Three week old chicks may have picked up bugs from coop/other hens?


9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
We got a new flock of chicks three weeks ago. Until this morning they have been in a large tupperware bin. This week I cleaned out the coop that has our current flock (which are a year old). I did not spray or wash with insecticed or anything else. Now I regret that. I put new bedding in, and my husband built a wire mesh divider in the coop to keep the little girls seperate from the big girls. This evening we noticed that the birds (a mix of White Leghorns, Auraconas and Rhode Island Reds) are pecking at the feathers and constantly preening. We are concerned that they picked up some kind of bug. What should we do?

Thanks for any help,


9 Years
Apr 9, 2010
San Juan Islands, WA state
This works better with 2 people...after dark go out to the coop with a flashlight. One person should pick up an adult chicken (not the chicks) and turn it over onto it's back. The other person then uses the flashlight to shine on the vent area and separate the feathers. If there are bugs, you'll see them on the skin running away from the light. If you don't see live bugs, look for eggs. Lice lay eggs in whitish clusters at the base of the feathers. Mites eggs and excrement looks more like fine dirt on the feathers - like fine grind espresso coffee grounds. If you see no sign of lice or mites on the adult, you can be fairly certain that the chicks are not infested. Hopefully, what you are seeing is the young ones going through the extra preening because they are rapidly getting their new feathers and losing their down.

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