Just like cats and dogs, chickens can become pray to pesky parasites like fleas, lice and mites. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your coop, and the use of diatomaceous earth and wood ash in bedding and dust baths, are a few preventative measures that are very effective. Inspections of each hen and the coop should also be done regularly, to determine the condition of your flock and address issues quickly before they become a problematic infestation or risk the health of your birds.
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick, list some of the common signs of any type of mite or lice infestation: dirty-looking vent feathers, decreased activity or listlessness, pale comb, changes in appetite, a drop in egg production, weight loss, feather-pulling, bald spots, redness or scabs on the skin, dull, ragged-looking feathers and spotting the bugs or nits on the chicken.
If you spot a problem with your flock, there is a range of treatment options from natural home remedies to mild pesticides. Whether natural or chemical, any substance that kills insects should be used with caution both for our own safety as well as the safety of beneficial insects and our environment. Chemical treatments require an egg withholding period of 2 to 30 days after application, so be sure to educate yourself on the product you choose to use.
These links provide useful information on…
- Mite and Lice Identification
The Chicken Vet outlines causes, signs and treatment of common poultry lice and mites.
- Natural Prevention and Treatment for your Chickens
Lisa from Fresh Eggs Daily discuses natural options for mite control.
- essential oils
- liquid soap and oil spray
- Identification and Treatment both Natural and Chemical
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick, details mite and lice identification and treatment options including mild pesticides.