1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Good picture of feather damage caused by mites or lice?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Yay Chicks!, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR

    I just noticed that the feathers on my BO's lower back and tail looked raggedy and chewed off at the ends. I immediately suspected mites or lice. I picked her up and gave her a good going over, looking at the skin and the base of the feathers and see nothing.

    During my inspection, I also noticed that a large round area on her bum, or lower abdomen, is bare. She hasn't laid in a couple of days and appears to have an egg ready under this area. (Hopefully not stuck)

    She is acting normally, eating, drinking, dust bathing. No signs of distress. No change in feed or bedding.

    I did a good search on here but couldn't come up with a good picture of feather damage that looked like my hen's. If you have a picture that sounds like this and you know the cause, could you post it?

    Could it possibly be something other than bugs...since I can't find anything on her?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    Just a couple of suggestions:

    I never see the bugs either. You could give her a nice Adams Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo bath. It's got an insect growth regulator in it and has some residual benefit. Continue with your regular delousing program across the board with all of them.


    if you've had them on a worming program, you could use Ivermectin pour on and Sevin dust and treat the legs and feet for leg mites (I like to spray Scarlet Oil). Repeat in 7-10 days. Make sure you're treating the coop and run too.

    I also like to keep the Adam's Plus Flea and Tick Spray around. Sometimes I'll use it on the legs instead of the oil and sometimes I spray around their ears and underneath the wattles, keeping the eyes covered with my other hand.

    I'm beginning to think that missing and broken feathers are more blood suckers and stripped, more transparent feathering (don't know how else to describe it) are more depluming type mites (where Sevin or Adams is needed).

    Head shaking I'm begining to believe are more like ear mites (that's why the Adam's around the ears). Sometimes I'll take a q-tip dipped in Adam's spray and rub it around their comb and cheeks, wattles, ears, etc., although spraying the ears seems to work best.

    You really have to hit it from all angles.
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Your BO might be getting ready to molt. When I had BO's, they always looked rough just before molt. She could be eggbound as you suggested. You can soak her in warm water up to her sides and massage her underside for about 20 minutes. That should help her move the egg along and hopefully lay the egg. Egg production will slow or stop altogether during molt. Additionally, if she is going into molt, or any of your other chickens, dont worm them with anything that has fenbendazole in it...safeguard products. Fenbendazole will damage regrowing feathers, making them look 'rough' again.
  4. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    Quote:Thank you.

    They have not been on a delousing program, per se. I regularly shake DE liberally in the coop and nest boxes, paying attention to getting it into the joins in the roost etc. I also sprinkle it into the run weekly, figuring it helped with dust baths. I did this as, what I thought, to be a preventative measure, figuring that if I was unfortunate to have an outbreak of something, that I would have to use something stronger. (And it seems to have worked for a year and a half...or maybe I was lucky) So, I don't have anything else around right now. Would you advise getting all the stuff mentioned, or just starting with the flea and tick spray? And, when you say "blood suckers", are you referring to another type of mite? I would rather not hit them with a lot of different treatments at once if there is one that is more broad spectrum than others.

    I don't believe it's a molt. She molted last year and there were feathers all over the ground. There's none of that yet this year.

    (Edited for dang typos)
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  5. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2010
    Probably the first thing you need is Sevin (get several). I would pick up the Adam's Plus Flea and Tick Spray. Some mites live off the animals blood and some live off the dander. Don't know what the ones in the ears live off but let me quess....[​IMG] You'll probably want to get the rest but don't use the Ivermectin until you've used another wormer. Ivermectin kills almost instantly and if they have a heavy wormload it can cause complications. The good thing about the Ivermectin is that it kills blood sucking parasites too. Alot of people will just use a can of Pam cooking spray for the leg mites.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by