lice, mites or what? AHHH

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by erindubb, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. erindubb

    erindubb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I am new to all this so am still learning. But I need help!! I got a new chicken (a silkie) to add to my little family of four chickens. She was stinky and had a strange eye problem - so before quarantine - I gave her a bath. As I was drying her I noticed a few whitish tanish bugs about the size of a ball point pen dot running around on her head skin. (skin I could see easily since she was wet) Totally grossed me out and now I am going to get to the store to buy lice or flea or mite powder or drops or shampoo. Something.

    I am still trying to decide which is the safest (I have two toddlers that enjoy the chickens) and the least expensive. So far I am kind of lost.

    But, I thought to myself - at least my other 4 -- seven month old chickens are good. I even went outside and checked their necks and head (since that's where I saw the bugs on the silkie) Much harder to check a dry chicken.

    Anyway, I saw no bugs on the others. Went on with life.

    Then I kept reading posts and today decided to check the vent areas of the other girls. LOW AND BEHOLD - at least two of them have little clumps of the same looking bugs (whitish, tanish small - but big enough to see clearly) bunched up around the vent. I stopped checking because I was grossed out and came in and changed clothes and took a shower. AHHHHHH.

    What are they? How did they get there? I have had these chickens since they were day old with not a bug on them. I have used DE in the dust baths, bedding, nest boxes, food - since day one. Prevention my butt!!! AHHHHH. What do I do now? What are they? WHY? Is it just inevitable? I keep reading posts that people say "I have used DE and never had a mite or lice porblem" or "I keep a clean coop and have never had mites or lice."

    But, I would have said the same thing had I not went outside and painstakinly separated butt fluffy feathers to look at the vent. So, I am wondering if the people who say they have never had them really know? Maybe they have never looked. But, since they can't see bugs on the bird - they think they are good. That's what I thought. Plus I am using DE.
    I really don't know what to do now. I am so grossed out. Any advice would be appreciated. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  2. ND

    ND Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did you see any clumps around the base of feathers that would signify lice? Lice pretty much live their entire life cycle on the bird, they lay eggs in white clumps at the base of feathers. Mites, on the other hand, generally live in the coop and come out to feed on the bird at night. Some will ride around on the bird, but massive numbers of them will be breeding/hatching and crawling out of the cracks and crevices of the coops at night to 'attack'.

    If they are mites, you have to treat the birds PLUS the coop... especially the coop! Clean out all bedding/shavings and then treat the coop. I prefer to use sevin dust... LIBERALLY... all over every crack, floor, sprinkled on the roosts, don't forget the nest boxes. I suppose liquid sevin could be sprayed, but I just use a heavy dusting of powder.

    I also use sevin dust on the birds... I "powder puff" them... put sevin in an old sock, and then liberally puff them down to the skin all over. I hold them by the legs, lay them on the ground (belly down) and can use their legs to lift/tip them every which way to really get it all under as many feathers as I can. I don't hold them in the air by their legs... their chest is always at least touching the ground...but I can lift them up and move them side to side easily this way. Repeat in 10-14 days... including a good dusting of the coop/bedding. (I don't clean the bedding out the second time...just liberally dust and then gently stir the bedding)

    I then just avoid handling them for a few days until they've dust bathed themselves 'clean'.

    I do think that people often don't see the lice/mites unless they really know what they're looking for. They can be almost invisible, and in the case of mites, sometimes you only see a few 'riding on' the bird because they're living in the coop wood.


    I prefer sevin dusting to other methods... like using pour on dewormer. IMO, the topical (or oral) dewormers that are used will only be effective on bugs that BITE the bird and feed off blood. Some of them feed off dead skin cells, and feathers...never actually biting the bird. A liberal sevin dusting is easy, and does kill them quickly-- no matter the kind.


    IMO, DE is worthless... even as a preventative. "Snake oil".
    Obviously, lots of people disagree...but your story isn't unique AT ALL.


    Lastly, yes... mites and lice are inevitable. Period. Wild birds will continually supply the environment with plenty of them!
    Your best defense if a preventative schedule... with a product that WILL kill them. Lots of people treat their birds monthly or at least every other month or two. Some just check non-stop and treat at the first sign of mites. (checking at night with a flash light on the skin is super helpful for mites that are living in the coop and coming out to feed on the birds at night) Anyway, if you have birds outside... you WILL have mites/lice coming to visit. It's inevitable.
     
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    erindubb, so how do you feel about DE now? The only thing it's trully good for is keeping a coop or run dry like it was originally intended to do. I use sevin dust for external parasites. Also, any of the ivermectin products works as well. Here's a link to hopefully help you out. http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    One more good treatment that actually kills them all. unlike DE: Adams flea and tick spray, or powder. I'd go for the spray. Available from a vet or WalMart.

    If I had to go buy it I'd go for Adam's. If I already had Sevin I would use it.

    But what really concerns me is the eye. Could be a symptom of a respiratory illness, in which case you don't ever want her near your others. See how it looks when she's had time to recover from the lice/mites, and keep the quarantine, strictly.
     
  5. birdsNbeesNseeds

    birdsNbeesNseeds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:


    If it were me, I would use a dip containing permethrin- don't allow the kids to touch the chickens until they are completely dry. (I dip them at night anyway.) If it's cold where you are, you may have a harder time doing this, and would have to keep them warm. Permethrin doesn't have toxic human side effects, but if you're extremely worried about it you can try to bathe them after the dip dries and the bugs are dead. You'll have to redip later according to the package directions.

    But, I thought to myself - at least my other 4 -- seven month old chickens are good. I even went outside and checked their necks and head (since that's where I saw the bugs on the silkie) Much harder to check a dry chicken.

    Anyway, I saw no bugs on the others. Went on with life.

    Then I kept reading posts and today decided to check the vent areas of the other girls. LOW AND BEHOLD - at least two of them have little clumps of the same looking bugs (whitish, tanish small - but big enough to see clearly) bunched up around the vent. I stopped checking because I was grossed out and came in and changed clothes and took a shower. AHHHHHH.

    What are they? How did they get there? I have had these chickens since they were day old with not a bug on them. I have used DE in the dust baths, bedding, nest boxes, food - since day one. Prevention my butt!!! AHHHHH. What do I do now? What are they? WHY? Is it just inevitable? I keep reading posts that people say "I have used DE and never had a mite or lice porblem" or "I keep a clean coop and have never had mites or lice."

    But, I would have said the same thing had I not went outside and painstakinly separated butt fluffy feathers to look at the vent. So, I am wondering if the people who say they have never had them really know? Maybe they have never looked. But, since they can't see bugs on the bird - they think they are good. That's what I thought. Plus I am using DE.

    I really don't know what to do now. I am so grossed out. Any advice would be appreciated. [​IMG]

    I think you hit the nail on the head. Maybe some people haven't gotten them yet, maybe some are oblivious. Personally (my opinion) is that DE salespeople and affiliates make it out to be a much better product than it is.

    Here's some more info for you: Good luck!

    ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/pdf/0018.pdf

    Edit: Hey dawg, you gave the same link- great minds or is it strange minds [​IMG] think alike!
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2010
  6. erindubb

    erindubb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love you guys! Thanks for all the advice. DE is useless to me. And I think that people who think they don't have mite problems actually do. That is gross. I still am not sure if they are mites or lice. I have been googling it and can't ever see pictures that look like mine.
     
  7. Break an Egg

    Break an Egg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, I just wanted to add that from what you describe, it sounds like feather lice. Sevin and adam's flea and tick spray works well, but you have to retreat in 7-10 days afterward. I have found that DE does nothing when it comes to bugs as well.
     
  8. erindubb

    erindubb Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK -- So I am going to the pet store to get Adams right now. Do I just spray it all over them or what? You guys are the best. Seriously. What did chicken people do before this board? [​IMG] I would die.
     
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Get it on the bugs on the neck and head -- but don't get it in the eyes. You might want to spray it on your and then apply or something.

    It is likely there are also bugs or eggs under the wings and around the vent -- their favorite places. Be sure you wash or treat anything the new one has been around. If you didn't carry them to your old flock, they might be OK. Safest would be to check the others at night, with an assistant with a light. Some of those critters only get on the birds at night and hide on the roost or wherever during the day. If you find bugs in the coop you need to treat the whole coop. They willl hide in cracks in the walls.... And repeat in 7 to 10 days, as someone else said; I always forget to say that.

    Don't let the kids handle the silkie you treat until she is completely dry.
     
  10. emarble

    emarble Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry to disagree with you guys but I have found DE to be verry effective for control of all bugs. I feed small amounts to my chickens and also dust their roost and floor of the house with it and the dirt in the run . I have had fewer flies and have seen my chickens much happier because they are not showing signs of infestation! I will say their is no way to totally eliminate all pest but I have had good luck with DE!! The best part about DE is it is totally safe for all warm blooded animals but is indiscriminitory to all bugs! it even kills benificial bugs too!! So take care in using

    Ernie
     

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