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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:44 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:02 pm
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Location: Ipswich, Queensland
My three chooks are ex-battery hens, which I've had for nearly a year. Two of them have grown back most of their feathers very well, but the third is still a mess, and I think she's actually getting worse.

There are mites in the pen, which I've dusted with Pestene for. About two weeks ago, we were getting three eggs a day, but for the last week, nobody is laying.

Is there any help for Penny here - is she sick, or just scruffy? They all seem to eat quite well, especially leafy greens. They're not so keen on the current grain mix I got them, which doesn't have extra protein - could that be the problem?

Thanks for any advice!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Golden Brush Turkey
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Location: toodyay, WA
sadly she is going to look scruffy til she has a major moult. i wouldn't be so worried about her, and the fact that none of them are laying atm could be indicative that your birds are going to go into moult.

where are you? has the weather been particularly different or changeable recently?

pestene alone will not kill mites. mites live off the bird in woody nooks and crannies and co me out at night to feed on the chickens. you need to spray your coop with an insecticide to kill off the mites.

good luck with your birds, and just remmeber, that battery hens only have a finite laying life. she is living a good quality life with you, despite her raggedy appearance.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:11 pm 
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Golden Robin
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For what it is worth - Isa's are not not fussed about feathers. They are super-numery to their main purpose.

Just let them go.

They look healthy.

Mike

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:37 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:58 am
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Location: Plainland, SEQ
I'd make sure to up the protein level of their diet. Try to find a good quality, balanced feed and supplement it with bandsaw dust from the butcher, some fresh mince (cooked or uncooked) or mealworms. Just a grain mix won't do the job. Try not to give too much of the leafy greens, just give a little bit as a treat and use the balanced ration as their main diet. They might be approaching a major moult but being ex battery hens they probably have to catch up a fair bit, too.

In regard to the mites. Caladenia is right, you'll need to do more than just dust with Pestene. Completely clean out their house, their nesting boxes and all. Burn or bag and bin any bedding and spray the coop with a pyrethrum solution. Make sure you spray all cracks and crevices well and repeat the whole procedure after about 10 days or so. When I do that I also like to dip the birds in a pyrethrum solution as it will kill mites in case there are any on the bird (although the red fowl mite usually only gets on the birds at night) and has a residual effect on external parasites.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 9:58 pm 
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Golden Swan
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She looks like one of my hylines. Two have lovely feathers now, having re-grown them fairly quickly after they came form the egg farm. The third looks terrible. however she seems happy and healthy and is laying, so I am not too worried about her. She looks awful to anyone having a look at my chooks though! :lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Location: Ipswich, Queensland
Thanks all. So pyrethium is the best insecticide? Is a different concentration required to the one I use on the garden, or will the same stuff do? I haven't found mites in their coop, but the mites run up my legs when I am standing on the floor in the chook yard - is there any way to kill them in the dirt?

We did get an egg this morning, so somebody's laying again! I don't really mind if they go off the lay - this is their retirement, after all.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:47 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
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Serenia, I'd buy a bottle of David Gray's termite spray from a hardware store. It's probably much cheaper than any other product that contains pyrethrum. Its concentration is 100 g Permethrin/l. Use 5 ml of this stuff per 1 liter of water, add a dash of dishwashing liquid to dip your birds in it and let them dry in the sun.
I use the same concentration to spray the coop and the nesting boxes but I think others use it in double strength. Honestly, I don't know if they burrow deep into the dirt or not. If not, spraying the dirt floor should kill them.
I reckon the residual effect after dipping the birds would help as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:00 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Thankyou, I will give it a go!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:08 pm 
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Champion Bird
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I have an Australorp that looks practically the same!! I think my reasoning is though a nasty RIRx who picks on her constantly and pulls out her feathers whenever there is a chance to do so. :( She seems ok - other then looking basically bald and ready to roast up) so I'm keeping my eye on her but otherwise leaving her alone.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:25 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Location: Ipswich, Queensland
I went to Bunnings and got a lengthly lecture on the dangers of using permethrin on chooks! They had nothing suitable, and suggested another shop to try. It's not open, so I'll try tomorrow!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Oh no!! Bunnings was wrong. What a pain! Definitely get the permethrin.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:23 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Location: Ipswich, Queensland
Is there a withholding period on the eggs if I use permethrin?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 5:56 pm 
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Wise Wyandotte
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Location: Plainland, SEQ
Not really, but you can discard the eggs for 7 - 14 days if this makes you feel safer. There are many interesting threads covering this topic, e.g. this one: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=7990290&p=396647&hilit=withholding+permethrin#p396647
You might want to use the search function on the top right of the screen to find more :thumbs:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:26 pm 
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Dapper Duck
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Location: Ipswich, Queensland
Thankyou! It looks like a lot of people happily use permethrin, but the two ladies at Bunnings were totally horrified! Although they didn't ask about dilution - maybe they thought I was going to use it straight.

I picked up Penny this afternoon and had a good look between her feathers, up her neck and under her wings, and couldn't find a single mite. I'm not sure how the pen floor infestation is going, as I've been spraying my feet with aeroguard before going in there!

If I can get hold of this stuff tomorrow, I'm still going to give the coop a thorough clean-out and spray everything anyway. Better safe than sorry!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:37 pm 
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Golden Kingfisher
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Location: Canberra
Your plan sounds good :)

Hopefully you can then stop the Aeroguarding, you poor thing.

I actually bought a big garden sprayer to spray the coop. One of these:

http://m.yates.com.au/products/books-tools-and-propagation/irrigation/yates-garden-sprayer/

You pump it up then spray using the air pressure. Way easy and you can saturate everything without killing your hand (as you do with a hand sprayer).

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