If you notice that your chickens are a bit restless and do not want to go into their house. They are losing weight and don’t seem to be laying as many eggs as they used to. They may have a pink looking comb and wattles, when it is ususally red. They may be suffering from an annoying parasite.
Parasites that you are likely to meet on a chicken are:
Menopon Gallinae – the common fowl louse – about 2mm long, flat and pale yellow in colour. They are not life threatening, but can be irritating.
Dermanyssus Gallinae – Red Mite – this lives in the hen coop, in the cracks and creeps out at night to suck blood from the chicken. If you think you may have red mite in your flock, use a piece of white paper(A4) inserted between the cracks and crevices around the perch. If it comes out with blood smears or lttle brown dots, which produce blood when squashed, you have got them! To combat this, you need to completely clean out the house and burn the bedding. Clean out the house with a suitable detergent. Chickenvet provide a disinfectant called PoultryShield.
Ornithonyssus Sylvarum – Northern mite. This actually lives on the bird. Ask the vet about treatment.
Knemidocoptes – Burrowing mite. This causes scaly leg. Ask the vet for treatment. Smothering the legs with vaseline suffocates the mite, but you also need medical advice.