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PostPosted: Sun Sep 12, 2010 11:41 pm 
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Hatchling
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Joined: Sat Jul 01, 2006 8:57 pm
Posts: 8
Location: Geelong, Victoria
Hi Guys,

I am having a dilemma with my broody silkies and hatchings. I have 3 silky hens sitting a rather large number of eggs, probably about 40.
Normally I would have removed a number of these, but I went down with an MS exacerbation at the same time so have been unable to get
down to check on my babies!

They started to hatch on Friday with 6 hatching, of which one didnt quite make it out of the egg, so 5 live healthy chicks. Next morning another one
had hatched, but a chick had died as well, and then the same thing today, another one hatching and then dying.

This afternoon I also noticed on my white silky, a massive amount of black mites (?). The others have been pecking at themselves and preening as well, although mites not obvious on them. I also realised that the hens were more interested in the eggs instead of the chicks, so have removed the remaining
live chicks to my laundry (down to 4 out of 8 hatching), one of these isnt looking too good either. Tonight we noticed 4 huge fleas on the ill bird, and so have now removed what we could see, which included a number of these small black mites as well. Also treated the other three chicks.

My questions now are:
1/ How to safely treat the chicks for the mites/fleas without harming them
2/ How to treat the hens in the nesting box and shed without it affecting the remaining eggs
3/ Will the hens look after the chicks if eggs are reduced or removed or should I continue to remove any live hatchings
4/ Would prefer to use natural remedies if possible
5/ Any other suggestions!!

Any and all help appreciated!

Deb R


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:33 pm 
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Proud Rooster
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I would like to know about this as well too. I had a clucky sussex last year who started looking very pale after 2 weeks, and I found she was infested with mites. I dusted her, but she left the nest soon after as she was not well. The eggs got cold and I did not try and save them. I dont know if the dust would have effected them as I was more worried the chook would die. She did recover after about a week off the nest.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 7:42 am 
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Hi Deb. This is a complicated little problem so excuse the lengthy reply. You need to:

* Treat the chicks for mites
* Sort out what eggs are good
* Separate your broodies
* Treat the coop for mites
* Treat the hens for mites/lice & worms

It's a bit difficult at this stage as you don't want to hurt the developing embryos, the chicks, or put the broodies off. Some of that may have to wait until after the eggs hatch.

Sometimes when there are a large number of eggs, some of them don't get covered well, some of them are laid later, and some of them might even be rotten. So you can get quite a mess. You get the issue of a chicks hatching gradually rather than altogether, and you don't know if all of the eggs are good.

I think taking those few chicks away was the right thing to do, although after you raise them for a while not all hens will take them back. When chicks hatch in a nest, after a day or two the broodies thinks she finished and will get off the remaining eggs. That's why it's best to have all eggs begin incubation together and hatch together. Sometimes when multiple broodies sit together you can get later eggs getting laid and pulled in. This might have happened in your case.

If I were you I would candle the eggs and remove any that are infertile or rotten. The infertiles will be clear with no development. If there are rotten ones they will have dark shadows that don't look right and they will smell bad. I would do that at night to limit any disturbance to the hen. After checking that, you should know how many good eggs you have got left. It's best to have your broodies separated from the flock and from each other, sitting on an amount of eggs that they can cover by themselves. If you have them sitting together it's unpredictable how other hens will treat the chicks. Sometimes chicks can get hurt.

I would remove all the litter in the nest, sprinkle a bit of poultry dust around, and replace it with clean litter. Then put the eggs back in. I would also dust the hens. It is not ideal to be doing it now, but the reality is that mites will kill chicks and even the hens if it's very bad, so you have to take the risk. Dusting will not get rid of the mites completely but it will help a bit while this is being sorted out. Mites live in the environment and feed off the birds at night. They are very small and darker in colour. Lice are a straw colour and the shape of a sesame seed. They are on the bird all the time and are easier to get rid of. Later on the whole coop will need to be sprayed out properly a number of times, but leave that for after the eggs have hatched. You can then remove the chicks when you spray.

I would also worm the broody hens by giving them medication directly (not in the drinking water). Birds that have been sitting for a long time and are covered in ectoparasites are going to have a heavy load of worms as well.

The chicks that you have separated I would lightly dust with poultry dust (something like Pestene or derris dust). Go easy with it. I prefer not to be treating chicks for anything but you need to get rid of these mites. Take great care not to get any dust in the food or the drinking water.

Quote:
My questions now are:
1/ How to safely treat the chicks for the mites/fleas without harming them
Dust them lightly, then change all litter completely. Don't get dust in their eyes or beak. Don't get dust in drinking water or feed. It's not ideal to be treating chicks, but you have to take the risk as mites will kill the chicks.

2/ How to treat the hens in the nesting box and shed without it affecting the remaining eggs
Proper treatment will have to wait until the broodies have finished or have been moved. You really need to clean out and spray out properly with something like Permethrin. The mites will be in the crevices the cracks of the box and the coop everwhere and they come out at night. In the short term, remove the litter, sprinkle a bit of poultry dust around, replace with clean litter, then dust the hens. Hopefuly no chicks will hatch the same night you do that. You probably don't know when the remaining eggs are due to hatch so it's difficult to time the cleanup to avoid hatch time.

3/ Will the hens look after the chicks if eggs are reduced or removed or should I continue to remove any live hatchings
The hens do not usually take older chicks back once they're removed, however silkies are very maternal chickens so you never know. Once I take chicks away I don't try to give them back as the hens can tell the difference between a day old and an older one and they can attack an older chick as they don't think it's theirs. If you want the hens to keep sitting on the remaining eggs, then you should continue to remove live hatchlings.

4/ Would prefer to use natural remedies if possible
It depends what you mean by natural remedies. Later on you can spray with permethrin which is derived from a plant. The reality at the moment is that you don't have many choices and so far 'a la naturale' has not worked well. Wormy parasite ridden birds die so use the dust and wear a mask when you do it to protect yourself. Treat with a worming product that's known to work. Garlic etc is not good enough in this case. :wink:


This is a situation that people may handle differently. You may get differing advice. Some may choose to move the broodies out completely and spray out properly and treat now. I would postpone that so as not to disturb them. In the end you have to make some choices, some compromises and hope for the best.

Don't hesitate to ask any further questions. I'm sure others will jump in and answer with their opinions.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:53 pm 
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Hatchling
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Location: Geelong, Victoria
Thanks Chicken07,

Had already done most of what you suggested, so am glad I was on the right track!!

Have dusted the broodies and nest with Pestene yesterday and was waiting until eggs are finished with before cleaning out entire shed.

Removed 10 eggs Sunday night, of which I only kept three and moved to the incubator with no results as yet! The rest I opened and 1 was rotten, 3 had no development, and remaining 2 were early stage embryos, so think you are right with the eggs at all different stages.

Yesterday removed another 5 eggs from the nest as I could hear cheeping, and another egg I thought I could hear pipping in. Those 2 were put into the incubator and the other 3 were not developing. Turns out I did well, as one hatched last night and the other this morning, so I now have 5 live chicks in the laundry. There are only about 15 eggs left under them now, but will remove some more tonight.

I have decided to give the girls to the weekend at which time I will remove remaining eggs to get them off the nest as the infestation is pretty bad, and if they are itching anything like I am at the moment it must be driving them nuts!! I had 30 bites last count!! Any recommendations of brands for spraying the shed when emptied? I had been trying to find Coopex but it is not in my local store. The three girls are on their own in the pen at the moment, but am lucky enough to have 2 other runs I can move them too once treated. I will treat all sheds and all my other birds as I go, but the majoritiy of the infestation seems to be on the girls who are sitting.

Thanks again for your advice

Deb R


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:09 pm 
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Deb, Coopex is just permethrin. It usually comes in sachets that you add to a certain amount of water. You could buy it online or just use a different permethrin product. Avian Insect Liquidator is permethrin with another chemical added as well which makes it very effective. Any pet store or hardware store would have permethrin in one form or another. I use the Termite product because it's cheaper.

There are a few links about permethrin here:

Permethrin spray
Permethrin Spray Rates if using David Gray's termite product
Permethrin spray rate given by Colin Walker
Permethrin Dilution Rates for Spraying birds and housing

You will find a lot of threads about treating for mites if you do a search. There will be information both in Good Sammy and in Housing & Husbandry if you look in the A-Z stickies at the top of those sections.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
There's an ant sand product that contains permethrin, which I got very cheaply (like $6 a container) from Bunnings. I haven't used it a lot yet because I'm concerned the "sand" will look attractive to chooks and chicks for eating, but I have scattered it around nesting boxes, roosts, and wall cracks. It seems to be effective. I don't think I'd use it directly on the chooks though.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 9:38 am 
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Hatchling
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New babys hatched yesterday. Free run chickhens. Mites. Mom is dieing. 4 babies servived. Can I bath them with dawn to remove mites?


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 10:43 am 
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Old Mother Goose
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Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2009 11:15 pm
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Location: ACT area
Hi Ryorkies, we really need a lot more information

Free Run chickens -more details - Housing/feeding, are the hen and chicks separate from other birds?
Mom is dieing - Why/symptoms?
How will you care for the chicks?
Can I bath them with Dawn? Is that laundry liquid? No!
Get a pyrethrum/permethrin based avian insect spray and use that (not near faces). Make sure chicks are thoroughly dry after treatment (use hairdryer but don't burn them). Treat mum as well.
Are they mites or lice - mites generally live off the birds and attack them at night. Lice will live on the birds all the time. If mum has had a parasite load for some time she will be anaemic and may possibly be saved with the right treatment. Has she been wormed?
Please get back to us with as much detail about their lifestyle as possible.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:57 am 
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Hatchling
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Well I dusted them with pyrthmin. Still alive. Mother died.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 8:15 am 
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Dapper Duck
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How true is the old adage prevention is better than cure, when I have a broody hen and have eggs to set I dust liberally with Pestene or Tomato Dust both the hen and whatever new nesting material which I place in old grass catchers, never had a problem with mites or any other blood sucking pests.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:52 pm 
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Hatchling
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Mom was dehydrated and cold, anemic when I found her and eggs and chicks. She died that night. The three chicks that servived I dusted with permythimni. Still seen some on them. They are under a light. Small water pan with pebbles and chick starter food. They peck at food but empty craw. Dawn dishwashing is what rescuers use on animals that get in oil spills. I do think these are mites. Very very tiny. Look like dirt specks until they move. The chickens have a small coop I now have six chickens. This hen layed out under a trailer and started setting. The chicks are now in my closet under sixty watt bulb. Seem to be happy. Bin is large enough for them to move away from bulb if too warm.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:01 pm 
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Hatchling
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Went and dusted the six adult chickens with sevin. How often should I do this. Also dusted coop.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:11 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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Sorry that you lost her. Sounds like you have the rest under good control. What ever the crawlies were, the permethrin should kill them. I had some tiny crawlies on some chicks (saw them under a magnifying glass when I thought I could teach myself to vent sex - another story) They were 'grass mites' from the litter, not blood suckers.
Do a follow up dust in about 10 days. Check around their vents for lice eggs (little coccoon like clusters at the base of the feathers). I cut them out rather than leave them to hatch. If the problem persists you may need to do a complete coop Spring Clean and maybe use a systemic medication (one of the Mectins)


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