?lice

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Eggfairy
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?lice

Post by Eggfairy » Sun Mar 17, 2019 4:58 pm

Hello I've been keeping poultry now for 10 years
I have never had a problem with red mites or lice
My oldest girl who is 10 and s buff Orpington has had a problem with some feather loss at the back of her head and on her back near to her tail feathers. The books make me feel it could be lice but there is nothing to see even with a magnifying glass. It's not moulting I know that
I bought an organic spray but with no result
She doesn't seem to be bothered but I don't want her uncomfy at her age as I've had her from a chick
When I bought a couple of new hens s few years ago the seller put a drop of something under their wings saying it was against mites etc
Does anyone know what this could be
Or where I could obtain something that might help lice if that's what it is
Thanks if you can
Christine
bigyetiman
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Re: ?lice

Post by bigyetiman » Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:15 pm

Hi Christine,
it doesn't sound like lice to me either, especially if you have had a look with a magnifying glass. Has someone been having a crafty peck at her head and tail area ? I assume all your other birds are healthy.
I have never heard of any drop stuff you could put under their wing or anywhere else for that matter, the only thing that comes to mind is they were craftily putting on the Frontline flea liquid that is used on cats and dogs, way too drastic.
Not had a lice problem either, I am sure someone else on the forum has far more wise words on the subject, and may know the answer
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rick
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Re: ?lice

Post by rick » Sun Mar 17, 2019 11:22 pm

Hi Christine,
Lice are really obvious - they are a little darker than skin coloured but can be seen scampering away when feathers are parted to have a look. Also there will be egg clusters at the base of feathers that are unmistakable. Insecticide drops (like for dogs and cats) or injections may be vet prescribed in special cases but only with a positive ID of the problem and then, really, limited to cockerels because the egg withdrawal is long if not indefinite. Whatever the issue that isn't the way to go.
Red mite will start to be a problem for some soon as the spring arrives and it warms up but now is not a likely time.
The best thing you can do with regard to lice prevention is to provide a good dustbath but I guess you will be if you've had her for 10 years!
I would keep a close eye on her but not worry too much about some feather loss. Orps do lose some feathers in patches at the drop of a hat without it seeming to be harmful or uncomfortable for them - unless its because she is being pecked (back of the neck and tail would be prime targets as Bigyetiman says.)
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Marigold
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Re: ?lice

Post by Marigold » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:18 am

hi Christine, and welcome to the forum from me, too.
First of all, congratulations on the excellent care you've given this elderly girl. Not many make it to such a great age.
It doesn't sound as if she has an infestation, and I think you would be able to see if this were the case. If you don't think she's being pecked, it may be age-related, so I wondered if extra protein in her diet might help with the feather loss? At her age, and at this end of the winter, she may be finding difficulty in growing and retaining feathers, rather like people find their hair thinning as they age. You could try mashed-up egg (hard boiled, shell and all) mealworms, raw mince etc. Also, maybe add some Nettex mineral powder, which contains calcium and other minerals they need after a moult or when egg quality is declining, plus probiotics and seaweed.
There was a query a while ago in the quail section from Sandrine, whose quails seemed to be losing plumage, and when she put them on to a higher protein diet the problem corrected itself and now they've gone on to have a brood of chicks. Just a thought. See viewtopic.php?f=37&t=10718
The main Poultrykeeper site has a section on external problems such as feather loss and infestations. https://poultrykeeper.com/external-problems/
Eggfairy
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Re: ?lice

Post by Eggfairy » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:43 am

Thank you all for your advice
Debbie my Orpington and the other 6 do get extras in their diet. Fresh corn on the cob to nibble and kale hung up
They get fed a conditioner too and boiled eggs
Hubby says they are better fed than him :)
I will keep an eye on her
I know she is passed her sell by date but she's still eating well and joins in at the sight of food
Thank you all again it's nice to know there's help out there
Christine
Eggfairy
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Re: ?lice

Post by Eggfairy » Sat Mar 23, 2019 2:44 pm

Hi guys
Further to my last post on lice
Now had a closer look at my Orpington and I have seen lice at back of her head and tail
I've tried a powder and still have some KG organic spray
Has anyone got any better suggestions to sort them out
I emptied the hen hut and completely scrubbed it and sprayed every inch a couple of months ago when I thought it might be lice
Never had anything like in 10 years
Any help will be much appreciated
Christine
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Marigold
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Re: ?lice

Post by Marigold » Sat Mar 23, 2019 4:14 pm

Hi Christine - at least its good to know what's wrong. If one bird is infested the others are also highly likely to have some lice as well, so you should examine and treat all of them. Here is a paragraph from the Poultrykeeperr website, referenced above, on treating lice;


"Treating lice

Harka-Mectin Ivermectin Drops/Ivermectin is by far the easiest way to remove lice on chickens, it also kills most common poultry worms and has a residual effect once applied, however it is unlicensed for use on poultry and Ivermectins are more toxic to waterfowl so you should only use it under the guidance of your Vet.

Ivermectin is available online in drops that are put onto the skin at weekly intervals or as your vet advises for 3 weeks.

Powders containing the Pyrethrium are also effective however most are not licensed to be used on birds themselves, so again, you should be applying these only under the guidance of your vet.

Organic powders often contain tea tree and other ingredients that the lice don’t like. Diatomaceous Earth (like Diatom or Smite Powder) can be effective with a few regular treatments each week over a couple of weeks, this works by drying the lice up but getting the bird dusted all over can be difficult.

It is sometimes useful to add these powders to nesting areas, bedding and into dust baths (in the case of chickens, turkeys and guinea fowl) so that birds can effectively apply these themselves.

There are people who say it is a waste because it is diluted down too much to be of use and can cause respiratory problems from the dust. I still believe it’s better to have some diatom dusted through the feathers than none at all and it’s no more dusty in small amounts than the dust bath itself in my opinion.

The life cycle of biting lice is around 3 weeks – so it is important when using a product to remove them that you re-check regularly and re-treat as necessary after a week as most products will not kill their eggs and these will hatch producing egg laying adults in a 3 week period."


Using Ivermectin or Harkemectin is the most effective way, but does carry the problem of egg withdrawal from any treated birds. As your Orp girl is 10 years old, presumably she could be treated as she is a pet bird and I don't suppose she's still in lay. Dusting an Orp's feathers effectively would be very difficult, so spot-on treatment would be easier to apply. You might want to consider treating the others with Pyrethrum, which is useful as well and doesn't require egg withdrawal.
Eggfairy
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Re: ?lice

Post by Eggfairy » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:36 pm

Thank you so much
I have dusted her today once I saw the lice she is very friendly and loved to be nursed
Two of my other girls are starting to get the same problem a little bit around the back of their head but they are not as tame and think I will have to do them when they go to roost
I fear I may have caused the problem when I bought two weaten Marrans at auction
It was the first and last time I have been to one
They did look healthy but who knows!
Thanks again I will try and source the last thing you mentioned
Maybe have to take her to the vet if the other product is not available over the counter
Thank you again for your help
Christine
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rick
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Re: ?lice

Post by rick » Sun Mar 24, 2019 3:10 pm

Hi Christine,
I can vouch for Ivermectin working very well but have only used it on my cockerel for the egg withdrawal reasons.
I don't remember who suggested this (Mrs Biscuit I think) but applying diatom more accurately and at the base of feather shafts in appropriate places is much better than trying to hold a wriggling bird and apply clouds of it all over. (most going on outer feathers and up your nose!) A small, soft paint brush is ideal.
Have you seen any egg clusters at the base of feathers? If its lice then they will appear at some point. They can be very annoying because you have wiped out the current lice but more will be hatching within a week or two and the egg clusters are firmly fixed to the feathers. The best way to remove them is to snip off the feather just above the cluster and then slide it off the shaft. They are usually on downy feathers so bleeding shouldn't be an issue like with flight feathers etc. Trimming can lead to more feathers being shed in the area though (the cut feather just shaft just drops out after a couple of weeks)
Something I've noticed about dust baths - if they are too dry then the hens don't seem so interested in using them. A sprinkling of water in there and they all dive in!
Eggfairy
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Re: ?lice

Post by Eggfairy » Tue Mar 26, 2019 10:55 am

Thank you
I have sent for some ivermectin for my Orpington as she's almost ten years old (may) so she is not laying now , just living out her days :)
I've also ordered a spay for my other six girls which you don't need to withdraw eggs as suggested by another member
They do use the dust baths in the pen so hopefully this will help as well
I haven't seen lice eggs as yet
But my eyes are not too good as it was a while before I could see the lice :(
Sign of old age ime afraid
Hope I get my problem sorted
Thank you
Christine
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