You may wonder, “Do head lice come from chickens?” Well, the answer depends on what type of louse you have. Some species of chicken louse are more dangerous than others, but all of them feed on feathers and skin. Head louse are a particular problem because they attack young birds, and the louse is carried from hen to chick.
Most chickens are regularly bathed to distribute skin oils and feathers, and they also preen their feathers. But when a chicken is injured, or when it is brooding, it tends to bathe less, which makes it more likely to develop lice. Fortunately, you can use basic treatments to control the parasite population in your flock.
The easiest way to detect whether your chickens are infested is to keep an eye out for signs of lice. Look for feathers that appear damaged or falling out. Or you may notice that the chickens appear to be anemic. This may indicate that your chickens are infested with lice or mites.
You can also prevent lice by washing your hands regularly. In winter, lice prevention means washing your hands often, and in summer, you should wash your hair with shampoo and conditioner every 6 to 8 weeks. If you don’t do this, lice may develop a resistance to the chemicals that you use on your skin and on your clothing. You can treat your chickens with an anti-lice shampoo or a diluted solution of nystatin. These treatments do not kill the eggs, but they do kill the live lice in the area.