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So, I noticed in the summer that my girls had lice - not very badly, but there were a few bugs. I got some DE from Laura and have been dusting them with it and putting it in their dustbathing spot and around the coop, but it's gotten much worse and they are now losing feathers and looking bald in spots (& not as if they are molting - they are breaking the feathers off from excessive grooming). I'd like to treat them. On the backyardchickens forums I've seen Ivermectin mentioned (I've used this before for horses as a wormer). Any suggestions on the best way to treat lice & where I can get something? A lot of the sites mention Sevin dust & Adam's flea & tick, or poultry dust, but as we're in Canada many of these have been banned (and thankfully so - some are carcinogenic!).
Thanks! Hope you are all well.
I took my girls to the vet (Night Owl) and she treated them with a topical spray meant for dogs & cats.It was unbelievable how many lice dropped off! The stuff works for at least a couple months, too (prevents eggs from hatching).
Unfortunately, I think it is only available to veterinarians. I am not sure if you are supposed to stop eating the eggs (probably, but I didn't). It's not 'indicated' for any other than cats and dogs, but it didn't even get on their skin, only their feathers.
If you want, I will see if I can get a bottle.
Permethrin (aka poultry dust) would be my other suggestion, but you'll probably have to go to a farm-store to get it. if you use Ivermectin or anything internal or topical, you'll want to make SURE you're dosing properly.
Thanks Alyssa! I also called Night Owl & they recommended the same - "Ovitrol Plus" spray. They didn't carry it though so suggested I try other vets. Blue Cross on Hastings doesn't carry it - any idea who would? Also, any idea on the dosage for an average hen?
Kristi, most dog & cat vets could probably get it, but you might be hard pressed to get them to sell you a bottle for off-label use. I'll ask my cat vet next time I go in (which is soon, within the next couple of weeks.)
Anyway, she (Dr. MacDonald at Night Owl) just sprayed their feathers, including under the wings, and gently rubbed some on the side of their face and legs. Since you're not applying it directly to the skin, "dose" is not such a big deal. She didn't soak the feathers, just barely dampened them.(I would also say, don't spray the vent area. The stuff is so powerful, if you put it on their legs it'll get where it needs to go).
Are you sweeping out the coop when you change the bedding? I remove all the straw, sweep up a bit, and then sprinkle DE liberally on the platform and floor of the coop (under the bedding) and then also a bit on top of the fresh straw for good measure.
As you've noticed, once you're really infected, you need to treat the girls themselves. I have to say I am an organic sort of person, but it was such a relief the miracle the Ovitrol performed. And how long it lasted. I have only seen ONE lice bug on one of the girls since then, and it's been a couple months. (I check the back of their necks regularly, good place to spot them).
Thanks for the info Alyssa. I'll call a couple other vets, but that would be great if you could ask yours (mine has a home practice so doesn't stock it). I'll let you know if I manage to find it before your appointment. Did it cost you a lot for the visit at Night Owl?
I use pine shavings for bedding the coop, and change it completely about once a month (remove manure daily). At that time I sweep and use DE similar to how you described it. I use straw in the nest boxes and also use DE before I put in the new bedding. My run is sand, and I sprinkle DE in the areas that they like to dustbathe in there, too.
I'm usually also an organic sort, but feel badly for the poor ladies & feel like if I could get the infestation under control ("start over" I could keep on top of it with the DE & not have to re-treat).
Thanks for the info!
I think a regular visit (not including any meds or additional diagnostics) is $60.
My vet is ordering me some Ovitrol Plus. I'll have it next Tuesday.
Great! Is it expensive? I did find Zodiac that Caitlin mentioned, and looking up the active ingredients, they are exactly the same as the Ovitrol Plus (same ingredients, same concentrations). Will you use the Ovitrol Plus yourself? I can return the Zodiac spray if you'd like me to buy the Ovitrol off of you.
Thanks so much for going to all the trouble and just let me know how you want to proceed!
I don't know how much it costs yet.
I looked on Petsmart website and they only have the shampoo Zodiac? Also the ingredients were not exactly the same (at least between the shampoo and the Ovitrol).
I will only use the Ovitrol if I have another bad infestation, or I will keep it around for others to use as needed.
Maybe we should dicuss by phone?
Zodiac has a different carrier than Ovitrol. Zodiac is meant to be absorbed by the skin, whereas Ovitrol is not. Ovitrol can also treat inanimate objects (couches, carpets... or coops, I suppose).
Thanks for this! I like the idea of using Ovitrol rather than Zodiac, knowing this. Next time, I'll get in touch to borrow it from you. Once again, let me know if I can contribute to it, if you still ended up ordering it.
So far, the lice problem seems to be much better - no more live adults that I can see, and the birds are acting fine. Still discarding eggs though. Did you find a good site with info about the two? I'm a researcher so always like to read up on things :-)
my vet told me about the difference between Zodiac & Ovitrol. Sort of like the difference between over-the-counter flea treatments (Hartz, which causes neurological damage in cats) and vet-supplied treatments ("Advantage", for example). But hopefully not that dramatic when applied to feathers!
The Ovitrol was on back-order, but I will be getting it. Started seeing baby lice on Rosie's face again the last few days. :-(
I can't comment on the product you are considering, but I also had chickens cut and pull their feathers off. It looked awful I actually thought Bruna was dying. There were broken feather stems on the floor of the coop and sorry stubs on Bruna's bum as well as many bald spots - on her neck too. I can't catch her so can't say for sure but I think it was not related to lice. She looked totally gross.
The other girls did it too- a bit less dramatically though. I now think it was molting. This was in the fall. Then they all stopped laying too for almost 2 months (they are all back at it now).
A farmer told me chickens don't have enough protein in the winter to lay eggs. Then I got the promo leaflet from the rendering plant telling how many tonnes of chicken feathers they process every year for protein feed from the stems! Could they be eating their own feather stems???.