The most common way chickens catch lice is through wild birds, adding new birds to an existing flock without quarantine or from contaminated clothing or equipment. A female louse can lay between 50-300 eggs in her short 3 week lifespan, so you need to make sure to treat your chickens as soon as you spot any lice.
One article argued that chickens naturally get lice just by being around in their environment. They can even get them from wild birds. It isn’t hard for a flock to become infested, and when they do, it can happen quickly. If chickens are kept in unfavorable living conditions, chances of becoming infested with lice are much higher.
If you notice a bird with a discolored comb, you may have a sick chicken. Discoloration of the comb can be a sign of many different illnesses, but here are some ideas of what you could be dealing with. A pale comb could indicate heat exhaustion, infectious coryza, mites, lice, or worms. It’s normally due to lack of blood flow or a low blood count.
Do chickens really get lice and mites?
Yes, chickens can and do get lice and mites . A good way to try to prevent it is to get diamatemacous earth (DE) and allow your chickens to dust bathe in it. Put the DE in a litter box and let your hens have a good time. If they DO get lice or mites, you can either use Sevin dust, or a pesticide dust especially made for poultry.
Then, how to tell if your chickens have mites or lice?
You will need to watch them for signs and symptoms like the following: Feather loss outside of the molting season. Their comb and wattles will slowly fade from a vibrant bright red to a pale and faded red. A decrease and slow down in egg production. Scabs or blood on their legs and feet. Small blood spots on the egg shells. Pecking and fusing at the leg or foot scales. Pulling out their own feathers., and more items.
Can lice/mites kill a chicken?
Yes lice and mites can kill chickens, alone or together. DE is best given to them to dust bath in at all times for prevention. It will kill the adult bugs so good that you used it if that’s all you had on hand but it will not prevent new bugs from hatching out, the birds will be covered in eggs as well.