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Persistent lice

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mamak, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. mamak

    mamak New Egg

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    Oct 8, 2009
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    I raised laying hens several years ago and have just gotten back into it. If only I had found you BEFORE getting them. The extent of the problems I ever had previously were massacres by raccoons or possoms.

    I purchased 11 White Rock hens and 1 rooster of approx 20 weeks age about a month ago from a gal that also had ducks and turkeys all in the same large uncovered pen. I brought them all home to a coop that had been unused for about 10 years and was freshly cleaned, dusted with Stall Dry and new pine shavings put down for bedding. While I did not inspect for parasites prior to bringing them home (didn't know there was such a thing prior to this), they all appeared clean and healthy. After watching them for a few days, something seemed not right. I was able to catch one of the girls and found lice with no evidence of mites. After spending hours searching BYC, we cleaned out all the shavings, dusted everybody with poultry dust, relayered Stall Dry, put down new pine shavings, more Stall Dry and poultry dust. One week later, we dusted everybody again with poultry dust (with more vigor) as well as the nests (fresh shavings), roosts, and bedding. It seemed a couple had it worse than the week previous. One week after that, it seemed we were not seeing improvement so I went for the big guns and got Iver-On, a pourable 5% solution for cattle, and put drops on everyone and redusted the coop with poultry dust (permethrin). Most ended up with more than the prescribed 5 drops per bird as I had a sticky syringe. Again, I sprinkled poultry dust in the nests and on all the roosts. There is a dirt/wood ash/Stall Dry dust bath in their area. There are no other animals in the coop area nor have I ever seen evidence of any wild birds. The girls have not been outside since coming here.

    The rooster is one that has the worst infestation...his neck and rear were getting pecked clean by the hens and I had hoped the Iver-On would clear things up. While putting on the drops, I also sprayed his neck and rear with BlueKote and hoped for the best. After a few days out of town, I returned to find the girls have picked off all the purple on Gonzo and then some. I caught him today and put him into quarantine so things can grow back. Again, I have seen no evidence of mites but spots on the skin on his neck as well as the feather stumps are all black. I am wondering if this is scabbing (blood mixed with the BlueKote).

    Amidst all this, one of the hens has not grown since bringing her home (noticeably smaller than the other girls) and her comb and such have not developed. Her feet are a dark green and she appears to be blind (pupils barely perceptible). She did not stand out as being different than the others when I got her so I don't know if her problems since coming here or before.

    I am feeding Purina Layena crumbles and garden leftovers occassionally. I have a red bulb as well as a 60W white bulb on a timer for 15 hours a day. Prior to the Iver-On administration, I had done the fresh garlic in the water and cayenne on the feed.

    My apologies for the length of this but I'm trying to give as much information as I can think of. It just seems like things are not improving and my husband is about to lay an egg (just kidding but he's frustrated). What started out as my little hobby has become a really expensive production resulting in a lot of thrown out eggs. Now what?
     
  2. robin416

    robin416 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2007
    I have very good luck with Frontline spray for dogs. A short shot under each wing, under the tail and a drop on the head should knock them back. You can also pick up a premise spray that has permectrin in it. It can be diluted to use on the birds and spray the coop with.

    I've have read many complaints over the past couple of years that Sevin dust just wasn't getting the job done any more so I'm not surprised you didn't have good luck with it.
     
  3. mamak

    mamak New Egg

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    I will look for the Frontline Flea & Tick Spray. The poultry dust I used was permethrin. I thought for sure that twice with permethrin followed by Ivermectin would knock it down. The only thing left that I can think of is to spray the walls but that doesn't seem like it would help with lice. Thanks for your recommendation.
     
  4. Wild Chicken

    Wild Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 1, 2008
    West Michigan
    I get a lot of my advice about chickens from Dr. Peter Brown, he has a PhD in poultry science and has been in the field for over 40 years. He strongly recommends Frontline Flea & Tick spray. It is expensive, but you don't need to use a lot!!

    It was brought to my attention that he also has an online store, something I wasn't aware of!! [​IMG] Here is a link to his store for the spray http://www.firststatevetsupply.com/store/index.php?cPath=26_68

    I
    did have problems with lice and I did use the Sevin spray (not the dust) that you can get in your garden center for the coop. I sprayed everything....roosts, any cracks, etc. and used the Frontline for the chickens. I only had to do this one time and I have seen no evidence of the nuisances since!! [​IMG]

    Good luck and [​IMG]

    I also read to my husband your little statement about your husband laying an egg.......he laughed because we have had many of conversations about how much my "little" hobby has cost us, and the amount of eggs we have thrown in the compost pile!!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2009
  5. mamak

    mamak New Egg

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    Oct 8, 2009
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    Thanks for your input. With hatching time for lice eggs and whatever else is involved in the life cycle process, is it possible the problem is tackled but the chickens are still recovering from all the dustings and such? How do you know when you've finally gotten it (for now)? I never saw a live bug but saw the eggs and movement and the classic white egg clusters on the feathers shown on some of the posts. I hate using all these chemicals but want to give the poor girls some relief. I'll be looking locally for the Frontline...
     
  6. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    If you pluck or cut the feathers off that have the eggs, you can decrease the numbers of lice hatching over the next few weeks. If the problem is bad- treat once, then again in 2 weeks- then monthly. Pyrethrin powder (poultry dust) or sevin (carbaryl) ought to be effective. Ivermectin (which is a systemic drug) certainly should be- if you are seeing the type of lice that drink blood. Feather lice eat feathers, and will be seen farther up the feather shaft. Ivermectin won't get these guys- as they don't suck blood. The powders should be effective for the feather lice. You do need to treat several times to control/kill the lice as they hatch. You should also call/tell the seller that they have a bad lice problem- bad infestations can kill- they need to treat the rest of the birds.
     
  7. Wild Chicken

    Wild Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    West Michigan
    I was actually able to see them...I have checked periodically now every couple of days, and have seen no evidence of them....no egg clusters or the bugs.

    Good luck!!
     
  8. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

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    Newman Lake, WA
    As I posted in another thread about lice/mites, this stuff works great:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Tempe, Arizona
    With only 11 birds, I would recommend bathing them in dog flea/tick shampoo--the kind that kills the eggs and larve as well as adult lice/mites.
     
  10. mamak

    mamak New Egg

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    Oct 8, 2009
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    Thanks to all of you that have responded. I was glad to hear that a month after the first two dustings was the timetable...was afraid I had to start from scratch since I used the Ivermectin the third time around and not the dust. Unfortunately, it is too cold where I am to bathe with flea & tick shampoo. I never thought to cut out the worst of the feathers. What a good idea! Am I ok to stick with the bedding we put down after the first dusting? It is still very dry and I have been consistently sprinkling it with Stall Dry and permethrin poultry dust. The nests have been changed a couple times and consistently get dusted as well. The girls are still laying well...but I am SO ready to stop having to throw away the eggs.

    Gonzo the rooster is NOT taking well to being separated from his girls for feather regrowth but he'll be warmer for it in a few days.
     

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