White stuff around neck?


In the Brooder
6 Years
Aug 7, 2013
East Bethel, MN
I just brought home a couple silkie hens and they have this odd white substance around their neck. Ideas?
Those look like lice or mite eggs. Do you see any small tannish-orange or blackish specks running around in their feathers? These would be either mites or lice. I'd treat them for external parasites immediately. Dust them with Sevin powder (10% is better than 5%), spray them with a parasite spray (like Poultry Protector), or give them a bath. If you're not going to eat their eggs, you could also spray them with Adams Flea and Tick Spray, or use Frontline for dogs and cats (1 drop placed above the vent). If you're using Sevin or another treatment that only lasts a short while (this excludes Frontline), retreat in 7-10 days. If they've been in their new quarters for any period of time, its possible that their area now has mites and lice. I'd remove the bedding from their living area, dust/spray it for mites and lice, and then replace with fresh bedding.
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Those are lice eggs. Couple of things to do right away. First, don't panic--it is totally curable, just a bit of a pain. Diatomaceous earth is a wonderful preventative, but really not strong enough once there is an infestation. Sevin has been banned for poultry use, although many use it. I recommend using Bonide Eight Insect Control and Garden Dust. It is still an insecticide, so precautions need to be taken. Wearing gloves and sticking a bandana over your mouth/nose is not a bad idea. You can get bottles with a spout, which makes dusting a bit easier. Lay the hen on her side/back to get her calm. You can even have someone else cover her head lightly with a towel to calm her. Dust throughly, making sure to get the dust under the plummage. Do near the vent, but NOT in the vent. I also (carefully) cut the egg infested feathers out and dispose of them far away. You'll also need to clean out the whole coop. A layer of Dry Stall (it contains diatomaceous earth and controls wetness/odor) on the bottom is a good idea. Also spraying or painting mineral oil over all surfaces smothers any live louse in the coop. You need to reapply the Bonide a week later. I've heard of it taking longer, but I find one or two treatments is all that it takes. Most important the first day is to treat the birds. If you've had it, save cleaning the coop till tomorrow, since the girls will be covered with the Garden Dust. This too shall pass!
The fact that they are pullets should not matter when using the dust. I have not used the Frontline, but I have a friend who does. I'd use one drop on top of the neck as opposed to the two suggested by most people because they are smaller birds. If you have the dust, use the same method as with the Eight dust written above. You can get the Eight Garden Dust get at local garden centers, Lowes, Walmart, and on line. You are not in danger of getting infected with chicken lice. Only human lice like humans.
Where do you typically buy that stuff? Is this lice I need to be concerned about getting on myself or my dogs, or is it a specific chicken lice?

Poultry lice are species-specific.

Retreat if you are using dust every 7 days times two to prevent so many eggs being laid. The 14 day treatment is important. I have not dealt with lice, only mites, but have read some on internet about it. Also unrefined coconut oil is said to dissolve the nits over time after the bugs are dead (after 14 days). The lice usually live on just the chicken and die off the chicken within days.

These bugs of course can get on you if you hold them but will NOT breed on humans. It is good to clean up feathers in the coop though. A good time to rake out the coop.
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