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    Bird Lice Description

    ArticleThursday 09 December 2010
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    Most warm blooded animals on earth are susceptible to parasites such as lice and mites, birds are no different. There are two main types of bird lice that set up home in the bird’s feathers namely, the body louse and the head louse. The good news for humans is that bird lice will only be present on birds and pose no issue for humans. This guide outlines all the basic information about bird lice. %%AFC-ADVERT%%

    Bird Lice Information

    • Head lice, as the name suggests live on the head and the neck of the bird and lay their eggs within the bird feather, usually near base. These bird lice are very small, grey and oblong shaped.
    • The other main type of bird lice is known as body lice. These bird lice are a bit more problematic than head lice as they chew and bury through the skin of the bird to reach the growing quills which are very rich in blood and is what they feed on. These bird lice are a straw colour and if a bird feather is moves, they can be spotted scattering quickly.
    • There are a few ways of being able to spot the presence of bird lice. The first is that it is possible to spot the eggs of the bird lice at the base of the bird feather. If bird lice choose a young bird as home, it will be more noticeable as the bird will become lethargic and may not live longer than a month or so. Body lice are quite easy to spot as a bird that is affected by these bird lice will have scabs all over their body.
    • Bird lice thrive in a flock of birds for obvious reasons, the good side is that this can make them easier to spot and treat. Chickens for instance will eat less, produce fewer eggs, will not gain as much weight and will become more prone to disease.
    • As with all cases, preventing bird lice is better than treating them. Bird lice thrive in dirty conditions so good sanitation and housing coupled with a good diet will help considerably.
    • Should your pet or your flock become infected with bird lice, the quicker they are treated the better. An individual bird or a small flock can be dusted with a pesticide called carbaryl that will kill the bird lice. Some infestations of bird lice are more serious however and require treatment with a pyrethin spray directly onto the birds.
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