How worried should I be about parasites?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Egiroux, Dec 14, 2011.

  1. Egiroux

    Egiroux In the Brooder

    Dec 5, 2011
    Durham, ME
    I'm relatively new to the chicken world. I've only had my small backyard flock of 4 birds for a few weeks. Coming in to this I talked with a few folks to get information and advice and never got much sense of problems with fleas, lice, mites, or other health issues with birds. After reading on this site for a few weeks I'm getting kind of paranoid. Living in the cold northeast and with this small flock size, how worried do I need to be with this type of pest control? I'm reading a lot of people using DE as a preventative measure and it seems like there are lots of posts with people dealing with fleas/lice/mites. My goal is to keep these birds happy/healthy with as little non-natural intervention as possible. They're in a good clean, dry coop. I'd really like to not have to bring DE or any other preventative measure into the mix aside from general clean living conditions. However, I don't want to have sick, unhappy birds either. So, for those of you who have a small backyard flock like me should I be worried and more proactive with these types of pest situations? What would the primary cause of these types of ailments be - unsanitary coop conditions, mixing of new, previously infected birds? I welcome any advice or recommendations you may have.

  2. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    This is my third winter with chickens, and so far no mites, lice or worms. The only thing I've done is dust the bottom of the nestboxes with poultry dust before putting in fresh bedding, and I replace the bedding frequently in the summer time because mites can be a problem here in North Texas then. We take fecal samples regularly to our vet for worm checks, and so far, so good.

    If your flock free ranges or has an unroofed run, they run a higher chance of picking up mites, etc. from wild birds. Ours do use a day tractor that I move around the yard, so I do keep a close eye on them. I try to weigh each bird every week or two, check their feet, and generally look them over.

    It's good to know what to look for so you can spot it if you should see it, but you may never have to deal with these things.
  3. saladin

    saladin Songster

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    As it concerns mites and external parasites you need to be proactive: I'd suggest Sevin Dust to begin with.

    You state: My goal is to keep these birds happy/healthy with as little non-natural intervention as possible.

    You need to remember that chickens have been domesticated for thousands of years. They generally require intervention to maintain health; especially if you are dealing with a flock (however small) that has not been culled for health issues (such as hatchery birds).

    Unfortunately, many today will tend to medicate instead of kill.
  4. DE is organic. Poultry dust is not. I garden organically and the stuff in my chicken coop goes in my garden. The eggs and meat go into my tummy. DE is food grade, it's just old shells from sea creatures made of silica. Poultry dust is poison and can be overdosed, plus it kills beneficial insects like lady bugs, green lacewings and bees.
    I use DE. It works, it's natural and some people even think its good for you to eat. It's already in our food system because it's added to flour to prevent weevils. Yes,evrytime you eat any sort of baked good or anything made with flour you ingest DE!
  5. Egiroux

    Egiroux In the Brooder

    Dec 5, 2011
    Durham, ME
    Quote:This makes me feel a little better. From a proactive standpoint are you doing a similar approach to what I've ready others are? That being:
    - dusting the coop floor down before new shavings are added
    - dusting the nest boxes when new hay/stray/shaavings are added
    - dusting down the run area
    - dusting around the yard where they free range

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by