mites or lice, or something else?

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by RisingSpring, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2011
    Northwestern PA
    my husband purchased some muscovy ducks about a month ago; a drake, 3 adult females, and 6 ducklings. the adults all had messy plumage, and the drake was missing a lot of feathers. probably more than half, he doesn't have hardly any tail feathers and his whole chest is bare. we kind of assumed that this was due to the conditions they were being kept in and that the drake may have been fighting with other drakes.

    after watching them for a while, i realized that the adults were scratching themselves often, and also did this thing where they gently shake their wings for a while when they are standing around. i realized they must have some kind of parasite. they are not used to being handled, and since we just got them i didn't want to stress them so i haven't checked to see if i can see anything in their plumage. so far i haven't seen anything, and the ducklings do not seem to be affected. i also have geese and chickens and they don't seem affected. but my magpie drake now is scratching a lot and doing the wing shake.

    i have tried applying some food grade diatamaceous earth on their plumage several days in a row, hoping that might be enough. but it didn't seem to make a difference.

    based on the symptoms, what kind of parasites do you think this might be, causing a lot of itching and feather loss? they seem otherwise in good health.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Do they have a pool to bathe in? that should take care of any external parasites. My drakes and some of my ducks are looking pretty ratty right now, start of molt. If you look closely under wings and around tail feathers[vent] area if they have lice they would be attached to feathers there, if mites they will be crawling on their skin in same areas. Epernix Pour on is my go to for chickens when they get mites, Never seen parasites on my ducks. But use the Epernix pour on like front line for dogs. Allso when giving swimming water pour in about a cup of ACV that should help kill anything that maybe on them. I'm thinking stress mating, fighting and molt though.
     
  3. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    oh we actually have a big spring fed pond that they all swim in. they are in the water on and off during the day, they bathe themselves a lot. i don't think they had access to water at their old place, so i had thought about that being a problem.

    i will look at them closely to se if i can spot anything. are you saying that if it were mites or lice that just going in the water would get rid of them? because it certainly hasn't yet. maybe they are molting, but what about their constant itching and how they kinda wiggle their wings all the time?
     
  4. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    My Muscovy's do this they scratch and I think it's because old feathers are falling out new ones coming in, and after mine go into bathe they do this with their wings. Most would say with good bathing water you won't see parasites, not to say ducks can't get mites and lice they can especially if kept in unsanitary conditions, But I don't see how with good water to bathe in there would be a problem and if you had a mite infestation and all your ducks sleep together then your ducklings would be having problems too. I'll get you a link that shows you what to look for. Lice on the feather shafts close to body, mites are tiny lil things smaller than pepper and come in blk and red. http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8162.pdf
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  5. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    so do you think i just happened to get them during their molt and that's why they are all crazy looking? it's been a good month now. i guess molting takes a while.
    it does sound like they may not have been kept in the most sanitary conditions where they were before, my husband said he didn't see any kind of water for them. but you're right, if the ducklings don't have anything, it would seem unlikely that they could have a parasite and not have passed it on to the little ones?
     
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    And if you clean their bedding then mites will get on you, I had that happen when I first started with chickens, they don't bite but they were crawling on my scalp. I just about panicked not knowing what they were till I came on here and told what happened. Molting can take a month or more. Even though my chickens have had mites on their side of the house just a wall and door with chicken wire separating the 2 from each other my ducks never had them nor were they on their side of the house. And last year I had a hen sitting in the goose house she got mites and they were on the wood around her nest, my geese never had them on them. I sprayed out my houses with Neem Oil. now I spray the roosts 1X a month and down the walls where the crevices are just to make sure I don't ever see them buggers again, Mites live in the wood cracks in the coops and come out at night to feed on our flocks. But I've never seen them on my water fowl. I'd take a close look at your adults, wrap them in a towel so you can hold on to them while looking Another thing mites live off the blood and cause anemia which can kill our flock if left alone and not treated, if your ducks had mites they would be sick I'm thinking. Now I believe lice live off the dander on the feathers but I'm not sure you'd have to look that one up.
     
  7. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks for the information.
    my ducks all sleep outside usually, they are fairly wild. so bedding and the coop isn't an issue.
     

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