Mites or Lice, What do I do about them?


8 Years
Aug 25, 2011
Eastern NC
So I have a fairly large flock, 27 birds total if you count 5 bitties. I've noticed a few of them have tiny bugs on their feathers. There will be two or three feathers towards the birds tail that will look "dusted" and if you try to pull the dust off you get "moving dust" on your fingers; at which point I usually get a case of suddenly feeling itchy.

The hens that have nice looking feathers with a nice sheen of oil don't appear, after inspection, to have any of these little bugs. The few hens that have less of a sheen with more unkempt looking feathers have the bugs.

I dusted one hen very well all over with DE and checked her a few days later only to find that the bugs were still alive and kicking. There goes my preference for a "natural" method.

So what are the bugs and what do I do about them? I would prefer to treat just the hens I think have a problem and not the whole flock but what do you all think? Any opinions/experience with seven or poultry dust? Should I be doing something as preventative measure? The few hens that have the problem aren't what I would consider "thrivers" but they are pets with names so culling is not an option.
Plain dusting them and letting them go isn't really going to work. This sounds like feather mites, by the way.

You'll need to wash her with flea/tick shampoo or baby shampoo, then thoroughly rinse out the coop, put fresh shavings/what you use in. Dust it, or spray it with flea/tick spray. After your hen (s) are done drying, you'll need to dust/spray them for mites.

Under the hackles
Under both wings
The base of the tail (in between the tail and the tail coverts)

Tip: Make sure to really rinse you chickens. They sound like they are really healthy, which is a good thing of course. But their feathers may let the water run off and so you'll have to brush back the feathers then pour water on them.

Good luck~

ADDED: I use Adam's Flea and Tick spray, it's effective, but just don't use it on a windy day.
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You need to remove all your birds from their living quarters, clean out all the bedding and dispose of it. Dust or spray the living quarters with Sevin. Then replace the bedding and lightly dust it with Sevin. Dust each bird thoroughly with Sevin Dust before putting it back into the coop. You can do this with a plastic shopping bag - put the sevin inside, then the bird up to it's neck. Be sure to rub the dust into all the feathers, down to the skin being sure to get the vent area well. Then remove the bird and use your finger (wearing gloves) to rub a little on the neck and head as well. REPEAT in 10 days.

DE will not kill the bugs and is pretty useless.

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