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Possible case of lice or mites

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by muircheartaigh, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. muircheartaigh

    muircheartaigh Chirping

    Hi all,
    Tonight I started to inspect my bird's vents and plumage to discern who is laying and who isn't. Upon inspection, I found atleast a dozen mm size bugs around her cloaca, which was dry and had no horizontal slit. How do I treat this? Can I use a delousing agent from a pharmacy? Do I apply directly to the tail end of the bird? I'm located in the Canadian atlantic provinces so if anyone can comment on locations to buy a delousing powder that would be much appreciated.

  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens


    Here is my routine for getting rid of mites (poultry dust is available at the feed store in the US)- see my post in the thread above for what I do.

    Here in the US we use permethrin poultry dust. Sevin dust is great but is no longer labeled for use in poultry here. In Canada it may still be labeled for poultry- I don't know.

    DE is a preventative at best. Also woodstove ashes are a nice preventative. You can set up a dusting box for them (take care that you don't put live ashes in a wooden box though) with sand, DE, ashes, and some dirt. Or just DE, or just ashes. It will help keep them free of parasites after you treat.
  3. muircheartaigh

    muircheartaigh Chirping

    Thank you CAS for your very informative reply. Prior to leaving for school today, I stopped in to check on the birds water and to inspect the tissue beneath the wings for mite/lice eggs and I found some under the wing of one of my more sickly birds. I'm going to go to the feedstore to buy some delousing powder. Hopefully, they have the permethrin poultry dust that you've recommended. As a preventative measure i'm going to add a sandbox dust bath area with wood ashes, DE, and sand for them to use in their run.

    How do you treat? Do you powder the vent and area beneath the wings? Can this powder damage the respiratory tract? In other words, is the dust harmful to birds or humans if inhaled? Ideally, I'd like to find an organic product as we are on our way to transitioning into organic production.

    Thanks again!
  4. muircheartaigh

    muircheartaigh Chirping

    Well, I've gone ahead and bought some permethrin liquid (human lice treatment) and i'm going to give that a whirl tonight. The pharmacist, a good friend of mine, said the liquid has the same method of action on poultry lice as human head lice. The only issue would be the time and energy involved in bathing and applying the liquid to the bird's body. Given that i've only found lice/mites on two of the birds in my coop out of a possible 18 I'll start with a treatment on the two birds. If I notice upon further inspection that the problem has spread I'll go ahead and purchase some permethrin poultry dust from the co-op in nearby Bathurst, NB. What is the best way to bathe a bird? Slow sprinkle with a shower head? I don't want to give any undue stress to the bird.

    If at first you don't succeed, well do it the right way in the first place I suppose.
  5. muircheartaigh

    muircheartaigh Chirping

    For anyone reading this thread, I can vouch for the effectiveness of permethrin liquid. My "filthy" bug ridden little RIR beauty really enjoyed the bath. For the first time since purchasing her she's shown life in her eyes and behaviors. My 5 year old son and I remarked at hernew found, albeit temporary perhaps, joie de vivre. The water and permethrin took the caked manure and bugs down the drain. We waited 12 minites before giving her a thorough rinse, which resulted in little complaint until we turned her belly up to get her abdomen. Ideally, I would have liked the poultry dust and as a precaution i'm going to do the whole flock. The health of the birds really is the primary goal in animal husbandry as I see it. Now to contact the farmer who sold her to me to see how he missed her in his inspection prior to selling her to me. Live and learn I suppose. My son is a budding animal behaviorist as he spent time observing and commenting in her status. She'll spend the night by the wood stove drying off and i'll return her to the flock in the morning before going round two with my barred rock. Goodnight all.
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Here is a copy and paste from another post of mine on another thread:

    "The Northern Fowl Mite has made me quite miserable in my home on several occasions. I wasn't able to identify the bug until I took a bath and they floated up dead. They seem to be invisible until then. I have read a report by a university entomologist stating that despite popular reports there is no evidence of bird mites (red mite or N. Fowl Mite) being able to survive off human blood (or breed). Unfortunately the NFM can live for 3 weeks with no poultry blood meal, and the red mite can live for 9 months with no poultry blood meal. So if you collect numerous mites in the home they can make a human quite upset. Here is how I got rid of them (and keep them gone):

    Vacuum home well. Change and wash sheets.

    Take clothes off and place in plastic bag- keep in garage or wash right away after doing chicken chores. Jump in shower right away. I do this routinely now after chicken chores. This keeps mites out of the home while you are killing them off with the poultry dust, and if there are just a few in the coop or on the birds they are much less likely to make their way inside the home.

    I use poultry dust on the birds: place bird on back on ground - hold onto feet with one hand and use a tied-off sock to dust under wings, vent area. Turn chicken over. Dust neck and back. Not face. Then get the next chicken. Repeat this every 7 days until bugs are gone. With a severe infestation you might need to do this three times, 7 days apart.

    Toss all shavings in coop- including nest boxes (very important!!!!). If I don't change nest box shavings they come right back.

    Spray coop with permethrin or ravap spray (whatever is poultry approved at the time). Get all crevices if possible and under roosts. This will kill the red mite, which comes out at night and hides in the crevices during the day. The NFM lives on the bird but is found in nesting material and RUNS onto you- up your arms when collecting eggs.

    I was doing this treatment every 4 months and it was working but now must do it even more frequently, say every 2 months. If you don't repeat the treatment they come right back. It is just part of chicken keeping and is why I don't keep a huge flock anymore, since I have to dust everybody.

    You can set up a dusting box for them and put the poultry dust in, but they do eat it. I don't want that in my eggs, so I do it manually. I give them woodstove ashes when available and that helps."
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
    2 people like this.
  7. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Yes the powder is harmful to inhale, for birds and humans. But mites can kill chickens. DE, sand, woodstove ashes, and some dirt mixed together make a wonderful dust bath for them when you aren't dealing with thousands of bugs on them at the time. I really like Poultry Protector as a preventative also, but it didn't treat an infestation with a quick little spray under each wing and at the vent. Perhaps a dip in it is possible??

  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    if you are a silkie lover this is a classic for the pics in the thread :)

    It is always advisable to treat the whole flock if possible when one of them comes down with a mite or lice infestation.
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Congratulations on the bath! Chickens LOVE baths.
  10. muircheartaigh

    muircheartaigh Chirping

    Once I get my hands on some poultry dust I will treat the whole flock. Sadly the nearest poultry supply store is an hour away.

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