More Top Tips - Sugar and spice and all things lice.... No, not - TopicsExpress


More Top Tips - Sugar and spice and all things lice.... No, not a typo, were going to have to talk about the creepy crawly side of chicken keeping. Worms: During their time at the farm, the hens will have been wormed to keep them healthy. Knowing they will be leaving the farm, their worming treatment will have stopped about three months previously, at least! There is only one wormer that is both effective and licensed for poultry and that is Flubenvet. This can be bought in a powder form and added to feed at a specific dosage or the slightly easier option is to buy the ready medicated pellets, which are manufactured by Marriages. Many feed stores will sell these or they can be ordered online for a small delivery charge. Eggs can still be eaten whilst medicating your hens but they should not be fed any other food or treats for the week they are being treated as they must get their fill of the medicated feed. It is recommend this treatment should be repeated every three months. An alternative to worming is to sent for a faecal worm count - post some :poop: to one of a number of companies who provide this service and they will let you know whether your hens actually need worming or not. There are other products on the market that are sold as herbal gut conditioners, but they simply provide an environment that is less hospitable to worms without actually getting rid of an infestation. Flubenvet is the only effective poultry wormer. Lice: There are a number of types of lice hens can get, the most common being feather lice. By giving carefully parting the feathers you will be able to see the pale coloured eggs clustered on the feather shafts and may even see the orangey coloured lice crawling on their skin - they are very fast little critters! These bite the hens and irritate them, which can be stressful and cause pecking and bullying in the flock. A weekly check around the vent feathers and under the wings can give you an early heads up. I have now started itching! Northern fowl mite are less common and tend to be more prevalent in winter. They will make your hens feathers look very greasy with their faecal matter, giving the appearance of having been stood out in the rain. They live on the birds blood and will feed around the clock, multiplying very quickly. A heavy infestation can kill a previously healthy bird so regular checks are essential, especially if your hen looks unwell. Hens will take themselves off for a daily dust bath to keep lice in check, but if you have an infestation, dusting your hens with diatomaceous earth (DE) or adding it to their dust bath can be very effective. Be careful not to breathe it in or to allow your hens to breathe it in either! If you buy a sack full (most cost effective option) you can decant some into an old talc bottle or even an empty, dry washing up liquid bottle. Both make very good puffers to allow you to get to the base of the feathers. It is not unusual for hens to come out of the farm with lice so treating them in the first few days/week as a precaution is a good measure. Heavy infestation of Northern Fowl mite may need veterinary intervention for a stronger insecticide. Red Mite: This can be the scourge of poultry keepers. The mites hide in the nooks and crannies of the coops or housing and are more prevalent in wooden housing, simply because there are more places to hide! They tend to come out at night while the hens are roosting and creep through the nest boxes and along the roost, sucking your hens blood as they are sleeping. A good way to check if you have red mite in your coop is to either check with a torch at night or to Sellotape a dark coloured straw along the bottom of a perch or near the nest boxes and check it during the day to see if red mite have hidden themselves there. Also, lift up the roosts and inspect the ends where they fit into the coop - a perfect hiding place! They are very tiny and start out as a grey colour, but turn a dark red once they have had a meal! Treating the coop with Poultry Shield (liquid that will run into the cracks) and then dusting the coops and bedding with DE every time you clean them out is a good preventative, but in the warmer summer months they are even more difficult to keep at bay and can cause your hens to become unwell through loss of blood. A pale coloured comb and hens looking off colour, as well as possibly going off lay is a good indicator something might be amiss. There are a number of suggested treatments to keep coops red mite free, and one is old fashioned creosote, BUT, it is not easy to get hold of, especially in small amounts and your hens must be kept away until the strong fumes have died off. Whilst plastic coops are an expensive option, a good second hand one will last you for years and although they will still be prone to red mite, they are an awful lot easier to eradicate from plastic than they are from wood, plus they are low maintenance. Scaly leg mite: These little mites burrow under the scales of your hens legs and can cause anything from raised looking scales to the legs to looking very deformed in bad/long term cases. A mild case may be treated by soaking the hens legs in warm soapy water for a while and using a brush on their legs to dislodge the mites. After that you can coat their legs with Vaseline or oil, but this will need reapplying every couple of days. There are also products on the market that will treat scaly leg mite but bad infestations may need something stronger prescribed by your vet. You will also need to treat the coop. Do you have any good tips for getting rid of lice and mites? Especially red mites! All suggestions and questions are welcome. Im going off for a good scratch! Images: 1. Marriages layers pellets with Flubenvet 2. Lice eggs on the base of feathers 3. Red mite, after a feed 4. Northern fowl mite faeces on feathers 5. Scaly leg mite
Posted on: Tue, 20 Jan 2015 21:16:10 +0000

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