What are Mites, Lice and Parasites in Chickens?

There are many different parasites that can cause noticeable symptoms in your chickens, the most common are:

  1. Red Mites
  2. Lice
  3. Worms (including Gape Worm)

They are all a parasite infestation that can manifest internally or externally on or in your hen. Mites and lice live on the skin of you hen, they sustain themselves by drinking your hen’s blood which can cause your hen to become deficient in iron. Internal parasites such as thread worm or gape worm live inside your hen’s body using it as a host, feeding on them from the inside. All are disgusting and horrible for both you and your hen but most are very easily prevented and treatable.

What Are the Symptoms of Mites, Lice and Parasites?

The symptoms can vary depending on the type if infestation but can be shown as some of the below:

  • Pale combe and wattles, due to having an iron deficiency.
  • Irritability and increased scratching.
  • Loss of weight and overall condition.
  • Wet and runny poo, possibly with worms visible in the stool.
  • Gasping, gape worm is a parasite living in the respiratory system and cause gasping and problems breathing.
  • Loss of appetite and lathery.
  • Reluctance to go inside and sleep their coop.

How to Treat for Lice, Mites and Parasites?

Prevention is Key!

To avoid getting and to treat mites, lice and parasites one of the main things you can do is to keep your environment clean. Have a read of our guide on how to prevent mites and lice by keeping a strict cleaning regime. (Link to Red Mite Blog)

For external parasites such as fleas and red mite you can use DE Powders, these are very effective at killing lice and mites, you should also use this as a preventative measure and dust your hens every month. Washing your hens is also a great way to keep them clean and mite free, keeping feather footed bird’s feet feathers well-trimmed in the winter is also essential. You can use our Benessence Aloe Vera pet shampoo, this is a great natural shampoo and Aloe Vera has been proven very effective in soothing skin irritations caused by mites and lice.

For suspected internal worms, again prevention is key, make sure you use Flubenvet with flubendazole in your feed, treat every 2-3 months much like you would a cat or dog as a preventative, this should stop any parasites taking hold.

Again, keeping a clean run area is very important, you can use our Virkon disinfectant sachets and Poultry Cleaners to kill most unwanted nasties.

We don’t often advise against natural remedies but natural preventatives are not proven as effective as keeping a clean environment and regularly treating with Flubenvet.

If your infestation is very severe you may need to consult a vet.