Bugs

by Lisa
(Ct.)

Question

Depression, weak, small bugs mites or fleas. Mel, one of my roosters is lovingly nicknamed Smelly Mel From Hell.

He has not been himself so today I brought him into the house to care for him and while I was holding him close to me I felt things crawling on my face into my hair.

The bugs are very small and black in color you can feel them more than see them.

My other birds are not acting like him but first I don’t know what it is, or how to treat and if I have to treat the whole coop the rest of my birds it's winter here still and do I have to clean and disinfect the coop?

Answer
There may be other things wrong with him as well. Often a parasite infestation will take over when a chicken isn’t feeling well.

Poultry fleas are more visible than mites. This sounds like mites.

In his weakened condition you need to be careful treating him for the mites. The best thing would be a nice warm bath.

If you don’t have any poultry shampoo, just use what you have, human shampoo or dish soap. If you soap him up good and leave the soap on him for about 10 minutes this will kill most of the mites crawling around on him. (

I’d suggest the same for yourself after you help him.) Rinse him well and towel dry, then keep him warm with a heat lamp.

Drying him with a blow dryer on low will help and it might perk him up, too. In his state, the toxins from a mite treatment might be too much for him.

You will need to treat him eventually, but for now, he is in urgent need of care.

If you can get him to a vet, that would be best. Mites can literally suck the life out of an animal.

He needs fluids and nutrition to try to perk him up again. I would mix up ¼ cup of warm water with a teaspoon of honey or sugar and a pinch of salt and offer him drops or from a spoon. This may revive him some.

Hopefully with the warmth and sugar water he will perk up and want to eat. Feed him whatever he likes that is reasonably healthy to get him going again.

Getting the mites off will help a lot. If it’s at all possible that you can get him to a vet, that would be best, he is very sick.

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