Hello BYC friends, Today I want to post on treating fly strike without the nasty pictures that usually accompany these posts. My hen Salt tends to have a dirty bottom (the vets cannot find a reasonable explanation other than she is a lazy pooper). Usually it is not too bad, but today she was making a kind of low grumbly "ack, ack , ack" cluck and I knew something was wrong. I peeked under her tail and sure enough, it was fly strike (YUCK!). Now you may be wondering... What is fly Strike? When flies lay eggs in a hen's (or other animal's) dirty feathers (or fur) and uses the animal as a fly nursery. If untreated the eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the surrounding skin causing a wound. It can be fatal, but it is also treatable if caught early. Google search some images at your own risk. It looks appalling which is why I will not be posting my own pictures (I already had to see it once, thank you very much). How I treat Fly Stike ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Step One: Assemble your supplies My Kit Includes: rubbing alcohol (for sterilizing tools and supplies before and after treatment) povidone-iodine solution (an antiseptic solution for cleaning) mild unscented soap (I use Dr. Bronner's unscented baby soap) paper towels, kleenex or other soft disposable wipe (all I had on hand where kleenex) plastic gloves (I just keep a whole box of these around) ointment (swat brand ointment/insect repellant is best but antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly will do) small towel (an old bath towel works great) trash receptacle (for used wipes) meal worms (for the patient regardless of how well they behave) Step 2: Prepare the Bath You will need to wash your hen and clean the wound (this usually means cleaning up her backside). I fill a potting bench sink (A large shallow tray or bucket will also work) with water and a liberal squirt of mild soap (don't forget to put on your gloves). Then I place my hen in the bath, usually I just hold her so her bottom half is submerged and can soak for a bit to loosen any stuck on dirt or feces. After a couple minutes, I gently massage the dirty feathers around the vent. (Salt hates baths and resisted a bit initially, but then became completely docile as if she kew it was for her own good) Step 3: Clean and Treat the Wound This is the gross part. I would refill the tub with clean water and leave it on while allowing some water to drain slowly. I think this helps wash away the insects. Douse the kleenex (or paper towel) in the iodine solution and use it to wipe off all the eggs and larvae. It may take several towels. They will be gross and should be tossed in the trash receptacle. Use the towel to dry your bird off as well as you can (I just kind of wrap Salt up and gently squeeze.) Once cleaned I was left with a raw red wound (a bit like a popped blister) just above her vent. I squirted antibiotic ointment on the wound to help it heal and prevent infection. I am going to buy some swat ointment tomorrow when the stores are open. I have also heard petroleum jelly works to smoother any remaining eggs or larvae (better than nothing in a pinch) Step 4: Observe and Repeat (and give treats) Salt is one of only two chickens I have at the moment. Rather than isolate her, I gave her treats and let her return to her friend (they get very stressed when separated). I kept an eye on them to make sure Pepper wouldn't peck at the injury or act aggressive in any way. They went back to eating grass and just lounging so I let them stay together. **Caution** Chickens are harsh feathered dinosaurs and have no sympathy for weak flock members. They will attack and kill hens who are weak or injured. It is usually best to isolate an injured bird until they recover and even then carefully monitor the reintroduction to the flock. Keep an eye on the injury to make sure it is healing. I plan to clean it again tomorrow and apply more ointment. I will probably also buy some swat ointment. Until then, try and keep insects away from your hen. I used an herbal, pet safe insecticide around the coop and their food and water bowls. Optional Fussy Step: If you don't have swat or other insect repelling ointment for the wound, essential oils can help keep bugs at bay. I put 10+ drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and dabbed it on Salt's feathers around her back and on the tips of her tail feathers. I think most any essential oil will do oregano and citrus are also good repellants. **Caution** Do NOT apply essential oil directly on the birds's skin, base of their feathers, or the actual wound. Essential oils are very strong and will cause irritation of an already inflamed injury. Just a few dabs on her back and I didn't see any more flies buzzing around her (her fellow hen also gave her a wide berth) and I think she smelled amazing. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ That's it. I hope your found the informative without being graphic. Salt is acting a bit sluggish and under the weather but has gone to bed for the night. I will update as things change (and hopefully heal). Until then feel free to ask questions or make suggestions on other useful treatments for fly strike.