Poultry lice!


Not Dutch!
11 Years
Apr 1, 2008
The nine-year-old went out a few days ago and reported that she saw two kinds of bugs crawling on the chickens. One kind was an off-white color, and... she forgets the rest. When I went out I only saw the white (straw-colored) ones, and I identified them as poultry lice. Most of the birds (a few of them may have gotten mixed-up) were dusted with food-grade DE. I have not seen a louse since, but will they come back?
I'm not an expert and am currently battling lice on my chickens right now but here goes. First of all, they won't bite your or transfer to you in any way. They are chicken lice, a different type of lice than people get! Pick up the birds, preferably after dark when they're more relaxed and check them over. Check the vent area, under wings, right down at the base of the feathers. Lice make egg clusters at the base of the feathers that look like q-tips, mites leave dark icky stuff around the vent that looks like dirt. If you find either you'll need to treat with Sevin dust or Permethrin spray or dip. Search for lice on the forum and there will be lots of good advice. Also, DE is supposed to be a good preventive but once you have an infestation you usually have to use something with a bit more kick. Here are some links to help you figure out what you're dealing with.

I am currently battling lice with my chickens as well. I have dusted them with poultry dust, but only around the vent, under the wings, etc. I can see the lice crawling on their heads though. I guess I need to put on some gloves and carefully dust around their necks and heads? I don't want to get it in their eyes, but you can see them crawling around the eyeballs!!!
Oops, forgot to answer your question. It's my understanding that you have to redust in about 10 days to get the new lice that hatch from the eggs.

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