We have lice in some of the chickens - help

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by calicokat, Jul 29, 2010.

  1. calicokat

    calicokat Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    Well, when we took our birds to the fair, one of them was found to have lice. They tell me it's usually around their vent, and belly -- but this guy had it in his muff (He's a bantum D'ucle). It looks like clumps of salt that are stuck at the base of his feather shafts, kinda hard to see.



    One of the guys over the chicken building at the fair sprayed him with something (don't know what, I couldn't see the label well) all over his belly and vent -- I pointed out that wasn't where it was, and he hit him around the face once.

    Brought bird home and he was just "off" for a couple of days -- falling down, balance issues, lethargic, etc. Finally decided that a combination of the heat and spray was causing it, and probably about to kill him! Gave him a good bath - noticed that the lice hadn't abated at all *grr* - and kept him in the basement for a few hours to cool off.

    Next day, got Permethrin at Rural King, that was what was reccomended. Mixed it up according to directions and dunked bird, working the water into his feathers esp. around his muff. It's now 4 or 5 days later and not only does he still have them, it's worse! The clumps were the size of a kernal of corn, now more like a raisin. And the three hens he hangs out with have them too. They are polish and have them in their little muffs just like him - not anywhere else.

    SOOOO, what should I be doing to stop and treat this, 'cause what I'm doing isn't cutting it. Also, do I need to do something to the coop?
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2010

  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Okay, get human lice shampoo (I would have said dog flea/tick, but it sounds like you probably need somethign stronger) and follow label directions. Do realize that the egg nests are not going to go away overnight. They are stuck like glue to the feathers. A molt is what is needed, although some say that Poultry Protector helps loosen the "glue." Haven't even used it, and the ingredient list didn't seem to contain any miracles, so I didn't purchase it.

    Yes, you need to treat the coop. Dispose of all bedding--bag and haul to dump or burn; do not use in compost. Thoroughly wash down everything, then thoroughly spray all surfaces with a premises spray, preferably one that claims to also kill eggs and larvae, and/or contains a growth regulator. When dry, apply new, kiln-dried bedding.

    Before putting birds back in, check each one for mites/lice, and bathe as necessary.
  3. calicokat

    calicokat Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    ok, 2 more questions: will the chickens need to be re-bathed, say in a few days, or is this a one shot deal (please say once, we have 20 chickens [​IMG])

    and can I mix up the Permithren and use it to spray down the coop? It did give the dilution ratio to use as a spray.

    Oh, and one more - do I need to quarentine the affected birds? If yes, do I quarentine them alone (each in their own cat crate), or just as a group away from the other birds (all in one large dog kennel)? [​IMG]
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Once treated you should not need to quarantine; if you choose to do so, I would keep the ones either together or individually whichever is easiest for you. Whether you need to re-treat depends on the particular shampoo you use. I use a flea/tick shampoo that remains effective for a month.
  5. vpeterson

    vpeterson Songster

    Going through this myself. I spent yesterday removing all of the bedding, cleaning with a disenfectant and then fogging the coop with adam flea and tick spray for the house (not pet). Put a layer of DE on the floor and new bedding on top of that. I then sprinkled poultry dust over the top. All of the birds were dusted with the poultry dust with extra into their beards because that is where I am finding all of the nits. I am also plucking the nit with the feather out of the beard. I will repeat dusting the birds in 10 days. I also sprinkled poultry dust in the run. I hope this works!
  6. calicokat

    calicokat Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    I'm pleased to report that so far it looks like only the 4 birds, [​IMG] I have a few more to check, but I checked one from each of the groups that hang out together, and found nothing so far. We used Nix on the four of them and combed out most of the clumps. I felt bad because the big clumps took the feather out when I combed them too - and I know that plucking feathers hurts, poor babies. I went ahead and kept the D'ucle in a crate (he's been crated about a week and a half with this already) but kept the 3 polish gals in the flock.

    Tonight is the coop. UGH. And to complicate it just a tad . . . . . . I have a broody sitting in the nest boxes. Our first broody was all peaches and cream, nice as could be. I wondered what everyone was talking about with these broodies who were agressive and protective - growling, snapping at you, etc. . . . . . . . well, now I know [​IMG]

    vpeterson - fogging is a great idea, I may go that route once we get all the bedding out. How many chickens are in your flock? I'm dealing with 22 - seven large fowl, 9 chicks (11 weeks old), 4 teenagers (6 months old) and two meaties.
  7. xyresicchick

    xyresicchick Songster

    Mar 5, 2010
    Providence, RI
    on the matter of the feather being pulled out. yes... ouch! BUT

    if i were a chicken, i would rather have a few less feathers than lice.

    i know i'd rather have a bald spot on my head than lice.... i work as a nanny, and if the kids i watch ever get lice, i shave my head. it works out great. lice are gross, and make you feel really uncomfortable. i hate lice.

  8. CMV

    CMV Flock Mistress

    Apr 15, 2009
    I hate to rain on your parade, but if even one bird has lice then they all likely have lice. I would treat the whole flock if I were you. You obviously have a heavy lice load on certain birds, but I wouldn't be surprised if others have them and it just isn't noticeable yet.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
  9. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    Calico Please PM me about a swap!
  10. tobin123

    tobin123 Songster

    Mar 4, 2009
    Try giving them a vinegar bath and gently rub it into their feathers

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