Feathers with lice eggs

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Cj2512
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Feathers with lice eggs

Post by Cj2512 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 8:40 am

Hi all

One of my two girls has got lice eggs attached to some of her vent feathers - initially I thought it was hardened poo, but having taken her to vets who identified she had lice (yuk) I did a bit more reading and they're definitely eggs.

I've powdered both girls with barrier powder and ordered some drops but my question is should I pluck out the feathers that have the lice eggs attached? Some sites suggest you should but I think it will hurt her and leave her with a bare bum.

Any help appreciated

CJ
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rick
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Re: Feathers with lice eggs

Post by rick » Mon Jul 18, 2016 9:23 am

Lice are annoying but the nits (egg clusters) stuck to the feather shafts are really annoying! The lice are pretty easy to wipe out with some diatom powder on a small paintbrush applied under the wings and around the vent area (that was Valerie's idea and its a gem!) Puts it just where it's needed without puffing it around all over the place.
I also bathed mine with a dash of mild dog shampoo and that also plays havoc with the lice.
But the nits wouldn't go and your never sure if they are all hatched and spent or the next generation will catch you unawares.
In the end I came across a bit of info that downy feathers can be snipped off without any harm. I cut through the middle of the nit cluster then the rest could be fairly easily slid off the stub. The stub falls out of its own accord later.
In theory, if you keep up you vigilance with diatomaceous earth then all the eggs would hatch and the last generation wiped out so getting rid of the old nits wouldn't be necessary.
I don't think drops would be needed and once free of a rampant population then dust bathing will keep them away. My infestation came from a pile of leaf litter from the allotment that I thought my hens would find interesting!
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Marigold
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Re: Feathers with lice eggs

Post by Marigold » Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:18 pm

Good advice there, Rick. At least with only two hens, the risk of reinfestation should be less and you won't have so many birds to keep watch over. What kind of bedding and floor litter are you using? Best to remove and burn this, clean the coop and nestbox throughly and dust with lice powder (this is diatom but with some kind of insecticide added as well) Also give them a nice deep dust bath in a large plastic box. You can fill this with 6 inches of fine, clean play sand you can get in bags from Homebase as this will be sure to be free of lice etc, unlike Ricks leaf litter! Treat the surface of the dustbath with a generous layer of lice powder or diatom as well, then they will work it in to their feathers in addition to what you've applied yourself.
Trimming feathers is OK so long as you don't go too far back and cut into the shaft, where they will bleed. Pulling them out would be painful. Feathers are like fingernails or dog's claws, no feeling until you get back to the quick. If your girls have fluffy bums I would certainly give them a trim to help get rid of the lice. Be careful to remove all the trimmings and don't leave any lice eggs lying around on the floor.
Spot-on treatments such as Ivermectin do work, although not licensed for poultry and should only be applied on a vets prescription. However, you have to throw away any eggs for several weeks as the medicine will migrate into them and it's dangerous for humans to ingest.
Also see article on Poultrykeeper site https://poultrykeeper.com/external-prob ... d-poultry/
Cj2512
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Re: Feathers with lice eggs

Post by Cj2512 » Tue Jul 19, 2016 7:00 pm

Marigold and Rik

Thanks so much for the advice - sounds like there's a number of things I can do to sort this. I use easichick bedding in the coop which I replace weekly. I spray the coop once every other week with poultry shield. I don't use anything on the floor of the run - it's just soil. i pick their poo out of the coop every morning but hadn't been cleaning it out of the run - I didn't realise it harboured pests and assumed it just worked its way back into the soil. I'll be clearing it very few days from now on.

I let them out a couple of days from anywhere between half hour and a few hours - I try to keep them to the lawn but they try to get into my flower borders.

I was wondering how they'd got the lice as they don't see any other Chooks but I've given them leaf litter too (also from my allotment) so that answers that one. Thanks so much for the advice.

Ta

Claire
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dinosaw
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Re: Feathers with lice eggs

Post by dinosaw » Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:10 pm

You can pluck out feathers around the vent. I pulled half a dozen out of an Orpington whose feathers were completely encrusted with poo with no blood loss and not so much as a squawk from her, you just need to be careful and use some judgement. If your pulling and the bird is showing no discomfort then the chances are that the feather will come out easily if she is showing signs of pain then better to trim.
Cj2512
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Re: Feathers with lice eggs

Post by Cj2512 » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:22 pm

Quick update. So treated both girls vent area with Harkers and haven't seen a lice since. I didn't pluck or snip the feathers with lice eggs on - was too nervous every for it. However, I shall keep a close eye on both girls and if i see anymore lice will begin treatment again. Unfortunately the one who had lice now has a messy bum some and I'm worried she has a vent that wants to prolapse, but that's for another post.

Thanks for advice.
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