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Regarding both a predator and pests

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by kristenm1975, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    The heavy snows here on Whidbey island took out the bird netting covering my hen's run. Foolishly, I believed it would be okay to wait until payday to get more netting to cover it. In the meantime, several of the hens made a habit of flying over the fence and pecking around our huge yard. I actually started covering the run last night, but ran out of materials.

    This morning I was awakened by a commotion in the yard, and, you guessed it, went out to find two of my hens had been nabbed. A huge coyote was in the woods behind our house, finishing off his meal and heading back to the coop for seconds when I came out.

    I high-tailed it out to the spot where he'd been, hoping I'd be able to save one, but all I found was a pile of feathers. I bent down to gather a few of them to save as a reminder of the sweet hens I'd lost, and saw hundreds of little black hopping bugs, tiny ones, dotting the feathers. They weren't on all of the feathers, just the particularly downy ones. I have no idea what these are, but I'm guessing they're bad.

    The only other time I've seen them was on my daughter's pet rat when it died, and they had apparently eaten the poor things eyes. What an awful shock to my little girl, and to me! So here these yucky buggers are again, and on the remains of another dead animal.

    What the hell are they and how do I get rid of them?? I went straight to the hardware store and the feed store and got stuff to cover the run, so that's not a problem anymore, and also got a bag of shavings and some DE.

    I figured I would totally clean out their nest boxes and re-line their run with piles of nice fresh shavings, and then sprinkle the nests heavily with the DE.

    I also heavily dusted the hens by waiting until they were clustered around a pile of cracked corn in the run, and then dumping it all over the circle of backs. I think they all got a good amount.

    Is this good enough do you think??
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  2. Kajunbanty

    Kajunbanty Songster

    Sep 14, 2008
    I am thinking the little bugs you saw are fleas from the coyote. They are known to be infested with fleas. Your best bet would be to catch one of your hens and have a good look at her and see if you see any of the bugs on her. Sorry for your loss and hope the bugs are just fleas from the coyotes.
  3. SussexInSeattle

    SussexInSeattle Songster

    Oct 6, 2008
    Just want to make sure that you do know that you are not supposed to breath that stuff in nor let it fly up in your eyes? If it is that bad for our own lungs and eyes, I imagine that chicken lungs and eyes are a LOT less powerful than a human beings are. I don't know that I would floof it all over my hens only because I am so afraid of the stuff when I use it, I am all masked up and goggled.

    I imagine if I wanted it on my girls that I would have to wait until roosting, mask and goggle up then apply small amounts to them on the roost, trying to be careful it wasn't a huge powder fest.

    I hope you didn't do damage to yourself or to your hens.

    Sorry you lost some of your girls.

    I also thought 'fleas' when I read about the little black bugs but fleas would not eat eyeballs. That is a very strange case. If you ever see these bugs again, try to catch some on a piece of tape and take the tape to your local groomer. They can definately let you know whether you are dealing with fleas or something else. If it's something else, they may not know what it is but they will definatly be able to tell a flea from any other bug.
  4. danischi24

    danischi24 Loves naked pets 9 Years

    Aug 17, 2008
    Use sevin dust. DE is a preventative not a cure. Sevin should kill whatever it is they have on them.

    P.S. Don't worry, I'm sure the DE didn't do any harm. Chickens have been known to fall into bins of it & be perfectly fine.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  5. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for the tips, all. I'm not familiar with sevin dust. Is it similar to DE?

    Also, regarding the DE, I sure hope I didn't do any harm either! I think it's confusing to me to read on the label that this is a food grade product, because when I think food grade, I think benign, at least to creatures larger than your average bug.

    Part of my confusion about the DE stems from the fact that I thought I remembered reading in chicken books that you should put out a large basin of the stuff so that the chickens can do their dust-bathing in it.

    I'll have to do a little more research I guess! In the meantime, thanks for your kind words and advice!
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Crowing

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    I think it's confusing to me to read on the label that this is a food grade product, because when I think food grade, I think benign, at least to creatures larger than your average bug.

    The only reason it has a "Food Grade" rating is so it can be used as an insecticide in stored grains.
    It's harmless when EATEN, but can cause respiritory problems when inhaled.

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