The girls look itchy

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In the Brooder
12 Years
Jun 29, 2007
As we are coming out of our deep freeze here in Ontario, Canada, I've noticed the girls are scratching themselves a lot. They look real itchy. They haven't been able to have a sand bath since the Fall. Could that be the problem?

I've also noticed lots of digging down deep in their wood chip lined run. I am thinking that they are finding bugs or larvae. Yum!

Thx. for responding. Have your girls had lice.

I've never seen lice. Should it be quite visible?

And if it is, what could I do about it? Or is it free food
Wait until tonight. Go out with a flashlight and turn up some butts. Look around the vent area and under belly. If they have lice or mights you'll see white-ish clear little bugs moving on the skin.

You can use food grade DE and sevin dust. Cut off a pantyhose foot and put in some dust. Tie it off so it stays closed but not in a knot you can't reopen.

Use it like a powder puff and powder them up. Try not to make it too dusty. It is not good for them or you to breath it in.

Repeat in about a week.

You would also want to treat the hen house and coop by putting it out in fresh bedding too.
Yes, mine did have lice. I had no idea until I saw one on an egg! I parted the feathers on a hen's rear and saw one run. They are small flesh coloured creatures and can run fast so they are not easy to see.
My one hen would look carefully at the other and then pull out a feather and eat it. I think that this habit started because she could see a louse.
Miss P's advice is good. I got rid of mine with some dog flea powder containing permethrin. The treatment needs repeating a week or so later when the next batch of eggs hatch.
Another recommended method is to give the birds a bath if you can keep them warm whilst they dry out. This avoids the use of pesticides.
I did a search on the web and found lots of useful information about the habits of and cures for these parasites.
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