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Hello everyone! I am reaching out to you to find out if my hens have an issue such as parasites. I noticed that almost all of my 8 hens have a bit of a “skid mark” under their bums. They are eating and drinking with no issues. They are active and energetic. Is it something I should be worried about or is this normal? Thank you!

Eye Vertebrate Dog breed Mammal Grass

Bird Phasianidae Plant Chicken Grass
 

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Your birds' rear ends dont look bad at all. You dont want it to collect in fluff and feathers in large amounts because urates in feces scald the skin causing feather/fluff loss, redness, swelling and irritation.
 

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Your birds' rear ends dont look bad at all. You dont want it to collect in fluff and feathers in large amounts because urates in feces scald the skin causing feather/fluff loss, redness, swelling and irritation.
Thank you Dawg53 and Robin! Sigh of relief. We just lost our 2 ducks to a predator and so I’m probably becoming a bit overprotective of my girls. Even if it isn’t parasites, should I be giving them a dewormer as a preventative (as opposed to waiting until we might actually need it)? And how do I prevent mites/lice?
 

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Lice/mites: Lice are white, off white or straw in color, they have 6 legs and are more of an irritant to birds but need to be treated to prevent scratching injuries with your birds. Their eggs are attached to feather shafts in clusters and can be removed with coconut oil. Ivermectin will not treat lice because lice dont suck blood like mites. There are areas where mites have become resistant to Ivermectin due to its overuse as a miteacide in poultry rather than its primary purpose as a wormer. Ivermectin has a long withdrawal period as well.

Mites are black or red in color and suck blood causing anemia, then death. They have 8 legs. Red mites can introduce spirochetes into the chickens bloodstream. It is extremely important to closely inspect birds for external parasites monthly, especially around the vent area where it's warm and moist.

I prefer to use Permethrin to dust my birds. Coops and nest boxes need to be cleaned out and dusted to prevent reinfection. Forget DE, it doesnt work, is useless, and will only empty your wallet or purse.
Wear a mask and old chicken clothes when dusting coops and birds. There is no egg withdrawal when using Permethrin.

Worms: How often you worm birds depends on your soil conditions. Warm/wet or moist soil will require frequent wormings. Dry, mountainous, desertlike, or cold soil may require less worming. Birds that are penned on the same soil will require frequent wormings. Birds that free range may require less worming but foraging areas should be rotated.
The most common way that birds get worms is by pecking the soil and swallowing worm eggs in the process. Then the worms DIRECT lifecycle has started. The INDIRECT lifecycle is started when a chicken eats an infected insect that is host to tapeworm eggs.

It is rare to see worms in feces. Why would a parasite leave its host?
The only time you'll see worms in feces is when there isnt anymore room in the intestines and the worms are excreted.
The other time you'll see a worm in feces is when it has died of old age and is excreted. Worms cannot survive outside the host.
However, tapeworm segments can be seen moving in excreted feces, they look like white rice and the bird must be treated with an equine paste containing praziquantel.

My go to wormer is Valbazen, I've been using it for years. I've also used Safeguard, Levamisole and Pyrantel Pamoate aka Nemex 2.
I stopped using Ivermectin long ago. IMO, the benzimidazoles are the way to go when worming chickens and safest.
I worm my birds monthly due to our soil conditions and my birds are kept penned.

As far as eating the eggs after worming: We eat the eggs after using Valbazen or Safeguard. We're still here alive and well. Both are benzimidazoles; albendazole and fenbendazole. Albendazole is used in humans as a wormer.
However, if you suspect that you or a family member might have an adverse reaction to the minute residue in the eggs, by all means discard the eggs in the garbage for 14 days.
 

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I occasionally have to give my chickens a bit of a bath to remove feces caught in their feathers. I just use a gentle pet shampoo. Some of my fluffier girls have more trouble, and I might give them a very slight sanitary trim to help the waste hit the ground and not their feathers. Unless they are very rapidly crusting up with their own waste or exhibiting diarrhea for more than a day or two, I don't worry terribly much.
 
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