hen acting "funny" - WTH is this?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Vickir73, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Vickir73

    Vickir73 Chickens Ate My Brain

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    Sep 9, 2010
    Leggett/Livingston
    Hen has been acting very strange last couple of days. Just sitting around. She walks very funny - likes she's in pain. The area between her back legs and vent looks swollen but upon feeling it - I can't feel anything. If she was egg bound would I feel something hard (like an egg)?. It's not her vent. I also found this stuff on her. Upon examining everyone, all the hens have it on them. It wasn't on them 2 week ago during the show. What is it, where did it come from, and how do I get rid of it? She has it the worst of the bunch, but is the only one acting abnormally. It's like a bunch (hundreds and hundreds) of little dried eggs on each the root of each feather. The third picture is of her just sitting there. She prefers the ground, but even when she's on the ground she is hunched over. The pictures aren't great because by the time I get home, it's dark.

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  2. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

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    Virginia
    My Coop
    These are lice or mites. Here is an article I wrote on them. Treatment at the bottom.

    Mites & Lice! Treatment and Prevention

    A parasite is any living thing that lives off another living thing. External parasites can either suck blood or eat feathers. Chickens with bad infestations become thin, don’t lay eggs well, and have reduced fertility. With really bad infestations your birds may die. Chickens can get anemia from these bugs. Hens, to some extent can treat themselves by dust bathing. Dust bathing is really good for your chickens. It dislodges the parasites and also helps get dirt and oils off of them. Make sure your chickens have an area to dust bath and if they don’t, put a big pan filled with sand in their pen. Inspect your hens regularly for signs of parasites.


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Pictures by cheeka


    Parasite symptoms: (All of these symptoms don’t apply to every parasite listed)

    • Itchiness
    • Bare patches
    • Lots of scratching
    • Loss of weight
    • Diarrhea
    • Symptoms of paralysis
    • Swollen legs with scales standing up
    • Laying slows or stops
    • Sitting hunched up with ruffled feathers
    • Reduced fertility
    • Listless


    Here is a picture of a mite infestation.
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    Picture by bluebee



    Mites
    Mites are spider like creatures. These bugs are under 1/25 of an inch in their length. Most are microscopic (can’t be seen with our eyes). They usually live off of blood, tissue cells, or feathers. They can be spread by contaminated shoes, other chickens, equipment, clothing, etc. Mites aren’t always on the chicken; some actually spend a good amount of time off the bird. Here are some common mites.

    Red Mites
    This mite has eight legs and crawls on the chickens during the night to feed on their blood. Red mites are gray until they eat, after filling up with blood they turn red. Found in tiny cracks, crevices, or in nesting boxes, these can actually kill chickens. Also check under the perches for red mites. Living up to one year without feeding on hens, take care to treat the birds multiple times. When using a broody hen, inspect the nest she will be brooding in very carefully, making sure to check every crack for these mites. Birds may not go up at night if the infestation is bad. In hot weather the population of red mites really increases. A single female can lay up to 120,000 eggs. Check your birds at night for red mites. They will be crawling around on perches and on your birds. They can bite humans if the infestation is really bad. These horrible little bugs can carry New Castle disease, Fowl Cholera, and Fowl Pox.

    Scaly Leg Mites
    Scaly leg mites are small mites that burrow under the scales on chickens legs. They spread very slowly from bird to bird. If the legs are seriously affected, the scales will be lifted and under the scale it will be inflamed and bleeding. If it goes unnoticed for a while, the legs will have little white encrustations (crusts) between the scales. Remove these but only after soaking and several treatment of petroleum jelly or else they will bleed. Only really bad infestations cripple the bird. An easy treatment is Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) on the legs. This will smother the mites.

    Notice the raised scales.

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    Pictures by TimBaumann



    Northern Fowl Mites
    A Northern mite is the most serious external parasite. It shows itself as damp patches on feathers, there will be many crawling around on the patches which occur in the neck feathers and vent feathers. The wings and tail affected by these birds looked like they have been chewed on. They also cause scabby skin and darkened feathers around vent. You may also see them (in bad infestation) crawling around on egg in nesting boxes. These mites multiply very quickly, so act fast with treatment. Take all the chickens out and put them in a different coop for a while. After a couple weeks in an unoccupied coop, these mites will die. Clean the hen house very well, making sure to get every corner. Treat your chickens every week until the mites are gone. Killing these mites is hard but not impossible. Chickens should not be put back in the infected coop until the coop has had time to air out from all the powders/sprays. Northern fowl mites are hard to control, don’t give up.

    Feather Mites
    These mites live on the feathers and eat the plumage. The damage to the base of the feather is very bad and ruins the feathers. Thankfully, they are not common in North America. Some types of feather mites cause so much irritation that the birds pull out and scratch their feathers in order to get relief.

    Chigger Mites
    Chigger mites are red and infest the skin of chickens as well as humans. They leave small itchy red spots where they have been feeding. These mites can be straw colored and are very small. The immature chiggers are the ones that feed on blood. Chiggers are commonly found under the wings, on the breast, and legs. When feeding chiggers inject poisonous saliva that liquefies the skin, they then feed off of that. It then causes really itchy skin, swelling, and scabs. Young birds stop eating, drinking, and may die. I’ve been bit by a few chiggers before and it really itches.

    Lice
    These pests are either blood sucking or chewing parasites. But chicken lice only eat feathers or shedding skin. Lice vary in size and shape length is 1/25 to ¼ inch. Most are yellow or straw colored. They are very hard to see on white chickens but easy on dark. Luckily, lice die quickly when off of chickens. They’re many types of lice that can be seen, head, body, and feather lice. By grooming chickens can keep lice at a minimum. So debeaked birds or overgrown beaked birds are more likely at risk for lice. Because lice bite chickens, they pull their own feathers out to try and make the irritation stop. Chickens lay poorly and have low fertility when infected with lice. They are spread through contact with other contaminated birds. You can see lice crawling around on the chickens skin and vent. Louse eggs will be clumped on the feather shaft.

    Here are lice eggs around the feather shaft.
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    Picture by demerson
    Body Louse
    Body lice chew through the skin into growing quills to get to the blood. You will find scabs on skin and light eggs. Body lice move really fast so it may be hard to see when you check your birds.

    Head Louse
    This is the most serious louse pest. They are very harsh on young birds and they spread from the hen to her chicks. Seriously infected chicks will die.

    Common Fowl Louse
    These are the most common louse. Because parasites itch, feathers are picked and scratched, making bare patches. They reproduce rapidly laying groups of eggs called nits.


    Treatment
    A good treatment for mites and lice wood ash for your chickens to dust bath in. Sevin Dust I found out has been banned for use on poultry. There are other treatments like poultry sprays. Treat by spraying on the chicken and on the roosts, nesting boxes, everything. I use Garden & Poultry dust to help prevent (not treat) mites and lice. They’re many other treatments for these parasites. Covering the nits in petroleum jelly prevents them from hatching and they then fall off.

    Prevention
    Always keep your chicken coops clean and dry. Use dust like Garden & Poultry dust to prevent these parasites. Make sure your chickens have a place to dust bath. Regularly check your chickens for these parasites (at night will be easier because you won’t have to catch them).


    If you have any question please feel free to ask.
    ~WillowBranchFarm~
     
  3. Vickir73

    Vickir73 Chickens Ate My Brain

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    Sep 9, 2010
    Leggett/Livingston
    I just treated everyone with Cydectin less than 2 weeks ago. I thought that would kill all the creepy crawlies. Should I treat again??? These only showed up AFTER I treated. Maybe I didn't treat enough??? I only used about 3 drops per bird (1 above vent area and one under each wing) I haven't seen anything crawling on them (I have had issues with lice before so I do know what they look like) I also use DE and seven dust (not together, just used them in the past)
     
  4. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

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    I would use a dust. And you not only treat the birds but there coop or else they will come back.
     
  5. Harry Rooster

    Harry Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm having the same problem with one of my new Dominecker hens, I have never seen anything like this before but from my description someone said it was definately lice, but didn't say which kind. The hen has a problem with her swollen red feet, doens't seem to be bumblefoot cause there is no hard place or black scab on the bottom, so I tend to think maybe it is cause from the lice, espically since the other foot had started turning red and swelling also. Don't know any history on these chickens except that they were not well cared for and unwanted. Don't know how old they are but I think she is fairly old, could just be this problem that makes her look like that. She seems to be the only one out of the 7 that has a problem though, but I haven't thouroughly inspected the others yet. So is "Ytex Gardstar dust 2.5% permethin" sufficient to treat this? It seems pretty bad since they got off on me while holding her. I haven't really looked her over though, but she had little white things stuck to her feathers on her neck that I picked off. They were really stuck to the outside of the neck feathers. And do I spray or dust the coop? She is already stressed with her feet and being in a new place, I hope whatever I do won't harm her. Also, I just put in new hay in the coop and nesting baskets (square plastic bread baskets). Do I have to throw all that away also, and treat the other chickens in there with her. They all have always been together, but they seem okay just from watching them. I also have some "Frontline plus for dogs & puppies 8weks or older and up to 22 lbs", can you put this on chickens? She is a full grown Dominecker hen, but I don't know if you can put this on her, if I should do that after I dust her, or just dust her only?[​IMG]Then after dusting, put vaseline in her feet and legs?
     
  6. Vickir73

    Vickir73 Chickens Ate My Brain

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    Sep 9, 2010
    Leggett/Livingston
    when I treat the flock, I treat the coop too, but I just realized that my show coop does not have a place for them to dust bathe - this is probably a huge issue. I will be getting them one this weekend) I have an old plastic sand box that would be perfect. I will fill it with sand, de, and permethium (if I can find it). I would think the cydectin killed everything but since I didn't see this issue when I treated does that mean I need to retreat with the cydectin? (I only used about 3 drops, maybe I should increase to 6 drops?) I don't want to poison them, but do want to kill the blasted things (bugs that is). I'm wondering if I cut their feathers off (to get rid of the eggs and hopefully relieve some of their discomfort) will the feathers grow back in time for the next show (March 23)?

    Harry, I acquired a roo from a friend and he has very swollen feet. I'm pretty sure it's not scaly leg mites, but have treated him with bag balm and vaseline just in case. This didn't make any difference so I feel that he has gout (as I've noticed it's getting a little better the longer I have him - I think he was getting the wrong kind of feed).
     
  7. krisendaaves

    krisendaaves Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 5, 2012
    hey Rebecca,

    we just got six new hens to add to our three and i found bugs on one of them today. they are light coloured, and oval, and they were crawling around below her vent, several of them. i am so disturbed. i called the vet and he said to put sevin dust on them. i don't know what garden and poultry dust is. i would go get some wood ash from the fireplace if the coals weren't still hot. (we've been building fires for several days). do you just put the ashes in a box in the coop?

    since we just got them, i haven't let them out of the coop yet. i have my three hens in an enclosure in the sunroom, because they are healing from rooster slashes because of overmating. i had to isolate them from the roosters. so i have not yet put them with the new hens. now i won't be able to until the bugs are gone.

    we have only been learning about chickens since april. we raised ours from chicks, hand fed them. they are clean and healthy. we needed more hens and we got the new hens from a person we trust, but i forgot to look for bugs when we were buying them. they seem healthy otherwise.

    i posted this question in another area, predators and pests, but when i saw that you had said you would be glad to answer questions about lice, etc., i decided to write directly to you.

    i really need your advice.

    thank you in advance.
     
  8. JerseyGiantfolk

    JerseyGiantfolk Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 12, 2012
    Sevin dust isn't as strong as it used to be. I use Adams Flea and tick spray with insect growth regulator (IGR). It insures that the adults won't be able to reproduce, and soon the population will die out.

    When you're dealing with creepy crawlies like lice and mites, you need to be very thorough in cleaning. If your hens are scabbed with mites, wash them with flea and tick shampoo. Clean out the coop thoroughly (don't be afraid to use the hose!). Mites will hide in the cracks and crevices in your coop, so if you just dust the hens or dust the used litter, NOTHING will happen. They'll keep breeding in their hiding spots.

    One of the type of mites is called a Roost Mite. They come out at night and suck on the birds blood, then in the day they go into hiding. You know when you have mites when you see clear bars on the feathers (also can be caused by being hungry or thirsty). At night, you can go outside and stick your hand on the roost bar, then you should feel them crawling.

    When you dust/spray your hens dust under the hackles, back of tail feathers/vent area, uropygial gland/oil gland area (base of tail feathers) and under the wings.
     
  9. Harry Rooster

    Harry Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Vickir. I didn't notice that the Dominecker had this problem when we got her, but there were 6 others also, and maybe I just didn't notice it at the time, but we've had them for about 2 or 3 wks now and it has started on her other foot also. I don't think it is the feed we are giving, because we give all the same. Giving Laying pellets (22% protien, I think, it's the highest % anyway) , and corn chops (cracked corn), plus we give them table scraps veg. and bread, but she doesn't get as much of the table scrap since she acts like she doesn't care about it, and she has plenty of food & water accessable to her in the coop where she sits a lot. I've also been adding some electrolytes to her water and Tetracycline a couple of times. I guess I should do that everyday, but I just really didn't want to medicate the others that seem to be fine, and can't isolate the med. water to just her, unless I do it by hand everyday (meds.), but need to address lice issue first. [​IMG]
     
  10. Harry Rooster

    Harry Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a lice problem with 1 Dominecker hen, and a mite problem on my sick & recovering (respiratory) Bantam cockerel. I bought some flea & tick drops called "Liberty 50" plus IGR spot-on for dogs (for use on dogs & puppies over 12wk or age) active ingred. Permethrin 50%, Pyriproxyfen 1.20% kills & repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, lice, mites (do not use on cats) it says. each applicator tube .046 fl oz. *Cis/trans ratio: max 55% (don't know what that means). Okay can I put this on them, even if they are sick, and how much (whole tube or x# of drops?) and where to apply it on them. (I don't know technical names of chicken's parts yet so....under wings? under tail? on back of neck? I also got some garden dust (Y*Tex GardStar) Permethrin .25%. Was thinking about dusting the hen and drops on cockerel, since he is inside my shop (hosp.) recovering. Which is best you think? Thanks for your help.[​IMG]
     

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