It is a well known fact that chickens are sturdy little animals. Not only do they have strong survival instincts, they can also adapt very well to changes in the weather and climate. However, despite these various strengths, chickens can also be rather susceptible to a wide range of chicken parasites, infections and diseases. Usually, noticing the symptoms early enough can not only help to cure but prevent it as well. Failing to do so might allow the disease to spread which might very well end up in an entire flock getting contaminated.
Causes of parasites in chickens
A common cause of chicken parasite infections is usually the overcrowding of their housing space. Overcrowding not only induces high levels of stress in your chickens but lowers their resistances against diseases a well. Consequently, your chickens soon become far more prone to diseases and infections.
Poor hygiene can also result in the cultivation of harmful bacteria. Ensure that the chicken house is regularly cleaned and free from droppings, dirt and leftover food.
New birds being brought in to the flock might also result in a major infestation. The new birds must be thoroughly checked for infections and diseases before being allowed into close proximity of your current chickens. Try to quarantine new chickens for a short period of time to observe them before introducing them to your main chicken house.
Common Chicken Parasites and their Treatments
Red mites are pesky little beings that feed on blood and can cause death among chickens when not swiftly treated. They breed extremely quickly in moist and dark areas so try to reduce these conditions as much as possible. Once an infestation starts, it can be transmitted to your entire flock and other household animals within merely a few days. Red mites which have a blackish red colour will always shy away from light. Bath your chickens with appropriate anti-mites solution you can buy from produce stores or vets.
When such infestation is present, you will also need to spray the chicken house and burn the beddings.
Fowl ticks are parasites that are similar to red mites and be treated the same way. Fever, paralysis and even death can result in the case of a fowl tick attack.
Scaly leg mites can penetrate the scales of the legs of your chickens. Once they have done so, the scales on the feet would lift and your chickens will often become lame. Unlike red mites, scaly leg mites originate from infested ground. To get rid of these things, brush the chicken’s leg with warm, soapy water. Applying one part of methylated spirit and one part of olive oil together with half a part of kerosene on the chicken legs will also kill these mites. To be efficient, the solution needs to penetrate the scales.
Lice are probably the most common chicken parasite around. They feed on the chicken’s dead skin and cause much discomfort to the carrier. Chickens with lice often end up scratching or pecking at themselves in an attempt to relieve the itch and constant discomfort. Due to these actions, they sometimes start bleeding and this blood can end up inducing severe fights among chickens as others want to pick at the wounds. It has even been noticed that chickens become depressed and may die. You can treat lice with a sulphur based dust sprays and bath them in a medicated solution for lice and mites available from produce stores and vets.