normal head movement? or parasites?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by wahmommy, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. wahmommy

    wahmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A couple of days ago, one of my pullets started shaking her head, kind of like a horse whinnying, if that makes sense. It happens every couple of minutes. She is getting close to laying, and initially I thought she'd been pecked in the head as I could see where she'd been pecked near her beak. Then two more started doing it. They have mostly been in a cardboard box in our living room as for various reasons the new bigger coop kept hitting delays and took a lot longer to complete. In the meantime i would put them out on the grass in a baby yard with chicken wire over it to keep them from flying out and to keep hawks from getting them. Now they would spill some feed and I did see one wild bird go in there when the chickens weren't there, but normally I didn't see birds going into that area. However I do have two other hens that free range. I just went over to their coop and noticed that at least one of them is also doing the whinnying shake. Does this mean they all have mites?

    Also, the night before last (when I thought the other pullet had just been pecked) I moved them into the new coop with new pine shavings etc. Do I have to clean out the entire coop now? We just finished building it on Thursday.

    I was also going to move the two older hens in with the younger hens, but then thought I shouldn't mix them if they have mites...but if the head movement is mite related then it doesn't matter right?

    Also, just to make matters more interesting, in the last couple of weeks I have seen two things in my house that looks to my gardeners eye like spider mites (tiny red crawly things). I didn't think twice about it, since I have occasionally seen these types of bugs in my house (before chickens) usually running across the pages of a book I was reading, but it is very rare, and none of us have noticed any bites.But now I am concerned (or paranoid?;) ), since there have been vague horror stories on these forums of fowl mite infested homes (people, not chickens).

    So... if you've read this far, please let me know your thoughts - I think I am going to go get some Sevin dust and dose everyone, but would rather not if this is a normal chicken thing.
     
  2. wahmommy

    wahmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just checked three of the ones that are doing the motion -I checked the light colored chicken first (I have one cream colored pullet and three black ones) and then two of the black ones. On the white one I checked her vent, under her wings and on her back/neck and didn't see anything. On the two black ones I checked vent only, again, I didn't see anything.

    Also, when I say whinnying, its only the movement side to side, they don't throw their heads back like horses do.
     
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Head shaking isn't buy it self a problem maybe the food was too dry this morning. Mites are possible. Since you have them in the house I'm guessing they haven't had a chance to dust bathe yet or much. Best to pick them up and look for mites.
    Its funny how we seem to get used to one set of behaviors and when one does a new one to us, suddenly you notice all of them doing it.
     
  4. wahmommy

    wahmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They haven't had a chance to dust bathe yet, I will probably put a metal bin in the coop with dirt or sand mixed with some DE in it so they can dust bathe. But at least two chickens have done it for at least 24 hours now... that's why I wanted to know if it was normal or not.
     
  5. wahmommy

    wahmommy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, my husband doesn't want me to use Sevin powder because he is going to raise bees and he doesn't want it around since its bad for them- what else can I use if I need to treat? I know DE isn't supposed to work, but I do have some.

    First, if they are doing this little twitchy shake thing with their heads, does that definitely mean mites? There are no other symptoms, and I couldn't find mites on the vent area.

    What else can I use besides Sevin powder?

    The twitching kind of looks like this, but not nearly this often. More like every couple of minutes
     
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wood ash is an alternate to use in the dust bath. The twitching head does not necessarily mean they have mites, some will just twitch for no reason.
     
  7. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you have a bearded or crested breed? Alot of times they will shake their heads if a stray feather is getting into their eye(s). Just another thought....
    Nikki
     

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