Lice and Mites

Common poultry diseases and conditions, advice on what they are and how to treat them.
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Lice and Mites

Postby chicibo » Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:16 am

Mites:
Mites like the northern fowl mite, the red mite and the scaly leg mite are tiny and are not easy to see with the naked eye. They cause itchiness in birds and sometimes in handlers too.

Red mites: Dermanyssus gallinae - Live in cracks in the perches and houses during the day and feed from the birds at night. Eggs of red mite will remain viable in an empty chook house for two years. Mites are almost white before they have fed, blood red after a feed and grey / black with partially digested blood so you will see various colours of mites. Infestations appear around perch ends & in cracks in the coup and resemble gray ash.

Scaly Leg Mite: Cnemidocoptes mutans - Causes scaly, raised encrusted scales on the legs. They cause intense irritation to the bird by burrowing under the scales. They are fairly common in Chickens. The scales often look like they are protruding outwards and parts of the scales will come off, making the legs look unsightly. Spread by direct contact, the mite spends it's entire life cycle on the bird.

Northern fowl mite: Ornithonyssus bursae - live on the birds all the time so they are harder to eradicate. mites are very small, measuring 1/64-1/32 inch long. Mites are nearly white when unfed, bright red when recently fed, or gray to black with blood meal partly digested. This type of bird mite infests the bird's back and vent area and feeds off the bird's blood after they become nymphs and adults.

Lice:
All species of poultry lice have certain common habits. All live continuously on feathered hosts and soon die if removed. The eggs are attached to the feathers. Young lice resemble adults except in color and size. Lice differ in preferred locations on the host, and these preferences have given rise to the common names applied to various species. The incubation period of lice eggs is four to seven days, and development of the lice between hatching and the adult stage requires about twenty-one days. Mating takes place on the fowl, and egg-laying begins two to three days after lice mature. The numbers of eggs probably ranges from fifty to three-hundred per female louse.

Poultry Shaft Louse: Menopon Gallinae - It has a habit of resting on the body feather shafts of chickens where it may be
seen running rapidly toward the body when feathers are parted suddenly. Sometimes as many as a dozen lice may be seen scurrying down a feather shaft. Since the shaft louse apparently feeds on parts of the feathers, it is found in limited
numbers on turkeys, guinea fowl and ducks kept in close association with chickens. It does not infest young birds until they become well feathered.

The Body Louse: Menacanthus Stramineous - Prefers to stay on the skin rather than on the feathers. It chooses parts of the body that are not densely feathered, such as the area below the vent. In heavy infestations, it may be found on the breast, under the wings and on other parts of the body, including the head. When the feathers are parted, straw-colored body lice may be seen running rapidly on the skin in search of cover. Eggs are deposited in clusters near the base of small feathers,
particularly below the vent, or in young fowls, frequently on the head or throat. Eggs hatch in about a week and lice reach maturity within twenty days. This is the most common louse infesting grown chickens. When present in large numbers, the skin is irritated greatly and scabs may result, especially below the vent.

Large Turkey Louse: Chelopistes meleagridis - Usually only found on turkeys, behaves similarly to other lice.
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Re: Treatments

Postby chicibo » Fri Jan 21, 2011 2:51 am

Powders:
Used to control lice and mites, except scaly mite; Apply directly to the bird on the back of the neck, under each wing and around vent area. Also sprinkle in nesting boxes. Repeat weekly to catch out hatching lice. You can also rub on perches for red mites.

Pestene Powder - Can be purchased from some vets, farming stores and saddlery/horse supply stores.
Flea Powder - Cat or dog flea powder can be purchased at a wide variety of places.
External Parasite Powder - another product that can be bought on trademe.
*Rosemary Powder - 100% natural and you make it yourself. Dry fresh rosemary sprigs, remove leaves from stalks and blend or crush into a fine powder. Use as above.
*Diatomaceous earth - Heaps of places sell this online.

Coup Control:
Regular cleaning of coups can help to keep lice and mite numbers under control. A good waterblasting can blast mites right out of their hiding places. Burning old bedding and nest materials is a good idea if you know you have had lice or mites.

Paint on perches and in cracks:
Kerosene
Paraffin
Citronella oil - The type you put in lamps to burn, available from the Warehouse.
Creosote - Have had trouble finding this sometimes, but on trademe and some farming stores still have it, has to be the original, not imitation stuff.
Ripcord - From farm stores and places like mitre10. It's a harsh chemical, so try to give the coup time to air out before putting the chooks back in. Use in a spray bottle and spray the entire coup.

Natural deterrants:
Lemongrass: Fresh lemongrass in the nest boxes can deter lice and mites
Rsemary: A sprig in the nesting box can deter mites.
Eucalyptus leaves: Crushed or bruised and mixed into nests and bedding
Peppermint
Tea tree oil
Cirtronella
Garlic (fed to chooks)
Using blow torches and steamers in the coup to kill red mites in cracks and crevices.

Scaly mite treatment:
Must be applied directly to the legs, the idea is to smother the mite so they suffocate and die. Treatment may need to be repeated weekly. If your infestation is really bad, you can start by soaking your birds legs in some warm water and soap and gently scrub the legs. Try not to pick at the uplifted scale too much, you might make them bleed, and cause even more of a problem. Then you can apply to the legs:

Rawleighs Ointment
Vaseline
Vaseline and Pestene powder mixed together
Any type of oil, such as cooking oil, Waste oil (sump oil) even spray on cooking oil
Scabies cream
Methylated spirits








*These are herbal/natural remedies.
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Re: Lice and Mites

Postby Dolly10 » Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:23 pm

I understand Ivomec drench also treats lice & mites. So would the dose of 0.1 mil undiluted treat worms, lice and mits? I have been told that you cannot eat eggs for 1 month following treatment if you use Ivomec.
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Re: Lice and Mites

Postby chicibo » Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:50 pm

Ivomec drench 1% will treat worms and only SOME lice or mites, as they would need to be blood suckers in order to be poisoned by the ivomec. As for the egg withholding period, 1 month is incorrect, it is only 10 days.

My advice, never rely on one treatment! Use preventatives liberally, change worming products after 2 doses, and be very observant.
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Re: Lice and Mites

Postby Heir » Sat Jan 22, 2011 9:58 am

I'm going to be applying Derbec M liquid mixed with pestene powder shortly for legs, a few of my hens have scaley leg mites.
I will let you know how I go but the combination sounds like a winner IMO!
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Re: Lice and Mites

Postby PoultryValley » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:44 pm

You can also use Ivomec pour on directly on the legs for Scaley leg mites, is fast and easy, need to do a follow up treatment, and maybe another if it is bad ? But works ;)
We have No scaley legs here :!: Never have had any, unless something has been bought in with it, then they are quarantined and treated before allowed near the rest of our flocks :o If you have chooks bad with it, it seems to stay in the ground and dirt where they live and keep coming back :(
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Re: Lice and Mites

Postby sharron » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:21 am

Just done some refuggee brown shavers for leg mites, they were pretty bad so attacked them with a brew of vaseline, tiger balm (i'd run out of neem oil) and pestene mixed togther and tooth brushed it on, the toothbrush really helps to get under the scales, within just a couple of days you could see a vast improvement.
Just make sure you use the other halfs toothbrush :mrgreen:
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Re: Lice and Mites

Postby Lindeggs » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:31 pm

sharron wrote:...
Just make sure you use the other halfs toothbrush :mrgreen:


:lol:

At least the other half won't have mites on his/her teeth any more.
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