How prevalent are mites, lice, and other "problems" ?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by busbees, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. busbees

    busbees Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 18, 2009
    Still not 100% committed to raising chickens. Just how prevalent are problems such as mites and lice? A friend of mine in NH has 5 chickens- he makes it sound like they are almost maintenance free. Is it common for chickens to have some parasites that really don't cause any problems? I am fine with feeding, watering, and collecting eggs daily. I don't foresee keeping the coop clean as being too labor intensive- plan on using deep litter method. However, I am not planning on handling/inspecting the chickens on a regular basis. They will not be pets. I know two people in my area that have chickens- I will talk with them to get their opinion on how labor intensive 10-15 chickens should be. I don't want to neglect ANY animal that I have taken responsibility for, and I also don't want to undertake a project that will be more of a headache than a pleasure.

    Thanks !
  2. Dar

    Dar Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 31, 2008
    I was thinking the same thing when I started with chickens.

    I spend a total of about 15 minutes a day on the daily care of my chickens this includes:
    fluffing bedding
    collecting eggs
    opening and closing of the coop
    inspections, I randomly select a chicken and inspect it, i do about 2 - 3 a day so over the course of a week I have inspected my whole flock

    I have had chickens since April 2008, in that time I have only had issues with lice 1X. This was a chicken that I brought into my flock that I bought at an auction.
    I have never (knock on wood) had a problem with worms but I feed DE with my food and my hens also get garlic with the food scraps from plate scrapings and garlic is a natural wormer.
    I dust the coop with de weekly to help prevent an infestation of lice

    In the winter I dont spend as much time with the chickens as I would like, its simply to cold. In the summer I spend about 45 minutes a day with the chickens mainly because its nicer out and i will sit and watch them do their chicken things
  3. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    Lice and mites? Never had either.....I use the deep litter method with DE and the DE keeps lice and other yucky stuff away.

    I think on this website you can get worried with all of the problems you read about, but that does NOT mean you will see all or any of those issues. I've never had a wierd egg, never had mites or illnesses, nothing. I guess my chickens are boring [​IMG]
  4. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Same here, no problems to date.

    I use food-grade DE as a preventive and I keep Dri-Kill on hand as a treatment, though I have not needed it. I use a small amount of Stable Boy powder to control odor. Both are used sparingly. Coop is spot-cleaned, night manure comes off dropping board each morning. Everything is dry.
    And I use Vapona or Home pest strips in the bran and in the porch of the coop which is inside the barn.
    The run is roofed and so far no other animals have entered the chicken space.
    Barn cats keep us rodent free, too.



    (knock on wood)
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2010
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Compared to all the different animals I have owned in the past as well as the ones I have now, to me chickens are almost maintenance free! They are so easy to care for. Like Dar, I also spend about 15 minutes a day, or less, doing the necessities of feeding, watering, basic coop cleaning etc. for my little flock of 8. That's it. Any more time I spend out there is just because I enjoy them so much. Lice and mites? I've never had any yet. I just keep the coop clean and dust with DE once a week.

    A well cared for flock with a decent coop and run that are easy to clean should not provide you with any headache at all!
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    No lice or mites here, either. I sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth in the nest boxes on occasion, dust the birds on occasion with it, etc. Never had any lice of mites at all, except on the only adult bird I've ever bought. He came with them and before he was out of quarantine, DE had killed them off.
  7. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    I think basic common sense will keep most issues at bay for small flocks, especially if you are not constantly bringing in new birds. Keep food and water clean and pest-free (it's easier than you might think...keep food in galvanized trsh cans in a dry area, fill water daily, run feed and water pans through dishwasher weekly (?) or wash with soap and water as needed). Nip anything unusual in the bud. You will become a poop watcher as it is one of the first signs and easiest things to monitor for illness or parasites. It just requires a casual observation of the surroundings as you go about the daily visit to feed, water, collect eggs. Look at the birds daily, as you go about daily visits, so that you are familiar with how they look, how their feathers look, what they look like when they are healthy.

    There was another thread recently where someone bought 5-6 chicks, lost a couple, had 2 that needed vet care int he first few months...If it were me I would re-home the rest and start all over again with chicks from a different source. Raising chickens shouldn't be that difficult.

    We started with 6 RIR pullets at point of lay. I got them from a guy who posted on craigslist for free. He was frustrated with feeding them for 4-5 months and hadn't gotten a single egg from 6 girls. When I picked them up, not knowing zip about chickens (just thought over a period of time that if might be cool to have eggs, and something I had always wanted to do), I noticed that he had them housed in a chainlink dog kennel with an igloo doghouse for shelter and had BIG un-friendly dogs in kennels on either side of the chickens. Well, I proceeded to stuff the six pullets into a large dog crate and took them home to something my husband threw together with a roll of hog wire held to the ground with tent stakes. The kennel placed in the hog wire surround was what they lived in for a few weeks until I found an a-frame coop free for the taking, also on craigslist. Even in those meager conditions I started getting eggs from them within days. That was in September. I moved them into the A-frame before winter hit and continued to get 4-6 eggs per day all winter.

    I happen to live in an area that isn't conducive to parasites (very dry in the summer, and yet gets below freeezing in the winter) so we haven't had any trouble with parasites or worms. But I do keep things clean...bowls, bedding, nests, roosts, food/water. I don't think keeping chickens is much different than taking care of my dogs...basically keep things clean and use common sense.

    Raising chickens the easy way is very do-able. The only thing I suggest to people to make it easier is to acquire the coop first and then the chickens.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by