I added three adult laying Cuckoo Marans hens to help fill some of my egg requests. I bought them off of Craigslist and was really excited about having some Marans running around. Well, they have chicken lice. I mean, they are flippin infested. Now, parasites are not uncommon in poultry, but it’s still gross. I noticed the critters (unfortunately) after the purchase when I was unloading the hens at home.
Thankfully, they were in their travel cages at the time, so they have not come into contact in any way with my flock. For the record, my own hens are beautiful and clean and parasite free, and I want it to stay that way. I am mindful about keeping everything clean and tidy for them as possible. I put out new hay/timothy grass every week in the nesting boxes, and they get a new layer of pine shavings litter about once every 3-4 weeks. The coop house itself stays fairly clean since they spend most of the day ranging outside and having natural dust baths.
Back to the Marans, I immediately dusted them, ALL the chicken bedding, roosting areas and nest boxes with poultry dust, and re-inspected my own hens. I handle my hens everyday, but try to do a more thorough feather check about once a month. Chicken lice are not a risk to people, dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. They only live on chickens.
The new hens are now in quarantine, which really is best practice regardless of any known issues. They are setup in the unused outdoor covered dog kennel, in a covered ex pen, and there they shall remain for at least 30 days. While they are in quarantine they will also be prophylacticly treated for coccidia just in case.
Moral of the story: Craigslist is pretty cool, but I should have bought these birds as chicks from a certified hatchery or CLEAN breeder. I tell you, some of the backyard chicken setups I have seen lately are appalling, but so were the human dwellings and land, so, I hope not to repeat this same purchasing mistake in the future.