Wood ash kills lice and mites that live on chickens. Yes, just the plain old ash you get from burning fire wood. If you happen to have a wood-burning fireplace or a wood stove in your home, you already have a way to create your own natural treatment to rid your flock of mites and lice.
The house I am currently living in has a gas fireplace, but I have a good friend who heats her house with a wood stove. I regularly fill up a bucket with the ash she would otherwise throw away to take home and dump in my flock’s dusting areas, on Bee’s advice.
Providing my flock with ash to dust in whenever they like helps avoid the problem of external parasite infestations.
It is not unusual for chickens to have a few mites on them, but just like anything else, mites and lice become a problem when there are too many of them trying to feast upon your birds. If your birds’ combs and wattles are looking pale and dull, if your birds are always scratching at their ears, shaking their heads a lot or if you see mites, lice or nits on your birds, you may have a real issue.
I had been worried about these creepy-crawlies when I started my flock this past summer. Initially I made the mistake of going out and buying some chemical insecticide poultry dust… thankfully before I opened it up, I ran across Bee’s story of the Gnarly Bunch, and about how she used wood ash to rid her own birds of mites and lice.
I’m so glad I did! (Which reminds me – I still need to return the chemical-stuff to the store from whence it came!)
If you ever find you need to treat a bird - or a whole flock - for mite / lice infestation, plan ahead and get everything you will need, together. A suggested list would be:
- A helper
- 1 large bowl (big enough to fit most of a chicken into)
- Plenty of wood ash (make sure it’s a few days old and not smoldering… unless you wish to cook your birds instead of cure them)
- NuStock ointment
Fill your large bowl part way with a good amount of wood ash, and be sure to have more ash in reserve.
The best time to treat your flock is after dark, when your birds are roosting and drowsy. It’s much easier to catch your birds in a closed coop… in fact chances are you’ll be able to walk right up and gently pull the bird you wish to work on down from its roost. It might flap a bit in surprise, but chances are it will calm down quickly as it will be rather sleepy and subdued after bed time.
If light is a problem, then try first thing in the morning before your birds have been let outside.
Treat one bird at a time by setting it in your bowl of wood ash. While holding the bird with one hand (or by enlisting a friend to steady the bird while you rub the ash on it) work the ash deep into the feathers and onto the skin. Try to cover every inch of your bird, being careful around the eyes and nostrils.
Once your chicken has been fully saturated with ash, have your helper apply NuStock around the eyes, nostrils (being careful not to block the nostrils with the ointment) the legs and around the vent. (Or perhaps your helper could hold the bird and allow you to do the dirty work… ) Please resist the urge to vigorously shake the excess ash from your chicken…
If you have observed nits (louse eggs) which may look like dirt particles around the feather shafts, close to the skin, you’ll want to coat those nits with NuStock also. The NuStock will kill off the eggs, which is important if you want to break the life-cycle of these parasites.
NeemOil should be sprayed on the roosts of your coop to kill off any parasites running about on them. This can be done either before your flock goes to bed the night you plan on treating them, or the morning after. The wood ash and NuStock will control the parasites on your birds for a time, and likewise with the Neem Oil on the perches.
Your birds may look rather rough for a few days, but they’ll be feeling much better without those awful critters chewing on them and making them miserable! Provided your birds are otherwise healthy, the eggs they lay after being treated should be fine to eat - - after all, you haven’t used any chemicals or insecticides at all.
And whether or not you have had an issue with infestation… be sure to keep wood ash available to your birds to dust in year round. It will go a long way to keep your flock healthy and happy. You may even see your birds eat a bit of the ash every now and then. This helps control internal parasites and neutralize other toxins, naturally. Your chickens will know if they need it, so just provide it for them and let nature take care of the rest.
Very well written and concise! Once again, better and better...thank you, Leigh!ReplyDelete
I have a great teacher - what can I say?? :o)Delete
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If winter ever comes or at least rain, I will have plenty of wood ash for mine to dust themselves. 80 degrees at the beginning of December is weird for Texas too.ReplyDelete
Wonderful! I'm sure I'll be linking this back soon enough :DReplyDelete
been using this ever since reading about it re "the gnarly bunch" ,best thing ever & its freeReplyDelete
I read somewhere that someone had also added some sulpher powder to their dusting box in addition to the dirt and ash. I'd like to hear Bee's comments on sulfer in the dust bath area. I kind-of wondered if inhaling that may not be the best idea!ReplyDelete
Chickens might also eat a bit of ash if they need the minerals. It contains a large amount of potassium along with a lot of other minerals that the tree needed to build it's structure. These minerals are not harmed or changed by burning the wood but remain in the ash.ReplyDelete
I didn't know that ash killed mites. We use Diatomaceous earth and ash in our dust baths because the ash contains Vitamin K and is a detoxifier. I spray the roosts with white vinegar and citrus oil to keep our coop parasite free Lisa/www.fresh-eggs-daily.comReplyDelete
Lisa - a very good idea indeed to use vinegar and citrus oil on the roosts! As for the Diatomaceous earth, many of us are moving away from its use - especially in a coop (in a deep litter method bedding) as it kills off the beneficial nematodes that feed on the larvae of mites and lice. I just recently learned this. Check out our "Deep Litter Method" tab for some more information on this. I have found it to be quite fascinating!Delete
WHAT IS THE VENT I AM NEWDelete
The vent is where the eggs and feces are expelled from the chicken.Delete
Nice. I will try this too. I have been using diatomaceous earth as well, but this does seem like a better method.ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! This is good info to know...I think my chickens would enjoy the ash from our wood stove :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for the link. They have wood ash in the coop in a dusting box and use it all the time. No lice or nits on the roo. I really think he got his wattles wet and they froze. The bottom portion is black and his comb has some rough looking spots. Don't have any Nu Stock yet but will order some. I will use bag balm or something similar until I get the Nu Stock.ReplyDelete
You can also massage petroleum jelly into their combs to keep from frost bit.Delete
This is great to know. Can we just place the ash in their dust holes they made?ReplyDelete
Absolutely! That's what I do. Just refresh it regularly as it loses effectiveness once it gets wet.Delete
Is it safe to put wood ash in the dusting box by itself or should I add sand or dirt to it to protect their lungs.ReplyDelete
I would recommend mixing it with sand and dirt. Chickens love the feeling of that heavy dirt under their feathers and they can get pretty excited about their dust baths, throwing the dirt every which way. The sand and dirt will also help preserve the ash so it doesn't all get thrown out of the dusting area (or blown away by the wind) as fast.Delete
Just came across this blog from BackYardChicken web site. I'm going to have to try something. Chickens backs are getting bare and red - most of them were this way when we got them and I am just now figuring out it's probably a combination of mites (maybe lice!) and Mr. Roo plus the usual pecking of each other.ReplyDelete
So the best way is to mix the ash with sand and/or dirt? Do mites live in the ground as well? Our run is not under a roof - is the ash mixture ruined after it rains? (Say if I put it in a swimming pool or even on a pile in the run? How often do I need to add ash to it? I am NOT looking forward to this! All adult birds and they don't like to be picked up.
Should I bleach out the coop and spray with (something - what's good for the coop?)
Does painting the coop help to keep the mites out of the cracks, etc.?
Do I need to remove the PDZ from the poo-boards or can I spray/bleach/etc. around it?
Obviously, I'm new to chickens, so I have lots of questions about how best to get this done - and my poor chickens are looking naked with the lack of feathers on their backs and bums.
Thanks so much!
OK - let me try to answer all your questions (it's great that you are asking! Your chickens will thank you!).Delete
"So the best way is to mix the ash with sand and/or dirt?"
If you are going to pick them up and treat each one of them to help rid them of their infestation, use plain wood ash. For their dust bath, mix dirt, sand and wood ash to help keep them lice & mite-free.
"Do mites live in the ground as well?"
Mites live and breed on living critters.
"Our run is not under a roof - is the ash mixture ruined after it rains? (Say if I put it in a swimming pool or even on a pile in the run?)"
Yes - you need to put fresh ash in after every rain. But... make sure you have drainage in your pool if you use one or it will turn into a... well - a pool!
"How often do I need to add ash to it?"
Once you have the issue under control, you can just add ash every week or so for a while. If there is no sign of a bad infestation, then drop it down to once a month. If you have a regular supply of ash, then do it more often - your chickens won't mind a bit!
"Should I bleach out the coop and spray with (something - what's good for the coop?)"
I would highly recommend Neem Oil - you can get it at most garden stores and at Tractor Supply. It's all natural. Follow the dilution directions on the bottle and spray your perches liberally. Some spray their bedding too, but this depends on the amount of ventilation you have. You can sprinkle wood ash throughout your bedding too.
"Does painting the coop help to keep the mites out of the cracks, etc.?"
Check out our "Recipes & DIY" tab at the top. There is a wonderful recipe for bug-killing whitewash on there that will keep bugs at bay for quite some time! Just use Neem Oil on the perches but you can white wash any other areas in the coop constructed of wood if you like.
"Do I need to remove the PDZ from the poo-boards or can I spray/bleach/etc. around it?"
I don't think external parasites would thrive in PDZ. I would guess that just turning it and mixing it well would kill off any mites or lice that might have fallen into it. Then spray the Neem Oil around the rest of the coop.
Good luck - let us know how it goes!
Here I am AGAIN fighting Northern Foul Mites. I spray the chickens with Poultry Protector but this is getting costly but it works on the chickens. Now I have to attack the hen house itself which is no small task as it is 12 X 24. Will clean out the shavings and use the Neem Oil on everything. I have grow out pens with week old chicks, should they be removed before using the Neem Oil? I have been fighting these nasty bugs for 6 months and can't win the war. I'm almost thinking of not having chickens any longer. This is the most frustrating thing I have ever had to deal with. I love my chickens!
Yes - it would be wise to move the babies before spraying. Neem oil is fairly safe, but could be inhaled when sprayed and cause respiratory issues.Delete
Also - please see THIS article about feeding garlic. It could help you keep your flock and help keep the mites away.
I, too, have been fighting mites for a couple of years. They always seem to exhaust me and win. I'm IN LOVE with our Darlings (aka pet chickens) and give them a wonderful, natural life (along with retirement benefits!) and yet these mites have created trouble in paradise. It's almost become a full time job fighting these horrible vampires. Although I've had wood ash in their dustbath when we have it, I haven't ever heard of using it directly for treating them. It's strangely comforting to know that others feel the same way. I entertain the thought of not having anymore chickens because this. But I love them too much. :-) Thanks for penning the info. Now off to get NuStock! I've already got the Neem Oil.Delete
I hope I did the right thing!ReplyDelete
Yesterday, between a bunch of interruptions, I got the coop clean - took out the poo-boards and nesting boxes, raked out the pine shavings, hosed it down w/ plain water - scrubbed w/ bleach water - sprayed with Poultry Protector. It got kind of late, so it didn't dry completely. Didn't put any shavings on the floor last night because of that. Just in the nesting boxes. Only got 3 eggs yesterday because all the disturbance, I guess...???
So I go outside to shut the coop door later and there are 5 hens roosting on top of the feeder shelter again - pick them up, put them in, shut the door! Silly hens. They don't like to have their coop touched!
Today, I decided to go with wood ash, as we never did clean out the wood burner yet, so had plenty. Hope it works...It was a little too cool to take everyone swimming. (I saw another post on Back Yard Chickens to use 3 different dunking tanks: First w/ soap and salt, Second w/ water and vinegar, and the last w/ just plain water.) Got all but the roo and one hen that I couldn't catch, plus one hiding under the coop for the past 2 days. Seems she did something or said something to the others and they are all mad at her. She's flighty anyway. But under the coop is NOT suppose to be accessible but she squeezed in when the others chased her.
It went fairly well, just messy. Whoever's post I read that said that they are a lot more docile on their backs was completely correct. They still fought at first, but decided to let me do my thing so they could get it over with! I didn't really see any bugs when I looked, but then I guess they can hide quite well????
Had someone wanting 2 doz eggs, so I'm glad to do something that doesn't have an egg with-holding time.
I'll look closer tonight after lights out. I hope I don't see anything! My lights are ready to go out right now and it's only 12:30 pm. I am (excuse the expression here) pooped!!!!!
Good luck! I'll keep my fingers crossed for you! Also - feeding about a clove of garlic per bird can keep these critters at bay... because it makes your birds taste bad to them. See THISfor the complete article.Delete
Thank you! This is great info. Is the wood ash safe for chicks?ReplyDelete
Yup - it sure is! This year seems to be bad for mites. Dust those chicks well and make sure they have clean bedding. Also check out This Link for more info on managing mites. Good luck -Delete
Just remember that wood ash and water make lye. Lye doesn't stop burning after its dry. Be careful.ReplyDelete
Are you speaking of Neem essential oil to keep parasites away?ReplyDelete
This is what I use. (Click Here)Delete
Ugh, in Canada we can no longer get Neem oil...what else can I use in the coop? I have millions of mites, and don't want to use a 'Sevin' based product....ReplyDelete
Here are some thoughts.Delete
When you have a mite infestation on your birds and coop, you'll need to remove all bedding and any other items that would harbor the mites and their eggs. You'll want to burn the bedding and do a thorough clean-out on the coop.
After a good clean-out and treatment on the birds, the neem oil was recommended to spray into crevices in places such as joints where the wall/floor meet, roost edges, etc - these are areas in which the mites hide themselves and their eggs. The thought is that the neem oil will suffocate the eggs and prevent them from hatching.
Folks have had good luck using other oils instead of the neem to accomplish the same effect. Even plain cooking oil sprayed along the floor/wall edges, joists, where the roost attaches to the wall, etc. can help with that process.
One thing I have used in a preventive manner is to make a vinegar/orange cleaner like the one shown Here. After it has steeped and is ready to use, I put it into a spray bottle and add several drops each of lavender and peppermint essential oils.
I use this to spray in the crevices of the roosts, nestboxes, etc. as a prevention from time to time. If I were cleaning out a coop like you will need to do, I would use it in all the crevices after it has been thoroughly cleaned out.
Please stop over to the forum where you can interact with others on this topic. There are many folks that have great ideas and experience that will be helpful!
Mites, Lice & Other Creepy Things
Natural Chicken Keeping Forum: Mites, Lice & Other Creepy ThingsDelete
Is there any worry that the mites will get into your own house?ReplyDelete
Not generally. These mites tend to be species specific, thus fowl mites can't live for long periods on people, dogs or cats. They only live and breed on birds.Delete
Click HERE for more info on mites.
I can't get NuStock ointment :0(. Can you suggest another option? Is it effective because it smothers the eggs? I'm trying to come up with a suitable alternative......ReplyDelete
Yes - it is effective because it smothers the eggs. You can use olive oil, Vaseline... even cooking spray. Make use of what you have.Delete
It has been a bad year for mites!
I mentioned wood ash for mite control to someone dealing with mites and another person said that if wood ash gets wet it makes lye which is very bad for chickens. Do you know if this is correct?ReplyDelete
While it is true that wood ash turns into lye when wet, we are not applying wet wood ash to chickens. And chickens do a great job of shaking and preening dirt and ash out of their feathers. We have yet to hear any reports of chickens being hurt in any way from the use of wood ask for mites/lice. :-) Hope this helps.ReplyDelete
Great to know that mites can't survive on people and furry pets. We made a new chook house for our new bantons and after putting them in we found mites on us! Now I'll have to treat my old fock and their chook house as well as the new ones... People who sell chooks (even free range) should treat their birds before they sell them! Thank you for all the advice... I read that Neem oil interfers with bug/parasites reproduction. Good to know it kills them too! P.S. had to have a good shower (and made my man have one too) to get the mites off us. Now I know how the poor chooks feel, I'll make sure to stay proactive to keep the suckers away.ReplyDelete
Thanks that is so helpful, I have been using chemicals on my chickens and I dont like it because it is TOXIC, expensive, and not working. P.s. I am only 13 so it is really hard for me to raise chickens on my own, because I make 5 a week and I know A LOT about farming/animals but the chemicals I am using dont work so I have started the garlic trick a few days ago and soon I will use the ash and vinger trick ;)ReplyDelete
Welcome, Deanna! Good for you for doing your research! You'll find that many adults - even those who have been raising chickens for years - don't know about many of the natural ways to deal with common problems. Keep doing your research and feel free to ask any questions you have. Your chickens are lucky to have such an intelligent, open minded person taking care of them!Delete
I meant $5.00 not just 5.ReplyDelete
Hi I have a silky bantam sitting on eggs at the moment and today I noticed mites crawling all over the eggs when she got off to eat. I will use wood ash on her but what about the chicks when they hatch. Will it hurt to sprinkle ash over the eggs for a couple of days. Eggs are due to hatch in approx one wk.... any advice would be great and helpful...thanks leeReplyDelete
I'm so sorry I missed your question! Wood ash is safe for young and old, so it's fine to sprinkle the ash on the eggs and on the chicks. Be sure mamma gets a thorough rub down with ash right away. This will usually take care of the issue before the chicks hatch.Delete
Not a reply, but a question: if you use wood ash as a dust and Neem oil on perches and in coops are you able to continue to eat the eggs or should you wait for a time? My 10 year old rooster has mites, and I want to use something natural. Thank you for your good advice!Delete
Jan - there will be no need to stop eating the eggs. Both neem oil and wood ash are 100% natural and should not pose a health concern with the eggs.Delete
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Well - I'm not sure I would recommend wood ash for kids. Chickens don't take baths aside from dust bathes. When wood ash gets wet there is a chemical reaction that creates lye. So if you use wood ash on a child, you would have to be certain it was brushed out completely before giving the child a bath or shower.Delete
Sorry for your troubles.
How do you get the chickens to eat the garlic? I had a hen die this morning and she had mites all over her. I don't know if that is what killed her but they were all over the box she was sitting in. I will be busy cleaning tomorrow. There was another hen sitting in there with her. I am hoping she will be alive in the morning so I can take care of her.ReplyDelete
Also, I bought some cracked corn yesterday that had weevils in it. That wouldn't have made her sick would it? I didn't think it would hurt them since they eat bugs.ReplyDelete
So sorry for your loss! Mites can kill a chicken in just a few days and will then move on to the next chicken. Also, if the corn you purchased had weevils in it, you need to return it and not feed it to your chickens. The reason is that if it had weevils, what else could be in there? Mold is deadly to chickens (and pretty much everything else) and will kill a chicken very quickly.Delete
As for the garlic, you'll find if you put it on their food, most chickens will gobble it right up. Start with a smaller amount and then boost the amount you give them over time.
Thank you for your answer. I have a lot of cleaning to do in there today and I am going to boil some garlic in water and spray that around the nest also to see if that helps keep them away. So just to be sure, can I sprinkle garlic powder or garlic juice on the food?Delete
Yes - you can put fresh garlic, garlic powder or garlic juice right in their food. You also might want to get some Neem Oil (it's used in a diluted form in a spray bottle) to treat the wood walls and perches in your coop. Sprinkle good amounts of wood ash or DE in the bedding to get those nasty critters under control.Delete
Best of luck!
Thank you! I better get started. This might take a while. I only have three chickens now but I saw millions of mites in that nest when I took it out. Hopefully most of them were in there and that got them.Delete
I've been reading all the posts and don't want to be redundant, but am a bit confused with all the great information on here. My hen has not eaten much in about a month I honestly don't know how she is staying alive. I bathed her today and discovered she has bugs possibly lice. Kind of rice shaped light tan in color. They were all over me so my other concern is for my cockatoo, and my 2 African Grey's in the house. I gave my hen a dusting of te she weighs almost nothing and basically stands with head down, eyes closed often shaking the head side to side with beak open as if to vomit but never does. She has a very fowl odor. I've said to my kids it smells like something died outside, only to realize today that it is my hen. Are these the symptoms of lice?ReplyDelete
You absolutely DO need to get rid of the bugs, but I'm afraid it sounds like your hen has Coryza. She needs a broad spectrum antibiotic ASAP! You can usually buy good antibiotics at your local farm store. Please get some for her first thing in the morning. (Coryza is NOT a threat to your house birds. Only chickens can get it.)Delete
HERE is more information on Coryza.
Also - the external parasites, regardless of if they are mites or lice, have made your bird seriously anemic. This may have lowered her immune system and could be why she became susceptible to a disease like Coryza. You need to feed your hen raw liver - as much as she'll eat. If she won't eat, put Poly-Vi-Sol baby vitamins (without iron) in her water.
Sorry to hear your bird is so very sick!
Thank you so much for responding. I'm not able to get antibiotic anywhere. I just got home with the poly vi sol. I took strawberries out for a treat and Big Mamma came running out and put her beak down and nibbled a little. :) I will try the poly vi sol nowDelete
This is a different type of question, not about mites, etc. Fairly new to backyard chicks, one of my hens hatched 2 eggs aprox 1 mo. ago.. I kept the 3 confined to a separate pen until about a week ago, when a family member thought it best to let them out during the day. I Worried about that because we have hawk, owls and even bald eagles in the area. Last evening I called for them to come to eat, they were at the back of our over 2 acres of which about 1 3/4 is pasture grass. I have 1 rooster, 3 hens + the two new chicks. When one did not come up for dinner last night, I knew something was wrong so I went and brought it up. It walked along fence line in bushes to coop. Mama would have nothing to do with it. Managed to separate it into separate pen but then I could really see the problem. It's entrails were out of its body at the butt and dragging the ground. Did my rooster to hop her and tear her up or maybe she caught herself on something to tear her little butt up and out. I knew it couldn't live long and it died during the night. It was getting to be a really good size and I just think rooster got too froggy. Anyone else ever hear of this? I do blame myself for I think they should have stayed in a safer confined place for at least a few more weeks. When can you let the chicks run with the big birds? Thanks for any help. K in Jacksonville, FLReplyDelete
I do not think your rooster did this. More likely a predator got hold of the chick or it somehow got stuck on something sharp and pulled away, tearing the flesh.Delete
I'm very sorry for the loss of your chick, but these things do happen every now and then. :(
Do you use pure neem oil to spray on your nesting boxes etc or is it diluted with something? And if so, at what ratio?
Neem Oil should be diluted with water according to the directions on the label.Delete
I have a rooster who didnt have feathers on his chest for a few years. I came across an article about using wood ash. It worked like a charm after only one ash bath. I also spayed Neem oil in their barn.ReplyDelete
So happy to hear your rooster is doing better!Delete
A friend of mine who kept chickens once told me of butchering in the Fall only to discover the skin was crawling with lice! We had just brought home our first flock and I was so grossed out. I heard about using wood ashes and put a box in our coop. Our birds loved it amd used it all Winter. We're now in our second Winter with our birds and once again they have their box of ashes to bathe in (I've even seen them eating it occasionally) and so far they are a very healthy flock and we've had no troubles with either internal or external parasites.ReplyDelete
Great info! We just started our little flock (we have 18 baby chickies in the brooder) and I am glad to come across some advice I can use in the future. I'm really enjoying your posts! Thanks!ReplyDelete
What happens if it rains after the chickens ash bathe? Will it hurt them? Do i need to keep their ash bath under cover incase it rains?ReplyDelete
Hutch - my own chickens have been dusting in wood ash for years without any trouble. That said, I do keep the ash under cover so it does not turn to lye when it gets wet. If it does get wet, just replace it. :)Delete
Thank you. You answered my question.Delete
If wood ash turns to lye when it's wet how are the chickens not affected when it rains?ReplyDelete
And how do you make sure they're ash free if you need to bath themReplyDelete
Should I worry about the ash getting wet when it rains?ReplyDelete
Our rescue rooster shakes his head sideways. He has done so since his previous owner (mom) got him at maybe 6 months, he's over a year old now and has always done this head shake thing. Is that ear mites or possibly just psychological weirdness? We got him a couple months ago, and a month ago noticed he had bad lice crawling around the feather bases near his vent. His 'mom' helped rub nustock on him and the lice seem cured but I don't think the head shaking has ever changed. Maybe it seemed to go away but when he went thru psychological trauma (long silly story) recently I noticed the head shaking again and it's been pretty steady lately. He's in the throws of puberty and only getting teased by flirting thru the fence with the neighbor's hens. He's mostly cooped except evening free ranging.ReplyDelete
I'll try the garlic and chili pepper cause he won't let me pick him up since he met the hens and is a very frustrated chicken! We are trying to arrange a date with the neighbors. The barred rock and him are total sweethearts. The red-head hen raised her hackle at him and pecked him in the face machine-gun style thru the chain link fence once! He has to rely entirely on his wits with this fence flirting. He works thru a while series of different approaches with them from wing-drop drama dance to klutzy strutting, pretending to not be interested, sharing treats and squatting down hiding behind objects (hoping they will approach and he'll pounce on them: surprise!!
LOL!! Yup - sounds like a cockerel to me!ReplyDelete
As far as the head shaking, it could certainly be mites. I would suggest waiting until after he goes to bed and quietly getting him down off the perch and dusting him very, very thoroughly with wood ash or diotomacious earth (DE) from head to toe (just don't let him breathe too much in). Pay special attention to his ear area.
If he still shakes his head a few days after treatment, then it might be something neurological.
A couple of my pullets have feathers missing all around their vent area, under their wings and on the back. They are not molting as aren't even one year old yet. The skin area is red and hot. I believe they have mites. I applied Nu Stock - can we eat their eggs?ReplyDelete
Thank you, I will definetly try it!ReplyDelete
One of my five chickens got mites really bad, or lice but she cannot walk but we treated her and the coop, will she come around and walk again?ReplyDelete
So glad and grateful have found this. I was this close to going and buying poultry dust.ReplyDelete
2 of my girls were shaking their heads last night. 2 more joined in this afternoon while I was frantically calling friends for wood ash. They all got dusted tonight, thank god! I will be spraying the undersides of the roosts, poop tables, ramps, and the door opening with neem in the morning. I also mixed some ash through the pdz on the poop tables. Now if only I could find nu-stock available. TSC let me down and the co-op closes very early on saturdays and are not opened on Sundays. I am a new chicken owner and greatly rely on and appreciate folks who so kindly share their wisdom online. Thank you!
We have a PELLET STOVE. IS THAT ASH O KAY AND WILL IT WORK THE SAME ASReplyDelete
REGULAR WOOD ASH? PELLET"S ARE MADE OF WOOD AND BURN TO AN ASH
Ash from your pellet stove should work just fine.Delete
Dose wood pellets contain chemicals?Delete
Some may and many don't. Read the bag they come in - it should list anything the pellets have in them.Delete
Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your postsReplyDelete
Thanks for posting this infoReplyDelete
Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative.ReplyDelete
Just read more on your site..will the little 2 week old chicks dust themselves if i put a little ash/sand dust area (like a litter box)Lol i know that sounds lazy but seriously they are fast litte buggers and hard to catch. You really have some great info and are probably so tired of the mite issue, as for myself you helped me tremendously. Thanks in advance!!ReplyDelete
Yes! Most young chicks will happily dust themselves in a mini dust bath you provide for them. Try it out!Delete
Can i use the ash from à bonfire ?ReplyDelete
Yes - as long as they have not gotten wet. :)Delete
I read someone giving their sick bird antibiotics, did you know garlic is a natural antibiotic. I also invested in a silver generator for making my own colloidal silver. You can purchase that at Amazon from 50.00 - 70.00. When I see one of my chickens not acting like there chipper selves I give them all garlic mixed in their fermented feed and also add 2 tsp of colloidal silver to their 1/2 gallon of water. It does the trick everytime. I lost a bird last year after getting an antibiotic from a vet and obviously it didn't work. So I decided from now on I will treat them naturally as I treat myself.ReplyDelete
Hi there. Thanks for all the good info. I have 8 chickens. 5 Production reds, 2 RIR, and one BSL. The first 4 PRs did great and are looking good at about 11 weeks old now. They are outside. I just got the others about a week ago. They are about 2-3 weeks old now. I noticed that their down is really thin under their feathers almost like a mohawk. And now some of their feathers look like just quills. They came this way from the store. I figured it may be mites. I haven't been able to see any crawling around but I see what looks like little bitty white spots. Are those mites? I know about garlic on humans and that blood suckers don't like them. I will sprinkle some in their food and try the ash bath here too. Would it be okay to sprinkle garlic powder on the chicks themselves until I get some wood ash going?ReplyDelete
Thank you for your time and I appreciate the information.
White spots could be lice. Look for clusters of eggs around your birds vents and pick them off.Delete
Use wood ash on every inch of the birds. I am not sure if putting garlic powder directly on your birds (topically) will help... but perhaps it wouldn't hurt to try. (There are some jokes here about 10 more herbs and spices...)
Last, put coconut oil, nu-stock or another safe and natural, oil-based ointment on any eggs you couldn't get off the vent area. The oil will prevent them from hatching as they won't be able to get oxygen.
Good luck. These pests are a real pain!
So glad I found your blog! A lot of useful info! We got 3 hens a couple of years ago and discovered we love having chickens. They are so comical, with distinct personalities and it's relaxing to watch them running around scratching for goodies in the dirt and fluffing their feathers. A couple of weeks ago we got 3 new ones that are about 2 months old. When we first got them they were shaking their heads a lot, but since being out in the yard and bathing in the dust they seem to not be shaking their heads as often. Ever since we got them tho, I have been itching like crazy. Are there any mites that you know of that would survive on humans? Should I give myself a wood ash bath? :) Thank youReplyDelete
There are some types of mites that may bite humans certain times of day, but they do not live on humans. You may want to spray your coop down with Neem Oil (follow the dilution directions on the bottle and put it in a spray bottle).Delete
I have about 30 chicks ready to move into my coop. I have not had chickens in this coop for about 3 weeks to a month. I was about to treat for mites before my chickens were stolen from me by predators. I did not know for sure if that was the problem, but I was thinking it was probable. My question is, can mites live without a host? I plan to give the coop a thorough cleaning this afternoon. I am wondering if I need to treat the coop as if it had mites...ReplyDelete
Jennifer - yes, mites can live without a host for a time. I would go ahead and spray the coop down with diluted Neem oil at least 24 hours before putting your chicks in their new home.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the info. Where can I get wood ash?ReplyDelete
If you have a fireplace, that's a good start. Or... have a good bonfire and collect the cooled ash into buckets and cover to prevent moisture. If you have any friends that heat their houses with wood stoves, ask them - they'll usually be more than happy to give you tons of ash!Delete
My black star hen has great big dry patches with no feathers on both of her sides. They are kind of close to her legs. They are hard and crusty and they have red sores on them. Is that mites? If not, then what is it? How can I help her?ReplyDelete
If you have a rooster, what you may be seeing are sores caused by over-breeding. If that is the case, put a good ointment like Nu-Stock or spray Blu-Kote on those areas. You may also want to consider putting a hen saddle on her (you can find them just by Googling "Hen Saddle"). They are inexpensive and can prevent further damage.Delete
I do not have a rooster. I was just wondering if it could be mange?Delete
Mites can cause skin rashes like mange. (Chickens don't get mange, but mites are related to the critters that cause mange.) Definitely treat your chickens for mites and check for lice too.Delete
Also - watch your flock and watch that hen to see if other birds are picking on her or if she is picking her own feathers. You can buy products at your local feed store to help prevent feather picking if that is the case.
Okay--thank you so much!Delete
I just checked my black star chicken--while I was looking at one of her bald spots an entire handful of feathers came off in my hand. The spot has also grown to more than twice its original size. I have been putting Petroleum Jelly on it daily in the hopes that that would help and it has brought down the redness and helped heal some scabs, but she is still losing feathers. Likewise, she is nearly at the top of the pecking order in our flock, but I have noticed that the one bird who is above her does pick on her a little bit. What should I do to help?Delete
I have some pictures of her bald spot. Is there some way I can post them so I can know what is going on with her?
I am assuming you have already treated your chickens for mites? If not, please do so right away. It can sometimes take more than one treatment to rid your flock of the issue.Delete
Petroleum jelly is OK to help moisturize, but in this case I'd go with something like Nu-stock or Blu-Kote which also treat fungal issues of the skin.
If you want to email an image, my email address is:
Just adding on to my first comment--I would think it to be really weird for a chicken to get mites when there is two feet of snow outside.ReplyDelete
Chickens can have mites any time of year. When it is cold, the mites just stay warm by staying on the chicken at all times.Delete
new to keeping chickens i have a mite or lice problem i go into the pen and feel them crawling all over me a friend said that they red mites please helpReplyDelete
Please read the article above and try the methods suggested. If you can't find wood ash, try buying diotomaceous earth and use that... or as a last resort, you could buy the dusting powder made for killing mites on chickens.Delete
I read on another website to use dawn dish soap and apple cider vinegar as a spa treatment to get rid of lice. Do you have any experience with that and would that be even more effective, you think?ReplyDelete
While Dawn and ACV are very good for baths, they may not rid your birds of external parasites very well.Delete
I have found this site extremely useful. thank u so much. I have recently adopted 5 hens and a roo who were abandoned. A born and raised big city girl, it's a challenge. My elderly mother and grand mother love these little boogers! !! We don't have much money so the home remedies are crucial to their livelihood. My question is when the roo pecks the hens is it due to mites? And how long do the fathers take to come back?ReplyDelete
This article might answer some of your questions as to why your hens are missing feathers on their backs:Delete
Chicken Sex Explained
My hens are losing feathers on their back like crazy. While not using chemicals what aside from garlic, pot ash, and oil rub downs are best? Have babies and teenagers separated and when can i combine them? They aren't my hens babies. .ReplyDelete
Generally the type of feather loss you are seeing is as a result of mating by a rooster. If you don't have a rooster, you may have a bully in the ranks who is pulling feathers out of the other girls.Delete
Diatomaceous Earth is another good thing to use to help rid birds of external parasites... but unless you are SEEING mites and lice, I'm not sure that is what it is.
Introducing young birds to an established flock is always tough. If the babies are still rather small, you can create a separate area divided by 2" x 4" wire fencing. The smaller birds can squeeze through the fencing but the larger birds can't. This enables the smaller ones to escape from the bigger girls when they need to.
Best of luck!
So I just got 7 little silkies. They have lice!!! They are only 3-4 weeks old. I have been using DE on them. I clean the makeshift brooder daily with water and vinegar. I put clean bedding in it after I dust the entire thing with the DE. I have coated the chicks with the DE to which they gave me the stink eye. I made them a dust bath of it and they had a blast playing in it. This will be day 4 of battling the lice. How long does it take to get rid of? The girl I got them from has no less than 600-700 chickens of all kinds and I'm not sure she does much in the way of pest control.ReplyDelete
Chicks are very vulnerable to external parasites and can die from infestations. If you aren't seeing results from the natural methods, you may need to use something a bit stronger this time. Some folks use Adams Flea and Tick shampoo made for dogs and cats - it can be found at Walmart or in many grocery stores in the animal section.Delete
Awesome! I'm going to try this!ReplyDelete
But I don't have any Nustock, is it completely necessary? What's the Nustock on the eyes, nostrils and legs for?
The NuStockcan help kill off lice eggs (nits) and any lice/mites hiding in the nose, vent, etc. You can also use petroleum jelly but it's not quite as effective.Delete
We have been battling mites/fleas for years now. So frustrating. Have tried de wood ash even Sevin dust. They have no feathers on there necks and head. HelpReplyDelete
Anonymous - it is a BAD year for lice and mites! I've had issues too.Delete
So - when all else fails, I refuse to tell you that you must stay all-natural and organic. That would be great, but sadly it may not work in every case.
So - find Adams Flea & Tick shampoo made for cats and dogs and bathe your chickens with it. Pay special attention to the ears and vent areas, but try not to get it in the eyes.
Rinse well after it has been on your bird for about 2 minutes.
Have a clean area for your chickens to dry off... like a wire dog crate with clean towels or clean bedding in it.
While your birds are drying, clean out that coop and spray all wood surfaces with Neem Oil (mix with water according to the directions on the bottle).
Spray down the run if it is small. If your birds free-range, don't worry about it.
ALL birds that live together must be treated the same day, and the coop must be treated before they go back into it. If you don't focus on killing ALL the bugs at the same time, they'll just keep coming back.
Also - start putting Apple Cider Vinegar in your birds water (about a tablespoon per gallon) and pug garlic in their feed. This combination makes them less "tasty" to external parasites. Be sure to have a dust bath in a dry area for your birds with fresh sand, peat moss, topsoil and a good amount of Diotomaceous Earth... regular dust baths help birds naturally control external parasites.
That should read, "and put garlic in their feed."Delete