Most external parasites that affect birds don’t live on humans, but a few will take a bite out of you if they get on you. You don’t want parasites on you, and you may want your chickens to be as comfortable and healthy as possible.
Chicken parasites are a given in most backyard coops. External parasites — lice, mites, and ticks — are the creepy-crawlies found on the outside of the chicken, so common that earlier poultry tenders didn’t even bother treating chickens for them. That said, these pests can cause anemia, damaged feathers, weight problems, poor laying, or — in young birds — death.
Signs of external parasites include:
• Seeing them crawling on the chickens or in the coop
• Being bitten by them yourself
• Noticing chickens with broken, chewed-looking feathers and reddened skin patches
• Seeing chickens doing a lot of scratching and picking at themselves
• A drop in egg production
• Anemia with pale combs and wattles
• A fluffed-up or sick appearance
Lice are the most common external parasite of pheasants. There are a number of different types of lice, the most common being body lice. Lice can live only when on the bird; they die when they are separated from their host.
Apart from affecting the general thriftiness of pheasants, lice will also cause reduced weight gains and egg production.
Before selecting a preparation to treat lice, make certain it is registered under the Stock Medicines Act 1989 for use on poultry.
The red mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) is the mite most likely to trouble pheasants. Mites are very small, only just visible to the naked eye. They live in crevices of woodwork in buildings and feed on the pheasants at night.
To control mites, paint woodwork with a wood-preserving oil, and spray the building with an insecticide registered for this purpose.
Mite and lice treatments for chickens are simple dust on products once a week. Chickens mites get under their feathers and can cause irritations, feather loss and can spread to your whole flock. Keeping a handle on your poultry parasites is easy with these dust on treatments. Don’t forget to worm your hens too.
So what products can assist in the control of Lice and Mites?
Pestene Powder - Inca Pestene Insect Powder is recommended for the control of lice, mites and fleas on dogs, cats, fowls (poultry) calves, horses, and goats.
Diatomaceous Earth – It has many uses and benefits for the backyard flock. Diatomaceous earth was formed a very long time ago. It is made from fossilized, microscopic, hard-shelled algae called diatoms. Diatomaceous earth attacks fleas, ticks, mites, and digestive tract worms by slicing into the outer shell or layer of their bodies. This process, called desiccation, leads to dehydration causing most of the pests to die in a matter of hours. Diatomaceous earth works best in dry settings.
Malaban Wash - controls fleas, lice and adult brown ticks on dogs, cats and in dog kennels. Also controls sarcoptic mange mites on dogs and cats and aids in control of red mites in aviaries as per directions for use.
Need more help or not sure if your flock has an infestation? Come and talk to our friendly team in store.
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Information provided by DPI NSW, www.communitychickens.com,