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Lice nits not going away or hatching

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by amama, May 16, 2016.

  1. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2016
    Midwest US
    I posted a while back after figuring out our hens had lice. We got them from a woman on craigslist and I was a new chicken owner and didn't think to check for it, so by the time I figured out that what what was going on, it had gotten really bad. Only a few had messy bottoms when we got them, then they all did and diarrhea.

    It's been a real challenge treating them as they aren't used to being handled, and I've never handled chickens:)

    I sprayed them with coconut oil right after finding the lice and it killed the lice that day, we haven't seen another one since, that was about a month ago. Then I bathed them in warm water/Neem oil to try and clean some of the nits/poopy mess off their feathers. I dusted them with DE, and I also cleaned out their coop extremely well and dusted it with DE.

    We have dusted every seven days with Poultry Dust for three weeks now.

    After the first dusting week, I checked their vents and they were so messy with poop/nits/scabs, etc. that we soaked them on a warm day for 30 minutes each in a little soapy water, and then I tried to break up nits/large chunks of dried poop, etc. I can't get the nits off at all and it bothers the hens a lot as the nits are down at the base of the feather shaft, and don't feel like I should pluck all those feathers around the vent?

    They still have tons of nits, still no active lice ever crawling around, but some still have messy bottoms.

    I hadn't read of anyone having to dust more than three times, shouldn't the nits have hatched by now?

    Am I doing something wrong? I've spent way more hours on these chickens than I care to, or have time for, and not sure what to do next.
    Thanks
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    None of the products you use will kill all the lice. DE is only (somewhat)effective against soft parasites, not those with exoskelatons. And you would have to douse the whole bird with oil to smoother all the lice- and that would definately not be good for the birds. Nits will not cause any irritation,so it is likely you have very small preadult lice continuing to hatch out.

    Here is a good article on treating external parasites

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/...y-lice-what-they-are-diagnosing-and-treatment

    And good luck!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
  3. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 16, 2016
    Midwest US
    A little confused by your post, I read the article in the link but I've done all the things in the article and more. I used the same dust they used.

    I have checked the birds repeatedly and we have never seen lice or evidence of lice anywhere on them besides their vent area. Before when they were excessively preening they only do it towards there as well. I am dusting though around the vent and under the wings too.

    I hadn't even wanted to use the Permethrin dust as it is chemicals, but went ahead since they were so miserable, and I really don't want to use Seven if possible. It can't be good to use the Permethrin this long and still not have nits gone.

    Anyone else with suggestions?

    Thanks
     
  4. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Sorry, from your post I understood that you used DE for dusting - I assume then that Poultry Dust icontains Pyrethrins?

    The nits are cemented to the feather shaft and do not easily come off ( if you have ever spent an afternoon picking nits out of a child's hair you would understand this :rolleyes: ).

    As long as there are nits there is a chance that new lice may hatch out of them. Dusting does not kill the lice until they hatch. Usually 3 weeks is enough, but it may take a little more. If a bird has irritated skin, soaking the affected area in a warm Epsom solution will be soothing.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  5. amama

    amama Out Of The Brooder

    75
    4
    41
    Mar 16, 2016
    Midwest US
    Yes, my post was probably confusing. We dusted them with the DE before we could get to the store and buy the Permethrin dust. So they've had one dusting with DE (and it's in their dust bath area with wood ash), and three dustings with the Permethrin.

    Yes, the nits are like cement. I took a pair of tweezers out there for our chicken assembly line but they got lost in the grass. I was going to try squeezing the nit sacs because they do break with very hard pressure, but it was taking over an hour to work on one chicken and I wasn't getting very far.

    I'm sure this is an ignorant/silly question, but can the nits die in those eggs and just be stuck on there? I'm just wondering with all the things I've put on them, because if they are hatching out each week, I would see less nits but I don't. No live lice that I can see anywhere, and no less nits.

    I also forgot to say that they are not preening themselves like crazy as they were when we found the nits. Only a couple do that now sometimes, and none of them have decreased egg laying.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2016
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Nits are basically the louse egg. After the juvenile nymphs hatch the shell of the egg will remain attached to the hair. Most eggs hatch by 21 days, but you will still see some nonviable nits and left behind shells. These will shed with the feathers.

    Sounds like your hens are much more comfortable, a good sign.
     

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