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Chicken fleas are harmful insects that parasitize birds.
Any birds from large turkeys to miniature canaries and budgerigars can suffer from them.
Consider chicken fleas "under a microscope"!
The chicken flea has an elongated, somewhat hunched over dark body and shiny chitinous integuments. She has no wings, but she does 3 pairs of strong legs... She jumps with the help of the hind ones, with the front ones, so as not to fall, and the middle ones serve to move around the victim's body. Leaping hind limbs are distinguished by thick “thighs” and elongated “legs”.
IMPORTANT! The chitin that protects the body of the parasite is so strong that it can withstand blows from the beak and claws of birds.
Photos of chicken fleas are presented below:
How do they differ from other parasites?
If you look with the naked eye, it is simply impossible to find differences from related species of fleas! But with a strong increase, they are immediately noticeable.
- In a chicken flea, the body is very flattened from the sides, which makes it impossible to crush it... In addition, it looks slimmer due to its tucked up abdomen.
- Avian parasites have much better developed eyes than other flea species..
- There are long antennae.
Chicken fleas are very easy to distinguish from the red tick, which is another common bird parasite.
- Ticks are colored deep red, fleas are chestnut.
- In fleas, it is very difficult to see the legs, while in ticks they are far apart and perfectly visible.
- The body of ticks is flattened from above and below, in fleas - from the sides.
Harmfulness and danger
Birds infested with parasites constantly scratch and pull out their own feathers. This leads to increased irritability, scratching of the skin to sores. Subsequently, severe anemia may occur.
ATTENTION! The unfortunate victims of blood-sucking parasites gradually lose their appetite and sleep, and die of hunger.
But this is not the worst thing yet! Chicken fleas can spread serious diseases such as salmonellosis, brucellosis, trypanosomiasis, and encephalitis and plague... Not only all the inhabitants of the hen house, but also people can become infected. After all, fleas often bite them. We suggest reading about flea bites on humans and about first aid and treatment of this trouble.
but cases of infection with infectious diseases still occur quite rarely... Not every parasite is a carrier of the most dangerous microorganisms. But the eggs of worms are transferred by absolutely all fleas, therefore in case of a bite, you will have to carry out anthelmintic therapy.
Parasites very rarely jump off the body of a bird, constantly living under feathers... This is how they differ from their relatives, who visit the owner only to "dine". Chicken fleas can only live in warmth, at a temperature of 35–45 °. Therefore, they live on birds, hiding in the warmth of their feathers.
Fleas can only bite through thin skin, so they often accumulates around the victim's eyes or on the scallop... For the same reason, pests rarely attack people and animals. It is very difficult for chicken fleas to damage the thicker human skin and reach deep blood vessels. You can read about why fleas are dangerous to humans and what diseases they carry in another article.
Chicken fleas are very prolific. The female can lay about a dozen eggs per day.... During her not too long life, she manages to produce hundreds of similar parasites.
Chicken flea egg laying has its own unique characteristics. By straining certain muscles of the torso, the female "shoots" the egg at a distance of several meters... It falls into the chicken's nest or onto the floor.
Within a day, larvae appear from the eggs... They look like small worms with white transparent integuments. The larvae do not drink blood, content with organic waste, imago excrement, and bird droppings. They enter the pupal stage after a few weeks..
In this state, they are able to wait for their prey for a very long time. Pupae "wake up" only if the bird is near them for a long time, for example, incubating eggs.
REFERENCE! In the pupal stage, fleas calmly wait out cold and lack of nutrition.
Indoor poultry are the most affected by fleas. They practically do not leave the home, therefore cannot get rid of pests on their own, for example, bathing in ash, mud and dust.
REFERENCE! If chickens walk freely "in the wild", they eliminate some of the parasites by running through the grass and bushes, wiping themselves in anthills.
Fighting chicken fleas
To get rid of pests in poultry and small farms, you can use drops for dogs or cats. They do an excellent job of destroying all bird parasites.
- Dana and Leopard... Drops of domestic manufacturers work great and are distinguished by a low price.
- Frontline, Advantage, Stronghold... Imported drugs containing chemical compounds. They should not get inside the bird's body, so as not to cause serious poisoning.
- Hartz... The composition contains a very strong insecticide, therefore drops are not recommended for chickens.
- Beaphar... Absolutely safe for birds drops based on oil from the seeds of the Neem tree.
- Ivermectin... Universal sterile solution for injection. It contains a whole complex of substances that get rid of any parasites.
We wrote in detail about how to deal with these parasites in a separate article.
Processing small chicken coops
To eliminate parasites from the premises, you can use any drugs that kill domestic pests such as bedbugs, cockroaches and ants. Fit Executioner, Geth, Tetrix, Cucaracha, Tsifox.
ATTENTION! Nest, litter, and bird droppings must not be removed prior to treatment. The parasites in them will remain unharmed and proliferate throughout the district. Before the operation, you only need to transfer the chickens to another room.
Struggle on large farms
For the treatment of industrial poultry houses and factories, drugs such as Butox and Deltamethrin are suitable.
Deltamethrin available in powder form. It contains an insecticide at a concentration of 50%. The powder can be sprayed directly onto infected birds or indoors.
Butox contains all the same deltamethrin, but is available in the form of a concentrated aqueous solution. One ampoule with a capacity of 1 ml is sufficient for dilution in 4 liters of water. The working fluid is sprayed on the plumage of birds and the chicken coops are treated.
How to properly process premises and birds?
Drops must be applied to the back of the head... The feathers move apart before this, and the insecticide is rubbed into the skin. The powder is sprayed over the entire surface of the feathers, as well as the solution.
After that chickens are transferred to an uninfected room and start processing the chicken coop... We remind you that you do not need to do any cleaning before this! Selected insecticide nests are carefully processed, walls, ceiling, floors, feeders, perches and cells... If there is a very thick layer of debris on the floor, it is thrown and shaken.
Several hours after treatment (the exact time is indicated in the instructions for the drug), you can start cleaning the room... Remove the debris and wash the floors with a soapy solution and baking soda.
If there were too many fleas, the procedure will have to be repeated after 2-4 weeks... During this time, pupae, which are poorly amenable to the action of insecticides, will emerge from the cocoon and turn into adults.
Prevention of infection
The most effective preventive measure is regular cleaning in the chicken coop... Pupae and larvae will be removed along with the garbage, which will help to avoid an epidemic of parasitosis.
It is very useful to spread or hang bunches of herbs that repel chicken fleas. Can be used juniper, sagebrush, peppermint, tansy.
Chicken fleas are a vicious and dangerous pest that can bring birds to death. Therefore, it is imperative to fight them!