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New To Chickens - Mite/Lice Problem?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by tllangley, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. tllangley

    tllangley Hatching

    Mar 14, 2012
    Hi everyone. My husband and I are new to the backyard chicken raising and thought having a few chickens would be good for the kids.

    Well, we have some problems. First, we purchased all the hens at the same time from the same feed store. Everything was going great. The ladies are about 5 months old now and we were getting ready for the excitment of eggs. Well, one day out of the blue with no signs or symptoms... dead hen. No predators, no discharge from the nose, mouth, etc. Nothing visable from looking her over as to what killed her. We figured perhaps it was genetic and 1 out of 10 seemed like we did okay. We were already using DE and figured this was controlling any pest problems. (There are wild peacocks nearby too, not sure if this is important or not, I will leave it to you.)

    About a week later, another dead hen. Same issue, no symptoms. Sunday night everyone was fine, upright, eating and drinking no lethary, etc... next morning, dead in the coop.

    So at this point we started doing some research and called around. It was brought to our attention that we should worm them and check them for mites/lice. I noticed that my Poland was very pale around the eyes so I brought her in the house.

    We wormed all hens with Wazine. I found small, straw colored bugs on the Poland. We dusted the chickens with DE, dusted the coop with DE originally and then Savin Dust. We blocked the coop so they could not get back into it so we could treat the wood with Savin dust and DE.

    Yesterday the Poland looked much better, good color, good attitude, eating and drinking (never stopped or seemed lethargic though she did have loose poop). I put her back outside because she seemed sad in the house.

    Today I put a fan on them (I figured because they were sick they were having a hard time regulating their body temps, they were all panting.) Fan and shade seemed to stop the panting as well as some frozen blueberries. Well, tonight the Poland is pale again. I have brought her back in the house. I noticed the same strawcolored bugs and also a red larger bug...

    What is going on here? What do I need to do now?

    Thanks everyone!

  2. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    It sounds like lice to me. If it is warm in your area, I would wash all the birds with mild liquid soap (I always use Ivory),rinse, and then a dip in malathion bath. If it isn't warm or you can't bathe all the birds, make a dilute spray and use on vent area, under wings, and under hackle feathers (one to two sprays in each area). And repeat the spray every week until they are clear (you no longer see bugs or eggs on the birds). Malathion STINKS to high heaven, but it works wonderfully for lice.

    DE, in my opinion, is not very effective.

    The eggs can usually be seen stuck to feather bases around the face/neck and vent area, and in severe cases, even the primary and secondary wing feathers will have clusters. The live buggies are best seen by parting the soft feathers of the vent area and watching for movement.
  3. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Songster

    Mar 14, 2011
    DE will not kill them. You need to dust all your birds with Sevin as well as the coop and any other living areas like dust baths. Put the Sevin dust in a pillow case, the put you bird in and gather the case around their neck as high up as possible but closing it off so it doesn't get into their nostrils, mouths, or eyes, then massage the Sevin dust all through their feathers down to their skin all over very thoroughly.

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