During the summer, mites and lice are infesting countless flocks. However, the true horror starts when this minor infestation spirals out of hand. Therefore, what should be our primary priority? The fundamental is identifying mites and lice symptoms. Then, it would indeed be simple to adopt precise treatment and preventive measures.
How to Recognize Chicken Mites and Lice
Is it a reason to worry if your flock has chicken mites and lice? Chickens, usually, are capable of coping with a few mites. They use dust baths to keep an infestation away. Nonetheless, an out-of-hand infestation may wreak havoc on your flock’s health. It may perhaps result in death in the most severe instances.
Mites and lice can reproduce rapidly. By the time you realize it, the infestation has already become dangerous. Therefore, never overlook the females’ frenzied scratching and nipping. There is a strong chance that it is the result of a chicken mite and lice infestation.
To contrast mites from lice, the primary characteristic is that they are eight-legged creatures. Lice have six legs. Mites may induce anemia in chickens by sucking their blood. They live among the chickens and in some of the chickens’ cages.
Lice typically come out to eat and suck blood at a specific time of day. They irritate your fowls by sucking feather dandruff and skin flakes off them. Their leeching may result in irritation, redness, and erythema. They exist entirely on fowl skin cells and feather detritus.
However, both mites and lice are hazardous to the development and health of your chickens if ignored. Therefore, take quick action at the very first indication of an infestation.
When mites overwhelm your fowls, there is a danger of a weaker immune system as an effect of blood loss due to anemia.
And that is when your chickens are most susceptible to contracting different infections and diseases. These diseases are often fatal. Early detection of mites and lice allows for rapid treatment. Additionally, prevent more intractable problems in the near future.
Identification of chicken mites and lice is critical. However, the most crucial step is identifying the signs of infestations in order to choose the appropriate remedies. Moreover, to determine the best strategy for preventing it from occurring again. In general, detecting these parasites entering your fowls is very easy.
The good news is that our chickens do not transmit lice. Chicken lice are not interested in humans.
They enjoy feathery creatures. It is because their food consists entirely of bird skin and feathers. However, mites may migrate to another animal or even a human in search of blood to suck.
How Your Flock Acquired Mites and Lice
One of several instances your chickens will acquire these parasites is via wild birds. Due to the easy availability of free food, coops attract pigeons, sparrows, starlings, and other wild birds.
Even if your fowls are inside their cage, it is probable for these wild birds to get close to your chickens and consume their food, thus transmitting parasites. You should be aware that these birds are a known source of external and internal parasites.
Additionally, it is critical to isolate new hens before integrating them into your flock. It is because sometimes, these newly feathered animals are often with mites or lice with them. It varies according to where you get your poultry chickens. Certain vendors are conscientious about parasite management strategies, while others are indifferent.
That is why, before integrating a new chick into your crew, isolate them for about 30 days to check for mites and lice breeding. A single chicken is sufficient to introduce pests into your coop.
Rodents like rats and mice interact with a wide variety of living and dead animals. As a result, they are also parasite carriers.
If your area has rodents, they may transmit a variety of parasites to chicken coops. Even if these rodents consume one of your chickens’ feeds, there already is a process for them to transfer their parasites to your chickens.
Mites And Lice Detection In Chickens
If your chickens already have external parasites, there are a few noticeable symptoms.
You can find clusters of mites around the bottom of the feathers. When you inspect each chicken, these mites nest near the vents or under the wings. When you see visible indicators such as these, it’s crucial to inspect your coop.
The majority of lice are tiny creatures. However, some are apparent to the naked eye. When you examine meticulously, clumps of whitish filth may be visible near the base of their feathers. That is the ideal location for lice to nest.
Comparable to the underside of a chicken’s feathers, the vent is another area of the fowl’s body where lice make their colonies. Chickens tend to get their bottoms dirty but keep an eye out for clusters of lice and their eggs.
Egg production is decreasing
There may be additional reasons contributing to the decrease in egg production. However, mite and lice infestations may sometimes cause it.
Legs and feet scabs
When your chicken has a scaly leg mite infection, its legs and feet will seem thick, scabby, and brittle.
Feathers are falling off, and wings are collapsing
When your chickens are sick, they will fold their wings. It is typical during periods of greater temperatures. It is because their wings are drooped to let air flow around their body. However, if they dangle daily, this indicates a more severe problem. Additionally, mites and lice may have a role.
Unwilling to roost/ Fatigue
Your chickens seem somewhat dormant and reclusive. They have lost their vitality. Yet, they get uneasy, particularly at night.
Comb and wattles are pale
Chickens with normal combs and wattles have vivid reddish color. Yet, they become pink when they become frail as a result of parasites.
Due to the infestations, your chicken may itch more than usual. They will also engage in further dust bathing. Dust bathing is how they alleviate their irritability. They seem to be self-medicating.
Smears of blood on the legs and eggs
You can see small bloodstains on their eggshells and legs. Additionally, those who are often in contact with fowls may have itchy feelings. Furthermore, other animals in the vicinity may exhibit irritation as a result of mite bites.
These methods are effective in the early stages of infection. Therefore, medicate your fowls promptly to avoid a fatal epidemic in your coop. Then take steps to prevent further inconvenient procedures.
Moving the chickens out of the coop
Cleaning the coop, burning the bedding, and removing stray feathers are all necessary components of therapy. However, can the now-healthy chickens—this procedure to prevent further infestation caused by freshly hatched eggs.
Dust all your fowls with diatomaceous earth (food grade)
It’s a natural procedure that may be very successful in dusting chickens suffering from mites or lice infestation. However, use sparingly to prevent respiratory tract infections in chickens and people alike. Additionally, to avoid your chicken from developing additional health problems as a result of the therapy. A 50-pound bag of play sand mixed with 12 cups DE makes an ideal dust bath for our feathery friends.
Supplement with iron
Chickens that are experiencing mites infestation are in danger of losing a large number of red blood cells. As with humans, chickens need iron, in particular, to replace lost red blood cells that may result in anemia. Additionally, you may give your hens iron-fortified foods such as peas, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.
As odd as it may seem, you may give scrambled eggs to your flock for protein. Your flock may get fatigued as a result of the infection. As with other animals, including humans, these feathery creatures need protein to replenish their energy.
Examining the coop
It is critical to burn the beddings, scrub the corners, and thoroughly clean the coop. You may now reintroduce your now-healthy fowls into their pest-free habitat.
Your fowls must get another dusting to ensure that even newly born eggs are eradicated. Additionally, the DE will serve as a preventative measure against future epidemics.
Sprinkle dried pennyworth and peppermint in their dust bath and coop. These plants act as natural mite and lice repellents.
Insecticides are available in powder form or as a spray solution. While most poultry owners are opposed to it, if your flock is severely suffering from mites and lice, pesticides may be beneficial.
Preventing And Treating Chicken Mites And Lice
Prevention is critical to avoid and get rid of mite and lice infestations. Here are some preventative measures.
Regular examinations of your flock can assist you in detecting early infections and avoiding significant outbreaks.
Before introducing other chicks to your flock, quarantine them for 30 days and monitor them as well.
Treatment of the entire flock
When one of the chickens has external parasites, there is a good chance that the rest of the flock has as well—as a result, treating the herd as a whole as soon as possible prevents severe infestations.
Chickens are adept at mite and lice management through their dust baths. Ensure that you give them a dust bath containing diatomaceous earth (DE).
At some time, most coops will encounter chicken mites and lice infestations. Examine your chickens for mites and lice if you see them scratching furiously. Allowing this to continue and ignoring it will result in an epidemic before you even realize it. It’s obvious, and the symptoms are readily apparent.
You do not need to remember the exact names of all the different varieties of mites and lice. Rather than that, the most critical aspect is identifying mite and lice infestation signs and symptoms. Thus, you can choose the best course of treatment and prevention moving ahead. Because before any treatment, prevention and routine checks are the most effective means of avoiding an infestation.
When you’ve completed the procedures for treating and preventing external poultry parasites, your fowls will return to their vibrant forms. And egg production will be copious again.