite bald. I noticed you're from Arizona....I would say yes, a chicken can be sunburned......Did that hen have alot of lice on it? There is also a parasite called a feather mite, and they do eat feathers.....The Seven dust will take care of those too.....

Take care and I'm sure your new hens will be just fine soon!


8 Years
Apr 28, 2011
Riverton, Wyoming
Thanks for all the great advice!

@ Chicken_Girl75495: Great article! Thank you! It never occurred to me to stop panicing for 2 seconds and just used Google like a normal person.

Hearing that they are species specific is VERY comforting.

I wonder if bathing the girls would help at all? Can lice be drowned? Just looking at these poor, bald, buggy, babies makes me sad! I feel like I want to do something for them right this second.


8 Years
May 13, 2011
Reno, Nevada
You are better off to go ahead and dust them with the Sevin dust and dust all of their bedding along with everything in the coop too. The poor thing, it's not in a molt right now it's having infestation issues is all that's wrong with her. Use DE as a preventative along with the Sevin dust. Once you get a handle on this then you can just use the DE. Make sure you get the food grade kind of DE too.

Dust the whole flock now even your babies need to be dusted. Avoid the eyes and nostrils when you do this. I have my DH help me when we dust our flock. Make sure you repeat this again in 10 - 14 days or you'll be having issues like this again. You should start seeing new feathers within a week from dusting her.


8 Years
Mar 8, 2011
Southern California
This is a quote from dawg53....

And, could there be molting going on at the same time.. ? that would be really hard on them all, to have both a "hard molt" and lice. Also, DE will not treat or prevent lice, mites or worms, at least not completely. I like and use it when I can get it and afford it, as part of the cleaning ritual, but mites and worms still happen even to those who use it faithfully.
Make sure to be feeding a good laying feed to all adults, and "chick starter" to babies... each their own food. I have heard to feed Game Mix to molting birds as it has more protein, but only temporarily, it's not good for too long (and mine would not eat the whole corn in the brand I bought, so.. had to give it away, too much corn, too much waste for my picky girls). The point being extra protein during this time, temporarily, would not be bad. I have also heard some beef cat food? Mine like cooked shrimp... those cheap little salad ones (frozen) go over big here.
Pedialyte unflavored in their water. Keep them supplied with fresh food and water, clean, dry, warm.. and treat for the mites and lice now and in ten days.. poor things. Best of luck.
You might also Seach here for "hard molt", the pictures can pretty much match yours. Take care.


Mar 18, 2015
I just had this today. There was a chicken rodeo at my house beacuse I COULDN'T WAIT until they go to roost to douse them with Sevin Dust. I got under each wing and the vent area.
Ugh, I feel so gross. I think I need another hot shower.....

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