Would you look at my parasite plan of attack and give me feedback?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Aug 17, 2008
So, a little background: I acquired a very diverse flock of chickens, about 35, (and two guineas) from someone who wanted to get rid of her whole flock. Mostly layers with a few roos, bantams, etc. thrown in. I also had 7 young chickens I raised from chicks this last spring. Let's just say that I will never again buy adult chickens, I should have known better and it was a foolish move on my part.
Live and learn, I guess.

The owner seemed very knowledgeable and affectionate toward the chickens, and I would have thought her care for them was better than it was. They have mites, lice, and scaly leg mites. Ranging from moderate to severe infestations. Again,
. I'm mad at myself for buying them, period. And I'm a little peeved at the seller, who would have had to have been blind to not know what was wrong with them. I guess at least now they'll be better cared for.

So, first, I plan to treat the leg mites with a coating of oil (probably mineral with a little melted parafin added, then cooled, of course, to thicken it) and some tea tree oil for good measure. Repeated a couple of times in the following weeks. Should I do even the asymptomatic ones?

Then, I'm torn about whether it would be better to treat with a pyrethrin spray (approved for poultry and no mention of a withdrawal period) or do the injectible Ivomec orally. I'd like to use and sell the eggs in a few weeks, but they're not laying much right now anyway, due to the move I'm guessing, so it wouldn't be a huge waste to not use the eggs for the next 2 or 3 weeks. I just really want these icky creepy crawlies gone. And, I haven't seen worms in the manure, but I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest.

Then, I will CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN the coop. Should I just bleach it, or would it be better to spray it with Tempo (approved for food prep areas) or the pyrethrin spray, or what? Also, I plan to use DE liberally in the future and provide it for dust baths.

Finally, I will beat my head against the wall for making such a dumb mistake and so much work for myself and vow to learn from it and only buy chicks in the future.

TIA for any tips, advice, been theres, constructive criticism, etc.!

Are the adults you just purchased in quarantine? Or have you just shared all the misery they brought with them with your 7 young chicks?

I would probably use lanolin on the leg mites. It's thick enough to cover the mites and smother them and is used to produce vitamin D3, which is helpful for healing. I would mix a drop or two of tea tree or oregano oil or add crushed garlic and oil, myself; but there are some on BYC who will tell you not to use tea tree oil on your birds.

You will have to dispose of all bedding and completely clean every nook and cranny to get rid of the bugs. I would suggest repeat the cleaning and treatment of hen house once a week for a month. Don't forget the roosts and nest boxes.
No, not in quarantine. And I know better now, but what's done is done and I feel bad enough as it is, kay?

So, thanks for the lanolin advice. I understand I need to clean the whole coop, what I'm wondering is what is the most effective method.
Although others might offer a different game plan, I would start with the pests on the birds, then work on the coop. I use Poultry Dust (contains permethrin) ~ working at bedtime when the chooks are pretty quiet, I use rubber gloves and place my left hand gently in front of their chests so they don't bobble off the perch. I sprinkle their bottoms (gently lift tail feathers and really fluff it into the feathers of the vent area), then a sprinkle under each wing. 10 seconds tops.

Repeat in 4-5 days to one week. In this case I would probably do them once a week until I found no buggies, then maybe drop to every other week just to be sure.

Once things slow down on your birds you can really focus on getting the coop cleaned out. When I clean out my coop every couple of months, I strip the whole shebang down, scrub out, allow it to dry, and sprinkle a bit of poultry dust on the bare wood to get into cracks on the floor. I cover with 4-5" of shavings, mix a bit of food-grade DE in, and I'm in business.

I like the lanolin idea; a few drops of pungent stuff like TTO shouldn't hurt any. I would do this once a week too, until things clear up.

The main thing is, don't stress out. What's done is done, lesson learned, move forward and help your birds. Maybe give them some probiotics/vitamins/electrolytes in their water to help with moving stress, give them a few grapeys and let them know how their new parent is going to be lots of fun.

No worries. Keep us posted on how it goes!
Thanks!!! My DH and I worked chickens yesterday, and it feels great for them to be on the road to healing. It was the first time I thoroughly handled each chicken, and as much annoyance and work this will be, I am soooo glad they're living with me where their health will be taken care of. I'm pretty sure they know they're livin' the good life by now, they have lots of room to roam, tasty treats, bugs and grass to eat, and (hopefully) fewer parasites coming soon!
I sound like a broken record at home, but I just can't stop telling my family how glad I am that they're mine now. Seeing each individual in their sad state was heartbreaking and rewarding all at once.
To Jenski,
Just wondering with the poultry dust do you wait a certain period of time before eating eggs again?

I have dust my girls with DE last night and this morning still found some creepy crawlers, though not a lot. So thinking I am going to dust them tonight with the poultry dust.

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