Lice or Mites?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Pyxis, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Well, this isn't exactly an emergency, and I've started treatment, but I'd like to know what I'm dealing with here. I had a silkie get lethargic and weak about a week ago, and I brought her in and with warmth and food and water with vitamins she perked back up. I thought, because she was still young, it was that she was bullied away from the food or something. Today I found a second silkie laying in the yard flailing in the leaves and I picked her up and she was COVERED in bugs. I don't know how I missed this because I handle them regularly. I don't have much hope for this one, but she's holding on and I'm doing what I can. Gave her vitamins, dusted with Sevin, wormed with Eprinex for good measure. I'm gonna go out and do the rest of the flock once they're settled down for the night. I already cleaned out and dusted the coop.

    What I want to know is what I'm dealing with here. They look like lice, but they don't seem to be eating feathers and they're not around the vent at all. This silkie has eggs at the base of her feathers under her chin and all around her neck. They're brownish and really look like lice, but they're not acting like I would expect feather lice to. Does anyone know what I have going on here? I could probably get some pictures of the bugs and eggs on the silkie if that would help anyone. The poor thing was covered in them. After I dusted her they were rushing to the ends of her feathers and dying and it was just not good. I feel so bad for missing this and letting it happen.
     
  2. Suzie

    Suzie Overrun With Chickens

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    Whether they are lice or mites... the Sevin dust will help.

    Sadly sometimes we do not see the problem until one of ours is showing symptoms of illness... for the one that you mention as being sick, it may be an idea to give her a bath if she does not perk up very soon. You can try to encourage her to eat some scrambled egg, tuna or anything that will help her to keep her strength up while she is debilitated.
     
  3. jenifern

    jenifern Chillin' With My Peeps

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    that sounds like chicken lice if there are white clumps of eggs at the base of the feathers, especially around the chin and neck area. I had a similar problem with the first chickens I ever got, had no idea about crawly bugs and almost lost the whole flock due to anemia.
    Do the base of the feathers loook like this? http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-FHc4F-vRc...1gb_wl21Mo0/s1600/8-7-11+Poultry+lice+(6).JPG
    definitely dust them, or use permetherin drop on the back of their necks and under their wings. Get them some super booster or electrovite for their water as they are probably quite weakened. You will have to dust again in about 7 days. it's also good to sprinkle a bit of the dust along their roosts. Good luck!
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Thanks for the advice! The sick one is doing slightly better, but when I say sick I mean completely cold, laying on her side, not moving sick. Under a heat lamp she has started to come around a little, shivering, flapping a bit when I touch her, but really my expectations are low :( I'm going to go ahead and put vitamins in the whole flock's water. I did already dust their coop and roost, now I just need to get the actual birds. I also put the Sevin in their bathing spots.

    Those egg clumps look exactly like what I have going on here. I had read of feather lice that eat the feathers and mites that suck blood but had not read about blood sucking lice, and couldn't find info on them anywhere, so that's why I was confused about what I had here. If I get the silkie up I'll be feeding her scrambled eggs and giving her lots of vitamins, but until then, we'll see if she can pull through, poor little thing. She's tenacious and doesn't seem to be giving up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  5. jenifern

    jenifern Chillin' With My Peeps

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    heat lamp is a good idea. In this case it wouldn't be worth segregating her from the others as it's likely they all have it and being around the others will keep her happier imo. Get the birds all dusted asap though, pay close attention to their chin. The dust I don't think will kill the eggs, but I have only used dusting powder, not the sevin. In some cases you can pick large clumps off the birds feathers, as those are just going to hatch into new lice, burn it or put in a sealed bag into the garbage, like a ziplock. Good luck with your sick little one. I love silkies [​IMG]
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Sevin dust 5% will kill the eggs if you re-dust them in 10 days, if it is lice. Mites need to be re-dusted in 7 days. Lice are fast moving, mites slow. Lice eat dead skin, feathers, and dander, but only mites suck blood. Coop, nest boxes will have to be cleaned out, walls sprayed with permethrin or Ravap, and floors dusted with Sevin. Here are some more pictures and info: http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8162.pdf and
    http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  7. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Well I just went out and dusted everybody. Unsurprisingly, they were unappreciative. Still, it was easy enough, I even got the guineas. The only one who eluded me was a young pullet that sleeps in a tree every night. But she should get herself when she takes a dust bath. Also, I don't even believe it, but I got the silkie through! She's up and drinking...and drinking and drinking. Poor thing, I know that feeling since I donate blood but for her it must be 100x worse. Still, she's up and I'm going to make her eggs.
     
  8. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    That's really weird - I'm certain they're not mites, but if they're not sucking blood then I have no idea what happened to my silkie, nor why I've been noticing lethargy and some odd comb coloration in the other birds now that I think about it. The birds haven't been losing feathers, either, which I think they would be if it were feather eating lice? These do not look like mites. They're quick, long, flat, and kind of tannish. Now I'm confused again :barnie At least the silkie is doing better.
     
  9. jenifern

    jenifern Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Flocks infested with lice or mites show similar general symptoms. Birds will have decreased egg production; decreased weight gain; decreased carcass-grading quality; increased disease susceptibility; and decreased food intake. If any of these generalized symptoms are observed, a visual evaluation is recommended. Inspect birds around the ventral region for signs of lice or mites since infestations usually start in this area of the bird.

    from this link: http://ohioline.osu.edu/vme-fact/0018.html

    glad to hear that your sickly one is doing much better. I hope they will continue to improve. :)
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Did you read the links? The lice eggs are white at the base of the feathers--the mite eggs are grayish and it looks dirty. The red mite will only come out at night, and hides in the cracks of the walls during the day. Checking at night with a flashlight is the way to find those.
     

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