Congratulations, you’ve decided to raise a few chickens. However, be careful not to idealize: any kind of breeding, including that of chickens, has its share of precautions and dangers. The most common one, which can quickly worry the hobby breeder, is chicken parasites.
If you don’t pay enough attention, your hen house and your chickens can be infested with various parasites such as fleas, lice, mites, worms and mange. Controlling parasites in your chickens requires some explanation.
Why treat chicken parasites?
First of all, the primary cause of their presence is a lack of hygiene. It is therefore necessary to constantly monitor the cleanliness of your chickens and their living space. Indeed, a certain number of parasites will spread through droppings. The more droppings cover the floor and accessories, the higher the risk of parasite infection. The consequences, more or less serious, are multiple.
In the mildest cases, it is the appearance of your chickens that will be less pleasant: sparse plumage, damaged legs, less plump animals. Think about the well-being of your chickens, even if they are unable to express their suffering. In the worst case, the presence of certain parasites can even cause the death of your chickens. For example, red lice, which are small mites that lodge in crevices in the floor and nooks and crannies, will take advantage of the night to suck the blood out of sleeping birds. These tiny vampires are capable of killing a chicken in a few days.
Equally dangerous, this other mite Cnemidocoptes Mutans is responsible for foot scab. At first, all that can be observed is a lifting of the scales and a swelling of the legs, which may seem harmless. However, if left untreated, this disease can cause gangrene and eventually the death of the parasitized animal. Fortunately, adapted and natural treatments are available to avoid the irreparable.
How to detect the presence of parasites in the chicken house or on the chickens?
As the first victims of these undesirable hosts are necessarily your chickens, it is mainly by observing their behavior that you will be able to detect an anomaly. Symptoms of parasites are almost always visible on your animals and depend on the type of parasite. Be aware of signs such as a decrease in the activity of your poultry, as well as a decrease in their appetite or an abnormal decrease in the volume of eggs laid.
However, some parasites will be more difficult to detect. This is particularly the case for depluming mange. This disease is caused by a mite and has symptoms that can go unnoticed, since pecking between chickens or seasonal moulting produce similar effects. But, if the deplumming is more severe than usual or the chicken scratches a lot, these are additional signs of this highly contagious disease.
Some symptoms are not visible on the chickens, only in the coop. Pay regular attention to the droppings: diarrhea, foamy and yellowish droppings can mean the presence of intestinal worms. In this case, you will also notice a loss of weight in the infected birds and a decrease in egg laying. You will certainly have to intervene quickly by using anti-parasite products.
What are the anti-parasite solutions to adopt?
The good thing is that there are many possibilities in terms of prevention. Every year, you should deworm your chickens. In addition, you will clean your hen house according to a strict schedule to limit the risks:
- daily maintenance (remove the droppings every day to avoid the accumulation of chicken that is more difficult to clean),
- weekly maintenance (change the litter, hay, straw, hemp, which you will put in a generous layer),
- a half-yearly maintenance (treatment of the wood of the henhouse),
- an annual maintenance (total disinfection).
For the total disinfection, it will be necessary to operate a sanitary vacuum, i.e. to move all your chickens out of the henhouse. You will use a special bactericidal and fungicidal disinfectant for wood. For the treatment of the wood, opt for a coat of linseed oil. Curative treatments should be chosen according to the nature of the parasites. We obtain very good results with diatomaceous earth and true cade oil.
TO REMEMBER! Good health is above all a question of impeccable hygiene, but if parasites appear, there are many effective solutions that are easily accessible and respectful of your chickens.