Horror oh Horror

What’s the only thing better than internal parasites? External parasites!

3-chicken-body-louse-eggs-sem-steve-gschmeissner

Gorgeous SEM of chicken lice eggs by Steve Gshmeissner via SciencePhoto Library

2-chicken-body-louse-eggs-sem-steve-gschmeissner

Gorgeous SEM of chicken lice eggs by Steve Gshmeissner via SciencePhoto Library

Our hen Blanca has a bad case of chicken lice. I have learned a lot about lice in the past few days researching the problem.

My lame photo of my poor hen's lice infestation

My lame photo of my poor hen’s lice infestation

1 – Chicken lice do not infect humans.
2 – Chicken lice do not suck host blood. Instead, they eat dry skin, scales, and feathers – but will eat blood if it is present.
3 – Lice lay eggs in masses that are cemented around the base of feathers – usually underneath her butt where it is hard for her to preen.
4 – Lice make a chicken miserable, listless, reduce egg production, and can even kill.
5 – Chickens are usually infected by lice from wild birds.
6 – There are many many approaches to treating chicken lice.

Treatments include, but are not limited to:
1 – Diatomaceous earth dusting
2 – Wood ash dusting
3 – Oil to suffocate and dissolve egg masses
4 – Essential oils in oil to kill adult lice
5 – Soapy baths to kill adult lice
6 – Neem or eucalyptus oils in bath or spray
7 – Synthetic pesticides, pesticides, pesticides (dust, spray, skin application)

Plus 2-wk follow up and extensive cleaning of coop and run.

I am very confident in the ability of synthetic pesticides to solve this problem, but I’d like to try methods that will not transfer toxins to eggs. Soapy baths can dry out her skin, making surviving lice even happier, but I have been recommened against oil treatments while the cold weather is here.

Please – tell me about methods that have (or have not!) worked for you??

UPDATE: Using neem oil to treat chicken lice!

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This entry was posted in bugs, chickens, pest control, winter and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Horror oh Horror

  1. Jenette says:

    We use Diatomaceous earth in the coop floor, nest boxes and chicken run for prevention. We also use it for dusting. We put sand, wood ash and DE in the dusting area also. We us Dr Bronners soap with essential oils in baths as well.

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