mites or lice?


Nov 14, 2009
I have tried very hard to find out how to determine if my chickens have mites or lice. They are pecking themselves, mostly at night, but I also see it during the day. I've checked them over and see no sign of skin irritation, nothing around the vents or other places. I don't think I'm seeing anything at the base of the feathers. I have seen (on myself and on a broody hen's eggs) very small black/grey critters. I felt the little creepy things on my head one night after checking the chickens after dark, and after holding a hen. I noticed a few very tiny little things on my pillow, and they didn't fly, could easily be squished. I see nothing red glowing in the dark. Can someone tell me what that is? I've been using DE on the chickens and in the shavings, but think I need to go a step further, but don't know what treatment to use until I know what I'm dealing with. Pictures on the internet tend to be magnified, and there are parts on those magnified creatures that I'm not seeing on these miniscule little specks, so the pictures I've seen so far aren't helping me identify them. And anyone help?


9 Years
Oct 9, 2010
Sounds like mites


8 Years
May 23, 2011
I'm having the same problem! I dusted chickens with DE, cleaned out the coop and runs and dusted with DE but could still see the bugs on my arms when handling a bird. I later found out that DE is more of a preventative than a cure for infestations and was kindly told on here by someone to get Permethrin. Yesterday, I got the Permethrin dust and spray. Last night, hubby and I dusted every chickens (my 8 week old chicks too) and this morning I haven't seen one bug! Hoorah! Today, I'm cleaning out the coop, once again, of all bedding, taking down all nest boxes, and I'm spraying the whole coop with the Permethrin. Hopefully that will do the job. After that, I plan on making it a 4/6 monthly ritual of dusting with DE. I'm pretty ticked off that I have this infestation, as I take such good care of my chickens and clean my coop EVERY day without fail. I have no idea where they have come from or why


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
DE will not treat an infestation, which I suspect you have, since you have seen or felt them on you. It may help as a preventative, I suspect by killing eggs, but it is only effective on soft bodied insects like tomato worms. Sevin 5% garden dust or pyrethrin/permethirin dust or spray will work; there are other products that will, as well. (see esp. post #16.)


10 Years
Feb 12, 2009
Pike Co., GA & Palm Beach Co., FL
In my limited experience of only 53 years, I`ve come to regard DE as useless. Permethrin spray is great stuff, as is Adams flea and Tick spray and dip, which contains permethrin. It doesn`t matter if it`s lice or mites as they are treated the same. The exception is leg mited which must be drowned in oil. My staple, for ever it seems, is Sevin Dust, which far exceeds any expectations from DE and is cheap and readily available. Sevin is completely safe, even for a hen brooding chicks.

For infestations uses Adams Flea and Tick Dip. Mix as direxted in a 5 gal. bucket and dip every bird up to their 'chin". Spray the coop and everything they contact, including nests and roosts. You can smell it for a month (not objectional) so ya don`t have to re treat in 10 days as with most products.

Now ya got options........Pop

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