HELP PLEASE - Lice problem on Chickens

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7 years 1 month ago #39644 by Chickmagnet
Beginner chook owner here. I have 4 new pullets and discovered lice all over them. Have read books and other forums - so much conflicting advice. Dusting with Pestene or DE is advised but then in another said to be ineffective and bad for their respiratory system. Esprinex, Ivermectin and Cydectin is also advised as a topical - then someone else says its also ineffective. I'm not too keen to ask retailers as they often just advise whatever they sell.

What have you used that has actually worked and got rid of lice on your hens?
Also, I have a new coop - should I be painting it with DE and Citronella oil or Neem Oil? I've just covered it with DE for now...started using wood shavings and moved to straw a week ago. Doing deep litter method. Thanks for any advice!

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7 years 1 month ago #506873 by Stikkibeek
Pestene was a great product but you'd be very lucky to find any now as the owner of the product has I think retired and closed the company.
DE is at best a minor help, rather like a placebo and while some people swear by it, it doesn't really do the job. And yes, you do need to take care as the particles are very fine and could be bad for your respiratory system, let alone the hen's.
Neem oil will be good for dealing with red mites which hide in the crevices of the hen house during the day and emerge at night to feed on the hens.
You can use off label lice killers, but you would be best to talk with your small pets vet, preferably an avian specialist about worming and lice control, as often they will decant a small amount for you to use and give you the dose rate. It is usually put on under the wing on the bare skin. Those preparations are very expensive and a container would likely last you 20-30 years on a small poultry flock (supposing it has a long shelf life) which is why it is more feasible and economical to have a small amount decanted. A vet will also talk to you about any with holding period for eggs.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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7 years 1 month ago #506886 by Deanna
I use dog flea treatment, the spot on the neck kind. I touch a pin head size droplet an inch from their vent.

25 acres, 1400 Blue Gums, Wiltshire sheep, 5 steers, 2 cows, ducks, chickens, bees, dog, cats, retired, 1 husband and 3 grandkids.

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7 years 1 month ago #506894 by Chickmagnet

Deanna;513436 wrote: I use dog flea treatment, the spot on the neck kind. I touch a pin head size droplet an inch from their vent.

Deanna - which dog flea treatment do you use? Also, do you then not use their eggs for some time (I have 2 laying silkies which are laying right now and may also need treatment). How often do you use this treatment - when/as necessary or periodically? Thanks!

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7 years 1 month ago #506900 by Sue
Re the confusion issue!
Lice which live on the bird all the time, eat skin flakes and feather dander, so treating them with the sort of pour on product intended for blood sucking parasites like fleas and red mite is not so effective. Conversely, using the powders such as Pestene or even DE, is not as effective against the blood suckers. Although both will kill both types of feeders to some extent it is best to use the more suitable insecticide for the ones you want to target.

Re the coop, yes sprinkle DE in the litter and paint the perches (and underneath) with Neem oil will be good.
Why change from shavings to straw?
Shavings are the ideal medium for deep litter, as long as you start with it deep enough! The pine resin helps keep it fresh. Straw tends to mat as soon as it gets damp and makes an ideal breeding ground for moulds and fungi. This time of year with cold humid temperatures the fresh droppings will just sit on the surface unless it is turned very regularly. You need to be able to aerate the litter to keep it dry or get the birds to turn it over for you and encourage the good bacteria to break down the droppings in the presence of air, like a good compost heap works!

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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7 years 1 month ago #506901 by Chickmagnet

Sue;513451 wrote: Re the confusion issue!
Lice which live on the bird all the time, eat skin flakes and feather dander, so treating them with the sort of pour on product intended for blood sucking parasites like fleas and red mite is not so effective. Conversely, using the powders such as Pestene or even DE, is not as effective against the blood suckers. Although both will kill both types of feeders to some extent it is best to use the more suitable insecticide for the ones you want to target.

Re the coop, yes sprinkle DE in the litter and paint the perches (and underneath) with Neem oil will be good.
Why change from shavings to straw?
Shavings are the ideal medium for deep litter, as long as you start with it deep enough! The pine resin helps keep it fresh. Straw tends to mat as soon as it gets damp and makes an ideal breeding ground for moulds and fungi. This time of year with cold humid temperatures the fresh droppings will just sit on the surface unless it is turned very regularly. You need to be able to aerate the litter to keep it dry or get the birds to turn it over for you and encourage the good bacteria to break down the droppings in the presence of air, like a good compost heap works!

Thanks Sue! So DE for the lice on the hens and Neem oil on perches. I switched to straw as most websites where I have seen a coop I have only seen straw. But the shavings explanation makes sense so I'll go back to that. I give the coop a lot of air during the day so it should be fine. What is your take on cocoa shavings? I've heard they can be a nicer, cheper alternative..?

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7 years 1 month ago #506909 by Sue
Shavings is universally used as a deep litter base and pine shavings, being a soft wood break down readily to a fine dust, they are absorbent, the air spaces between the flakes provide much better conditions for air and absorption than sawdust.

You probably need to start off with a layer at least 10cm deep and keep adding to it in bare places. Use it for the nests as well and regularly empty them out on the floor-DE and all, and replenish with fresh shavings. If you keep it stirred and 'working' you shouldn't need to clean out the coop for at least 6 months and possibly once a year if it is dry and powdery.

In the commercial farms I worked on we put down shavings for the chicks at day old, and if they stayed in the same shed through rearing and laying the litter was often there for 18 months before clean outs.

I've never heard of cocoa shells being used a litter for chickens, only as a mulch for the garden-but a note of caution, it is toxic to dogs, so if you have dogs, probably not a good idea. Not sure of its absorbency either. The info states it retains moisture and is likely to grow mould-so perhaps not very useful.
www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/m...cocoa-hull-mulch.htm

Sue
Labrador lover for yonks, breeder of pedigree Murray Grey cattle for almost as long, and passionate poultry person for more years than I care to count.

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