Lice and Treatment

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by lmdengler, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. lmdengler

    lmdengler Songster

    Jun 2, 2017
    Upstate New York
    Hi All -
    Despite keeping my coop very clean - somehow my chickens got lice. I noticed them on my big white rooster and his mate. I assume that means everyone has them. I just can't understand it. I rake the ran, remove old feathers, turn the bedding and scrape the roosts EVERY DAY!

    Anyway, I read about treatment and went with the Permethrin 10 for poultry. I stripped and powerwashed the coop, scraped and scrubbed the roosts, floors and walls. I couldn't get boiling water to pour on the walls and floors. I hoped the powerwashing would do. After that was done, I sprayed the walls, floors and any crevices I could get to with the mixture of permethrin and water.
    Once it was dry I put DE down and I bought fresh straw for their new bedding.
    Then - I dipped all the chickens (27 of them) in the solution prescribed by the label and let them dry in the sun.

    Finally - I took what was left in the bucket of dip/water solution and raked it through the run and sprinkled DE in the run and let the chickies rake that through for me. It took me 6 hours to do all this! Wish aI took a picture of what I looked like after all this!

    It says I have to treat them again in 2 weeks - so I bought powder for that. Do you think this will do it? Does anyone have advice?
    chickens really likes this.
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    My advice is lay off the power washing... lice like it clean. Keep it simple as the permethrin is VERY effective when used correctly... which does NOT require a dipping... Just a SMALL spritz right below the vent, under each wing pit, and to the nape of the neck at the back base of the head, making sure feathers are parted so spray hits the skin.

    Did you make sure everything was completely dry before using the permethrin as to not alter the concentration?

    I spray inside nest boxes and under roost, also on coop floor.

    DE is mostly irrelevant, and not welcome at my place.

    With regard to powder verses liquid, I far prefer liquid as it stays ON my birds instead of filling the air every time they shake out for everyone to inhale. It's also easier to apply appropriately in my experience. But yes, the powder should still be effective for your second treatment round which is important in completely disrupting the parasites life cycle and ensuring they don't develop resistance to the drug instead.

    A good keeper can still get lice and other parasites as they come in on wild birds and such. Good keepers take care of stuff when they notice it. If your birds are free range and you have much wildlife in your area, please understand that lice are a part of the environment and that doesn't mean you are a bad keeper it means that your birds have access to the outdoors and face the perils that come along with that wonderful life style.

    Some of your birds may be more effected than others as they don't all have the same foraging, bathing habits or even the same immune systems. In California back yard flocks, studies showed that 90% of parasites were found on 10% of the same flock. Similar to humans, the bugs may prefer a certain individual... my daughter in law and husband will be bitten FIRST by fleas or mosquitoes or anything else. So even if I'm not getting bitten, I have lived long enough to know they aren't making it up even if I haven't yet been targeted. However, yes it is important to treat the whole flock so other members don't become targeted.

    I thought the retreatment was supposed to be done in 7-10 days depending on parasite... but if the direction say 2 weeks, then yes follow that please. :thumbsup

    I do the spritzing after dark with a flashlight so I don't have to chase anybody as my flock isn't all super tame. it used to be 82+ birds strong. And as you note can be very time consuming. Good for you for powering through all that you did to be the best you can be for your animals! :highfive:
  3. Soy Milano

    Soy Milano Chirping

    Jun 19, 2017
    First off, lice don't really live in the environment. They live on their host the entire time. Second, just cuz one bird has a lice issue, doesn't mean they all do, most of the time it is only some birds who have an issue. Most issues with lice are cuz birds aren't preening due to an illness or deformities with their beak, or aren't given a dustbathing area. Also, roosters are going to be more likely to have lice then hens, cuz roos look after the hens more then they spend dustbathing. All you might need to do is provide a dustbathing area and you'll be fine. There are lots of different types of treatments though -
  4. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    x2 everything EggSighted already said! It's about the wild bird interactions, and can't be avoided unless your flock is indoors all the time, and no other birds come in.
    Mites may happen too; that's been the most common issue with my flock. I also use the permethrin spray, at night, with a flashlight, and will use the dust on the coop floor when it's cleaned out.
    EggSighted4Life likes this.
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Lice can live OFF the host for two weeks.

    I have dust bathing areas... not all birds bathe the same or have the same preening habits. When they roost right next to each other or have a rooster mating many... things like this spread very easily. I have ZERO illness or deformities in my flock because I cull HARD in order to keep my genetics strong. Birds shed feathers and feather bases can have nits on them.

    Yes they may not all CURRENTLY have the issue... but it's important to treat everyone so others don't become a target. Only way to eliminate lice in the whole flock by dustbathing is to include sulfur, which is effective even on those who don't use the bath, oddly enough. (NOT what I am recommending and would only use in extreme cases).

    I'm sorry, but your are either misinformed or under informed. :confused: Experience is the mother of all teachers! :)

    ETA: other wild animals and birds are a part of the environment... not just plants and dirt.
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree with @Folly's place and @EggSighted4Life. When I first discovered mites, I power washed the inside of all of my coops after I cleaned out everything. After the coops dried out I sprayed the coops thoroughly with permethrin spray. I did spray the birds too, as well as their nest boxes, ceilings, walls, floors, on and under the roosts, any crack and crevices with a gallon sprayer so I could reach the hard to reach areas with the wand. I repeated spraying weekly for awhile as I had some wild birds try to build nest in a couple of the coops and now I need to move more birds around and I didn't want to introduce pests from coop to coop, so I did them all. I have been spraying weekly during the summer months. I have put some permethrin powder in the floor shavings and in the nest boxes and dusting the birds. So far no more pests and the ugly birds are now beautiful again. Good luck and have fun...
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    It's great to get familiar with ones' OWN load is a perfect point that this post makes...

    I see you face your issues with lice during summer and at my location winter time is when the load is "heaviest". According to my vet, aside from it not freezing in our area which effects some things like lice, mosquitoes, mites... he said when you (we) keep many birds or animals in close proximity (not even crowded) it can eliminate the "seasonal" effect... *possibly* leading to the need for year round treatment.

    I NEVER treat without visual confirmation. I have not YET faced issues with resistance to permethrin.

    Hope ya get it knocked down, I know how frustrating it can be.
  8. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    It freezes here, and that doesn't deter those miserable mites!!!
  9. MontanaChickDoc

    MontanaChickDoc Songster

    Jul 2, 2016
    central Virginia
    I found some lice on a debilitated young Ameraucana pullet and treated everyone and their bedding, dust bath areas, etc with permethrin dust (environment) and spray (the chickens themselves). The 2 silkies had it worst (ps scurrying lice and nit covered feathers make me gag), and then 1 rooster and 1 hen had just a few. No lice on any of the others (40 ish) so goodness knows what the flock dynamics are. Maybe because silkies have such fluff and can't preen as well...:confused: it was an incidental finding though - no one had feather loss, picking, or anything. The pullet was runty from the beginning and I think the lice were secondary to generalized debilitation. They were c-r-a-w-l-i-n-g all over my legs as I was tube feeding her. UGH. I just shivered again. So gross.
  10. RoosterML

    RoosterML Songster

    Repeat permethrin dust or spray on each bird in about 7-10 days when any eggs may hatch and take your DE open garbage pail and chuck that worthless crap. Doesn’t matter how clean or dirty your place is. Mice, other birds any other animal can bring them in.
    Personally the one time I had to deal with it I did the dust under each wing, around vent and back of neck. Like previously said part feathers and get down to skin.
    Good luck

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