Did you know that your chickens will clean themselves of most vermin if they are provided with the correct tools to do that? For a chicken and, indeed, all birds, there is nothing as sweet and cleansing as a dust bath.
The dust will smother most parasites, which will obviously cause them to either fall or dislodge themselves. The wood ash is particularly helpful in regards to mites and lice. The dust will also clean the body of oil, dust (surprising) and any debris that may be in the feathers.
Most chickens will find the right place to make their own wallow. If their pen does not have a suitable spot, then a large pan of sand put into their cage would be a must.
Signs of Lice Infestation
Unlike human lice that feed on our blood, the lice which attack chickens eat feathers or shedding skin. A chicken with a normal beak stands a good chance of keeping this infestation under control, but a clipped or oversized beak means that they may not be able to help themselves. In its annoyance with the lice and its wish to be rid of this irritation, a chicken can pull its own feathers out.
Signs of Poultry Ticks
Ticks are difficult to spot on chickens as they usually feed on them at night. These blood-sucking critters can cause anaemia, decreased egg production, weight loss and general weakness.
In the case of ticks, it is the environment that needs to be treated, not the chicken itself. Bob Gunn Termite Solutions has fully trained staff members who are able to administer quality, environmentally friendly applications to assist your chickens back to good health.
Signs of Mite Infestation
Common mites in backyard coops are the Northern Fowl mite, Common Chicken mite and the Scaly Leg mite. They hide in the cracks and crevices of the roost and pen during the day and, much like ticks, feed on the chickens at night.
These critters, too, can cause anaemia, decreased egg laying, pale combs and their skin and feathers can become quite irritable and sore. Lungs and other organs can also be targeted by these killers and, yes, in heavy populations, death is a real possibility for the host.
If your chickens suffer a bout of scaly leg mite, you can smother them with something like Vaseline petroleum jelly or mineral oil. For more information on poultry pest management, contact our office in Brisbane today.