Tiny bugs that look like fleas on dead chicken.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Scarlit, Mar 26, 2017.

  1. Scarlit

    Scarlit Out Of The Brooder

    May 31, 2015
    Texas, United States
    Hey, so I'm not sure if this is the right place or not, apologizes if it's not.

    A few days ago one of my silkies went missing. I couldn't find the body anywhere, thought a coyote or something took off with it. Well, yesterday I went walking in the woods behind my home and there was the chicken! All torn apart. I'm wearing light colored pants, so very quickly I notice they're covered in dozens of these tiny black/brown bugs and the bugs are on the chicken too. Freak out, get as many as I can off me, before going inside the house, throw my clothes in the wash and take a shower.
    Later on, go back to the barn. No bugs crawling on me. Alright, just don't go near the dead chicken. Well, one of my cats comes bounding out of the woods and runs over to me, and I get some more of these bugs on me again!
    I tried looking it up, but couldn't really find any definitive answer to what these are. They're pretty tiny, but not super tiny, you can see them fairly easily like fleas. Some of them are black and shaped more like a sort of ant, but most of these guys look like fleas, brown and shaped like them. They bite and it's pretty itchy. They also jump. None of my chickens have mites and the coop also appears clean of them. My cats are UTD on flea medicine. I want to say fleas, but from what I could find, fleas leave the body pretty quickly once it's dead.
    Does anyone know what these might be? Do I need to worry about them infecting my flock? Do I need to worry about them taking over my home? Where did they come from? What should I or can I put on the cats? If these guys are some kind of like carrion eater, how long should I expect them to stay around the dead bird until it's safe to go near it or the cats? Is there anything I can put on/around the dead bird to kill them?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  2. Minnowey

    Minnowey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 30, 2016
    Northwest Oregon
    Something like this happened to me a few years back. I'm not sure if it's the same thing, but my hens would die overnight. In the morning, they would be covered with similar sounding bugs. It happened to 5 of my hens over a course of 2 weeks. After that, I never saw the bugs again.
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Sounds like mites or lice to me, and the birds can die of blood loss anemia. Go out at night with a flashlight and really examine several birds all over, looking for small insects. If you find any, on any bird, treat the flock and pen, preferably with permethrin spray. UGH! Mary

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