Lice & Mite Prevention
Lice & Mite Prevention
Lice & mites are minute external parasites that live off of poultry, they are extremely resilient to all types of environmental conditions, including freezing cold temperatures. They are vicious blood-sucking pests that invade your coop attacking poultry compromising their health.
Consider these preventative measures to Stop Lice and Mites
Use a spray that is effective in eliminating lice and mites on poultry. Permethrin based sprays work well, some can be applied directly on chickens, which is handy if you have a severe outbreak. However, if you manage your coop with regular applications of permethrin, you rarely need to do this. The key to here is to apply permethrin every time you clean the chicken house, make spraying for lice and mites a part of your cleaning routine. Apply thoroughly on cleaned floors, walls, and roosts (both sides). There are various products on the market, but find one that can be used on chickens, like Gordons Permethrin 10, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions. When you proactively spray the coop on a regular basis, usually they do not need to spray chickens for lice or mites. I usually spray area when I can let chickens out in their runs, so they are not exposed to the intensity of the spray when it is first applied.
Hint: To make your coop smell wonderful and naturally deter pests and rodents add lavender essential oil to the permethrin spray mixture.
Other Preventative Measures
- Feed apple cider vinegar to chickens 1 Tablespoon per gallon of water in non-metallic drinking containers, there is some studies that show consumption will deter external parasites naturally or maybe it just makes them healthier for a natural defense mechanism
- Set up dust baths in their runs, a natural way to smother lice and mites
- Mix Diatomaceous Earth also is known as DE, in their dust baths and bedding, it naturally kills lice and mites.
- Use Barn Lime, ground limestone, it naturally creates an environment with a high pH level that kills lice and mites naturally.
Stack your Bedding for Success
Start by cleaning the coop floor thoroughly and then spray the floor with permethrin 10, I also like to mix in lavender essential oil into permethrin spray, this will make the coop smell wonderful and it also deters pests and rodents. Next, spread a thin layer of barn lime on the floor and in cleaned nest boxes. Lime naturally deters insects with is high pH level, and is perfectly safe for chickens, it also works as a drying agent that hampers insect reproduction and decreases ammonia levels, pretty neat stuff. Barn lime can be bought at local farm stores for around $4 per 50-pound bag, be sure not to confuse it with hydrated lime, which is not recommended for chickens. After applying barn lime, I put down bedding of wood chips and I spray once again over the top of wood chips with the permethrin lavender mixture.
As long as I follow preventive measures, I keep the lice at bay and never have to worry about dusting each bird, which makes life so much easier for me and them. In addition, I really don’t think dusting a bird with harsh pesticides is a good idea for their sensitive airways.
For additional information on DE see: