Strange Question on mites, lice and worms... not a emergency

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by sune42, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. sune42

    sune42 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2009
    Northern Kentucky
    I have read several books and it wasn't until Storey's Guide to Chickens or whatever it is, that I got a lot of information on parasites. This has really kinda grossed me out. So my question is, how common are the mites, lice and various worms? (the worms are the worst for me) I live in a suburban area, and plan on having a fenced run for my chicks. I know there are slugs and worms at my house.( I was looking forward to them eating the slugs, we were gonna do 'field trips' to the front garden just for that.) Is it hard to do preventive medicine for these things, or should I only when there is a problem?



    eta -- I had to fix the spelling in the title. It was bugging me
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2009
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's a difficult question to answer. I wondered too before getting my flock and because of heavy predation I went with a 'closed flock', roofed run and all. I also use food-grade diatomaceous earth as a preventive in bedding, nests and run. So far *fingers crossed*, no problems. I think the answer to your question is as varied as the options for housekeeping of chickens and how common the parasites are in your neighbourhood. [​IMG]
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    The only "preventative" I would recommend is what LynneP is doing with the DE. Also, make sure they have a place to take a dust bath, whether or not you add DE. Unless you totally cover their coop and run with litter, they will find a place to take a dust bath.

    In my opinion, anything else you might do is either going to be unhealthy for the chickens and /or you or possibly contribute to the development of a superbacteria. And if you worm, you cannot eat the eggs for a certain time period.

    Certain mites and lice are carried by wild birds. You chickens will be exposed. LynneP or someone may correct me, but I don't think DE will totally prevent an infestation. It reduces the likelyhood. Still my opinion, but I believe you identify which infestation it is and give the specific required treatment. There are different mites and worms and the treatment is different for different mites or worms.
  4. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    Northern California
    Mites are very common, lice are less common but still very prevalent. Worms are common, but only problematic when their numbers get too high. All these parasites are more common in a free range situation. I treat for mites tiwce monthly, but I only treat for worms when I have a problem. In small numbers, these parasites are to be expected. Chickens will almost always have some kind of worm inside of them, and they may have a few mites/lice too. I wouldn't call it a symbiotic relationship, but I might say they live in harmony most of the time when their numbers are low. In your case, I'd dust your birds monthly and treat for worms yearly. You should be ok doing that.
  5. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Parasites- internal and external are very very common. If wild birds are around, your chickens will eventually get lice or mites. If your birds have access to dirt, your chickens will eventually get worms. If they free range or you are actively giving them bugs/snails ect (think secondary hosts), they will get worms faster. If the flock is closed- parasites will eventually get in, and the parasite exposure will rise as the egs contaminate the environment and build up in the top layer of dirt. Some people treat as they see a problem, some people treat on a regular basis to prevent a problem. You will have to decide if you are a prevention person or not. There are no labeled meds for laying hens for treating internal parasites, so all use is off label, though people do it anyway. Poultry dust (pyrethrins) is labeled for some external parasites like lice.
  6. sune42

    sune42 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 13, 2009
    Northern Kentucky
    Thanks for all the replies. I am trying to digest all of this. The DE, it kills all kinds of soft things, so it will kill eggs or larva in the run, yes? A little sprinkle once a week or so... I guess I just didn't think about this kind of thing. Worms really gross me out. But, this is why I am reading all I can before I order chicks.

    thanks again
  7. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    DE kills with tiny, tiny sharp edges which scratch the soft body of the worm or whatever, causing it to dehydrate. Or so I have read.

    My hens live in a dirt floor coop and free range in my yard and the woods. I have dogs. I put DE (fossil flour) in the feed and sprinkle it around the coop. I also dust the birds on their fuzzy butts and under the wings with it once a month or so. They dust bathe regularly. At one point I felt like there were mites on them and in the coop because I kept feeling like fleas were landing on me, so I treated the birds and coop with pyrethrin dust. (No, they don't infest humans.) I never saw mites on the birds, or feather loss, or anything like that to indicate they were actually in trouble. I have never seen any reason to treat for worms or mites other than this.

    People here talk of seeing worms in the chicken poo. They say it is an inexpensive test to take the poo to a vet and have it tested for worms.

    Of course, this is just my experience.

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