Oh Jeez! Could Our Luck Get Any Worse?!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Harli50, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. Harli50

    Harli50 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    So recently I have had quite a tragedy. Almost all of our chickens were killed in a dog rampage last week. We are now caring for 9 chickens. All but 4 have injuries, 4have injured legs and can hardly walk, and 3 have open wounds. All are healing and getting better, But today me and my mom were moving things about and putting new newspaper down on the garage floor. We have this polish rooster who is quite bald on his head and bum and has only one sad, bent up, short, pitiful tail feather. He was being quite a nuisance so I picked him up and was examining his bare bum when I saw some small red/brown things crawling around......mites. I checked all the chooks and guess what....all of them have them. We have had one of our hens indoors a lot lately because her leg is bent quite out of the usual so we snuggle with her when we are on the computer. She has the mites and I was wondering if they are now all over the house. We have two indoor cats that could get them and a two day old chick that was snuggling up with the nice chicken. What are the right dusters and sprays to use and get rid of them and do we have to change our bedding and clean the floors and such to get rid of them in the house (if they are here)? Do they spread to humans?
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    There are two common mites for chickens, also lice. The Northern Fowl Mite (mainly lives on the chicken), and the Red Mite (chicken mite) which mainly lives in the cracks/crevices of the coop. It comes out at night to feed.

    chart at bottom with descriptions

    newer link for approved pesticides

    It sounds like it could be lice or mites from your description. From my experience with the Northern Fowl Mite, you would have bite marks on you by now if you were holding your chicken inside the house. You would be itchy and feel like bugs are crawling over you.

    If lice, they eat the feathers/dander and are poultry-specific (don't bite humans at all or live on us).

    If the Northern Fowl Mite, they DO bite us but will die without poultry. They don't actually want to bite us. They only bite to test and then out of desperation. Sadly, it can take three weeks for them to die, so they wander around your home and occasionally bite you (take showers, vacuum, and change sheets to end the biting sooner). This I know from personal experience.

    The red mite is the one to NOT get in your home as it can live for 9 months with no blood meal. The literature I have read written by extension specialists (scientists) say that they will NOT live forever on humans, so your home would eventually be free from them. There are a few scary websites on internet that state that the red mite will live on humans indefinitely. I have to believe the specialists. These are the stories you read on internet about a bird's nest outside the window with an air conditioner unit in it, and the numerous mites invade the home. Then an exterminator comes.

    But that is the reason I always try to tell people to spray their coops with poultry protector or something to make it less friendly for bugs to live in the cracks when they dust their chickens for mites/lice.

    Dust all chickens with a tied-off sock filled with poultry dust under wings, vent area, and everywhere except the face (I turn the chicken on its back on the ground to get everywhere). Toss all shavings in the coop. Repeat in 7 days (and keep repeating until bugs are gone). Don't forget to spray the coop. They sell liquid permethrin you can dilute. I try to use poultry protector a lot to be less toxic as I don't have red mites.

    DE is a preventative, and I don't recommend it for an active infestation. Mites can kill chickens.

    By the way, DON'T use permethrin dust or spray inside your home!!! You won't need to treat your home as far as I know as they will die anyway. But vacuuming helps enormously. As does changing clothes/sheets/washing them.

    If you feel at any point (ever) that you have a home infestation with bugs always contact a professional exterminator.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  3. willowbranchfarm

    willowbranchfarm Chicken Boots

    Oct 3, 2011
    My Coop
    Here an articla I wrote on them.

    Mites & Lice! Treatment and Prevention

    A parasite is any living thing that lives off another living thing. External parasites can either suck blood or eat feathers. Chickens with bad infestations become thin, don’t lay eggs well, and have reduced fertility. With really bad infestations your birds may die. Chickens can get anemia from these bugs. Hens, to some extent can treat themselves by dust bathing. Dust bathing is really good for your chickens. It dislodges the parasites and also helps get dirt and oils off of them. Make sure your chickens have an area to dust bath and if they don’t, put a big pan filled with sand in their pen. Inspect your hens regularly for signs of parasites.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Pictures by cheeka

    Parasite symptoms: (All of these symptoms don’t apply to every parasite listed)

    • Itchiness
    • Bare patches
    • Lots of scratching
    • Loss of weight
    • Diarrhea
    • Symptoms of paralysis
    • Swollen legs with scales standing up
    • Laying slows or stops
    • Sitting hunched up with ruffled feathers
    • Reduced fertility
    • Listless

    Here is a picture of a mite infestation.
    Picture by bluebee

    Mites are spider like creatures. These bugs are under 1/25 of an inch in their length. Most are microscopic (can’t be seen with our eyes). They usually live off of blood, tissue cells, or feathers. They can be spread by contaminated shoes, other chickens, equipment, clothing, etc. Mites aren’t always on the chicken; some actually spend a good amount of time off the bird. Here are some common mites.

    Red Mites
    This mite has eight legs and crawls on the chickens during the night to feed on their blood. Red mites are gray until they eat, after filling up with blood they turn red. Found in tiny cracks, crevices, or in nesting boxes, these can actually kill chickens. Also check under the perches for red mites. Living up to one year without feeding on hens, take care to treat the birds multiple times. When using a broody hen, inspect the nest she will be brooding in very carefully, making sure to check every crack for these mites. Birds may not go up at night if the infestation is bad. In hot weather the population of red mites really increases. A single female can lay up to 120,000 eggs. Check your birds at night for red mites. They will be crawling around on perches and on your birds. They can bite humans if the infestation is really bad. These horrible little bugs can carry New Castle disease, Fowl Cholera, and Fowl Pox.

    Scaly Leg Mites
    Scaly leg mites are small mites that burrow under the scales on chickens legs. They spread very slowly from bird to bird. If the legs are seriously affected, the scales will be lifted and under the scale it will be inflamed and bleeding. If it goes unnoticed for a while, the legs will have little white encrustations (crusts) between the scales. Remove these but only after soaking and several treatment of petroleum jelly or else they will bleed. Only really bad infestations cripple the bird. An easy treatment is Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) on the legs. This will smother the mites.

    Notice the raised scales.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Pictures by TimBaumann

    Northern Fowl Mites
    A Northern mite is the most serious external parasite. It shows itself as damp patches on feathers, there will be many crawling around on the patches which occur in the neck feathers and vent feathers. The wings and tail affected by these birds looked like they have been chewed on. They also cause scabby skin and darkened feathers around vent. You may also see them (in bad infestation) crawling around on egg in nesting boxes. These mites multiply very quickly, so act fast with treatment. Take all the chickens out and put them in a different coop for a while. After a couple weeks in an unoccupied coop, these mites will die. Clean the hen house very well, making sure to get every corner. Treat your chickens every week until the mites are gone. Killing these mites is hard but not impossible. Chickens should not be put back in the infected coop until the coop has had time to air out from all the powders/sprays. Northern fowl mites are hard to control, don’t give up.

    Feather Mites
    These mites live on the feathers and eat the plumage. The damage to the base of the feather is very bad and ruins the feathers. Thankfully, they are not common in North America. Some types of feather mites cause so much irritation that the birds pull out and scratch their feathers in order to get relief.

    Chigger Mites
    Chigger mites are red and infest the skin of chickens as well as humans. They leave small itchy red spots where they have been feeding. These mites can be straw colored and are very small. The immature chiggers are the ones that feed on blood. Chiggers are commonly found under the wings, on the breast, and legs. When feeding chiggers inject poisonous saliva that liquefies the skin, they then feed off of that. It then causes really itchy skin, swelling, and scabs. Young birds stop eating, drinking, and may die. I’ve been bit by a few chiggers before and it really itches.

    These pests are either blood sucking or chewing parasites. But chicken lice only eat feathers or shedding skin. Lice vary in size and shape length is 1/25 to ¼ inch. Most are yellow or straw colored. They are very hard to see on white chickens but easy on dark. Luckily, lice die quickly when off of chickens. They’re many types of lice that can be seen, head, body, and feather lice. By grooming chickens can keep lice at a minimum. So debeaked birds or overgrown beaked birds are more likely at risk for lice. Because lice bite chickens, they pull their own feathers out to try and make the irritation stop. Chickens lay poorly and have low fertility when infected with lice. They are spread through contact with other contaminated birds. You can see lice crawling around on the chickens skin and vent. Louse eggs will be clumped on the feather shaft.

    Here are lice eggs around the feather shaft.

    Picture by demerson
    Body Louse
    Body lice chew through the skin into growing quills to get to the blood. You will find scabs on skin and light eggs. Body lice move really fast so it may be hard to see when you check your birds.

    Head Louse
    This is the most serious louse pest. They are very harsh on young birds and they spread from the hen to her chicks. Seriously infected chicks will die.

    Common Fowl Louse
    These are the most common louse. Because parasites itch, feathers are picked and scratched, making bare patches. They reproduce rapidly laying groups of eggs called nits.

    A good treatment for mites and lice wood ash for your chickens to dust bath in. Sevin Dust I found out has been banned for use on poultry. There are other treatments like poultry sprays. Treat by spraying on the chicken and on the roosts, nesting boxes, everything. I use Garden & Poultry dust to help prevent (not treat) mites and lice. They’re many other treatments for these parasites. Covering the nits in petroleum jelly prevents them from hatching and they then fall off.

    Always keep your chicken coops clean and dry. Use dust like Garden & Poultry dust to prevent these parasites. Make sure your chickens have a place to dust bath. Regularly check your chickens for these parasites (at night will be easier because you won’t have to catch them).

    If you have any question please feel free to ask.

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