Tag / fleas

Giveaways

Critter Ritter Giveaway from Luv Nest

Critter Ritter Blend
It’s the height of the summer and also the height of chicken pests. So often these tiny chicken pests such as poultry lice, mites, and fleas that affect chickens go overlooked. However if left unchecked, their populations will boom and thrive to establish their own families to overwinter on your chickens and in your coop. There are plenty of things you can do to help keep pests at bay including keeping a tidy coop, checking your flock periodically for pests, utilizing food grade DE and adding an herbal blend like Critter Ritter to your coop.

Chickens Health Issues

Backyard Chickens and Fleas

Photo Credit: Microscopic view

Did you know that like our family dogs and cats even chickens can get fleas?  Summertime is the height of flea season. Chicken fleas are not as common as mites and poultry lice, but they can cause many problems for your flock. Chicken fleas can cause irritation and restlessness. But far worse, they can cause malnutrition, anemia, decrease egg production and lead to your chickens not feeling well overall.  This article will discuss three types of fleas that affect chickens-the European Chicken Flea, the Western Chicken Flea and the Sticktight Flea.  The types of fleas that can affect your flock are determined by where you live.

Chickens Coop Care Health Issues

Fossils for Chickens?!

Diatomaceous Earth!  Diatomaceous Earth or DE is really a miracle worker. What exactly is it?   DE consists of fossilized microscopic hard-shelled algae called diatoms. It comes in a very fine powder and can be a real preventative as well as curative for many chicken ailments.The most important thing when you want to use DE with your chickens is that you purchase FOOD GRADE DE.  The great thing about DE is that it gets rid of unwanted pests naturally.  It is an organic technique that has been utilized by farmers for quite some time.  DE works by a process called desiccation.  It’s sharp microscopic edges cut into the bugs’ outer body skeletons and causes them to dehydrate.  DE kills ticks, fleas, mites, digestive worms and keeps pests away from food and out of the coop.  It also provides a wide array of trace minerals to your chicken’s diet. You can add up to 2% of their feed.

Studies have shown chickens fed DE have an increase the amount of eggs, decreases the mortality rate, keeps mites away, helps to dry up droppings, helps with flies and decrease worm loads in the GI tract. It also found that hens fed DE in their diets laid eggs with more albumin and yolk . I also love that my hens are getting the valuable trace minerals. In the feed, it keeps insects from spoiling the feed too.

In the newly cleaned coop I sprinkle it into the corners, edges, in the nesting boxes and onto the floor prior to adding a fresh new layer of bedding.  We never have had a pest problem inside the coop and we live in a very wooded area! This product as been a terrific addition to my backyard chicken experience.  I love that something easy and natural is so beneficial.

As a word of precaution, DE should only be used in well ventilated areas and should be avoided getting it into your eyes, nose and throat. As you research DE, you will surely come across literature that discusses the health risks associated with accidental inhalation. The condition is called Silicosis. Silicosis is a medical condition of the lung that occurs with regular repeated inhalation over a period of many years. Silicosis can also be caused from the use of sand (silica dust) in the coop and run. So please take precautions when using sand or DE.

Update 6/11/2013: Please click here to read an article that I wrote for Community Chickens on DE- chock full of even more information, including precautions that you should take if using DE with your flock.


References:

Poult Sci. 2011 Jul;90(7):1416-26. doi: 10.3382/ps.2010-01256.
Effect of diatomaceous earth on parasite load, egg production, and egg quality of free-range organic laying hens. Bennett DC1, Yee A, Rhee YJ, Cheng KM.

RESULTS OF THE USE OF CODEX FOOD-GRADE DIATOMACEOUS EARTH WITH POULTRY, C.S. Mangen, DVM, San Diego, California