Pest or just paranoied???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by rebeccakeesee, May 29, 2008.

  1. rebeccakeesee

    rebeccakeesee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    I have a small flock of 5. 2 point of lay pullets. 3 chicks bout 10 weeks.
    All of my girls seem to be itching alot however I cant find a single bug on any of them. I bought the lice powder and sprinkled it around their home as well as in all their bathing spots.
    Laverne , my second in command , A large production red. Her feathers look ratty and I am finding them around the chicken pen alot it seems.(should be to young for a molt, right?) I am sure the feathers are hers because My head hen Shirley is a Black Star. I spend alot of time with my birds and have not seen any plucking by them.
    Lavernes face lacks the brillant red that Shirley is currently wearing.
    Neither girl has started to lay yeat.
    Do you think I am just overly concerned?
    HELP.....
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It does sound like some kind of skin parasites doesn't it. How have you been checking them? Lice are relatively slow moving, but mites are super frisky and can positively gallop off behind feathers almost as quick as your eyes can focus. Two best ways I know of to look for mites:

    First way is to pick the chicken up and hold it securely, then blow into its feathers to part them with the puff of air and look at the skin as you do it. Try it at the back of the neck, sides of breast, even around the rump if the chicken will calmly let you hold her in a position so you can do that. If you see ANY mites, then there you go. They are size of a pinhead or smaller, and may look brownish, dark grayish or reddish, depending.

    The second method is more infallible but messier: get a dishpan full of warm water. Wrap an old men's sleeveless undershirt or equivalent small stretchy rag around the wing part of the chicken's body to help you restrain it. Put chicken in water and give it a good soak, 'up to the waterline' you'd say if it were a boat, for a couple minutes or til you and/or the chicken have had enough. Towel-dry chicken; do this on a warm sunny day so it can finish drying naturally without catching cold, or put in a cage under a heatlamp for a few hrs if you are super careful. Then look in the 'bathtub' for little specks floating ont he surface or (especially) forming a 'ring around the bathtub'. If you see a bunch of identical-sized specks like little rounded pieces of ground pepper, them's mites.

    It might also be worth painting an anti-mite kinda thing on the roost, with especial attention to the undersides and the crevices where the roost bar meets the walls (or whatever it's mounted on). I believe there are proprietary things you can use, or just a good thick coating of oil.

    (edited to add: I'm not clear from your post, have you dusted the birds directly? It would be definitely worthwhile, even if you just *suspect* mites/lice)

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  3. rebeccakeesee

    rebeccakeesee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    I have looked them over More than once But get the feeling Your probably right Laverne Probably brought them Cause she shows the worst symptoms. I had not dusted them directly because I just now got the older two to come to me and eat from my hand. Didnt want to rough them up by holding them upside down and dusting them all over.(Its what the guy at the feed store said to do) But I will suck it up and dust them today. [​IMG] I am ready for her to feel better. Not to mention my hubby keeps teasing be about having veggies that wont grow(Tomatoes are just now flowering) And chickens that dont lay. [​IMG]
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:You might try doing it at night after they go to roost... they'll be easier to get hold of, and who knows maybe they won't realize it was you that did it [​IMG] It needn't really be that traumatic -- I just kind of puff DE 'against the grain' of their feathers, they aren't super wild about it but they aren't freaked out and even without holding them upside down I've done pretty good business against mites that way.

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  5. rebeccakeesee

    rebeccakeesee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    Thanks for all the advice. I grabbed Laverne today and held her upside down by her two leggs to get a good look at her vent and dust her best I could. I put her down as nicly as possable. She didnt seem to mind at all. She didnt even flap her wings or struggle. I was very surprised. Feathers were falling out as I did this. [​IMG] I will do the rest and let yall know what happens in a few days. Thanks again.
     
  6. panner123

    panner123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    You might want to get some D E. This seems to work the best for me. Twice per month I dust all the coops real good and each time I clean the nest boxes I add some to them. When I dust the chickens I use a paint brush to apply the D E. The brush is a 3 " very soft one. Most of the chickens don't mind his way of applying the D E. Using the brush you can get in under the wings and places you can't any other way. It is also alot easier on you.
     
  7. rebeccakeesee

    rebeccakeesee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2008
    So I Went into the hen house and had My little one guard the door Wile I Took um one at a time and looked um over and Dusted belly side fully with my gloved hand then flipped them and did the back side. All the extra fell to the pen floor and As a whole they werent to shook up by the end. Went good I think and I Got to give each girl a good look over.
    Thanks for all the advice From the Chicken experts out there. Hopefully I will Start getting eggs soon....[​IMG] But I wont hold my breath...[​IMG][​IMG]
     

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