Lice. I probably don’t need to say much more!!
I’ve commented each morning this week on the amount of baby spiders in the garden. Each morning when I go to let out the chicks my arm is covered in them. I mention this to Miss C who says. ‘ No, they are living in the nest box.’
She was right, hundreds of tiny little creatures everywhere. To small to photograph but covering every crack.
We quickly used everyone’s favourite search site. Not Google, that’s old hat. Pinterest is the place to go, 20 opinions at the touch of a button, with pictures. We have chicken lice.
Treatments… many and varied. Spraying, dunking, feeding. You can apparently attack the little demons from all directions. It also explains why the chickens have been roosting outside the coop on the bench and why we have no eggs. I just thought they were getting even older and it was a bit warm for them. Hot flushes style!!
Causes… wild birds. Which is our problem. The local robin has raised two broods totally on our layer pellets. He hops in, eats one, takes one back to the nest. Lots of squarking and back he comes again.
So, first we blow torched the coop. Beekeepers do this to all their equipment after cleaning it kills everything, but not lice it seems. Then I dusted the whole thing with some obnoxious chemical from the pet shop. The chickens were next.
2 buckets, one with warm water and washing up liquid, one with warm water and apple cider vinegar.
This is Hetty. She was to shocked to put up a fight and the job was easy. Lolled into a false sense of security I grabbed Gert and dunked her in. That’s when the job went south. There are no pictures of the resulting pandemonium but needless to say I was soaked, the lawn was soaked and the neighbours probably thought I was slaughtering chicken for tea.
Having taken their punishment the first two shouted encouragement as we chased Peggy around the picnic table. She was quick but no match for hubby who gently grabbed her by her throat and extracted her from the chair legs. Three down, one to go.
Now the last one was Flash. She did not get the name for her speed, she’s a gormless bird who stopped laying months ago and generally just keeps to herself and avoids the others. Basically she, and we, feel they would eat her given half the chance. But she’s a friendly thing and gets all the extra treats and benefits as befits the underdog. She’s been bathed before when egg bound as a way to relax her. It worked then but clearly she didn’t fancy repeating the experience. That and the fact she probably thought we were filling the freezer, with all the noise.
But having chased her around the vegetable beds for a while we did what all good parents do. We bribed her with food. Problem solved!
She actually really loved it.
What a sorry lot they looked. We left them to dry in the new clean run and mollified them with cat food with cod liver oil in it. Their favourite treat.
Last night two roosted back in the coop and two stayed out but that’s a good start. You never know, perhaps there will be a few more eggs after all. As an added bonus they now all look lovely. Fresh and brown and fluffy. What more can a garden need!