Poultry lice and scaly leg mites help please.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by calamarie, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. calamarie

    calamarie In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2015
    ok sorry if this post is long :-(. I have done a tone of reading lately trying to find the easiest solution and information for these issues, but I get sooo much conflicting information its hard to know what to do. SO I am looking for practical help from those that have had experience with these things, and taking into consideration my flock and set up.

    My flock of 17 started looking mangy, and not super healthy, they are 18mo or so and some are molting, but was told to look for lice and mites. I examined my flock and found that 2-3 of them had poultry lice, I can see the eggs on the feather shaft and the lice scrambling around not super infested just below their vent. I have learned and read that poultry lice live out their life cycle on the host, not the same as human lice which is super contagious and gets everyone infested. SO do I only treat the hens who actually have the lice assuming it is not spreading to the others since I am not seeing signs on all the hens? Other than it being gross what are the risks or issues with the hens having lice? Also I have heard that the lice will die off the host so the whole coop strip and treat isn't as big of a deal as it would be with mites.

    Mites- I have tried to check for mites but to my understanding they are microscopic and really hard to get rid of.....I have checked all my hens and aside from the lice ones I do not see any scabbing or anything their skin and feathers look healthy, and I assume with mites I would see signs of irritation? Now I do have a Roo who has scaly leg mites, again I have learned that these mites live out their life only on the leg of their host, so again is this something I need to treat the whole flock for or just the roo who has it? AND then there is the whole slew of treatments I don't even know where to start.

    As far as treatment goes, I have Permethrin that I plan to spray on the birds, but the instructions are fairly vague just says spray the poultry coop, roost etc.

    Are these bugs going to be a constant battle? This is my first flock of my own. I grew up having hens but was a kid and didn't pay the attention to them that I do my own flock i see daily :). Thanks for the help and reading my log post!
  2. SIMZ

    SIMZ Crowing

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    Bugs are so gross - but are fairly easy to treat for the most part - especially lice. But I suggest going straight for permithrin or a pesticide for poultry pests to knock them out. The lice are a nuisance (at best) to the hens and can cause stress and a decrease in laying. It's best to treat them.

    The permithrin should have dilution instructions on the bottle. It will kill both lice and mites. Treat them all at first. I like to go in after dark when they're roosting and just spray their vents and under the wings. Then re-treat in 5-7 days. Check them all again in another 5-7 days to make sure you don't see them anymore. You'll also be able to see the mites easily in the dark by shining a flashlight on their vent area - they'll be little dark spots crawling around.

    You may have to keep on top of treating infected hens to control the mites or lice or you may not have another problem. I think it depends on your situation. We struggle with mites and have to keep on top of it.

    Scaly Leg Mite is another issue and not as urgent as mice and lice. I've found soaking the legs in Epsom Salt and then treating with stinky Nu-Stock or Bag Balm eventually does the trick. For that I only treat the chickens that have it. But please double check that because I'm simply going from memory and may not be accurate on Scaly Leg Mite.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2016
  3. ccrow

    ccrow Songster

    May 6, 2010
    Southern Maine
    Keep in mind that wild birds can have mites, so it's likely to be a recurring problem. I'm dealing with them too... I've been using Orange Guard in the coop, and while I'm sure it's not as effective as permethrin, I do see a difference. As far as scaly leg goes, I've treated pet budgies successfully with Vaseline; it smothers them and is non toxic. You would just have to apply it every day or two for awhile- only you know if your roo will cooperate;-)
  4. calamarie

    calamarie In the Brooder

    Mar 15, 2015
    sorry it took so long to get back, thank you for the simple run down :)! helped put me at ease and get some things done, I recently remodeled and expanded the coop which is going to make it much easier for me to keep up on keeping it clean, and bug free. I sprayed the whole inside with premethrin, and then am planning to treat the chickens soon once I can get my DH to help me at night to get them sprayed, i was considering spraying them while they are on their roosts and just getting their vent area and hope that does the trick but I am sure its better to grab them and be able to get good coverage under wings and around their vent.

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