Raising Chickens? What You Need to Know About Poultry Fleas
Locally-grown, organic food has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and some homeowners have even decided to raise chickens in their backyards so that they have fresh, free-range eggs. If you’re one of the many Americans raising hens, however, you may have noticed a new pest plaguing your chickens this year: the poultry flea.
The Poultry Flea
Most pet owners have dealt with fleas at some point. However, poultry fleas have only recently become common, and are now infesting chickens and making their way indoors to infest household pets as well. Unfortunately, poultry fleas not only have a sharp bite, but they are also capable of embedding themselves into a pet’s flesh. While they are not known to transmit or cause any type of disease, they can cause infection. Homeowners with backyard chickens should be alert for signs of these fleas and carefully monitor the status of indoor pests on pets and furniture. These fleas can even infest humans, so if you suspect that poultry fleas have invaded your home, be sure check your own skin, hair, and clothing items as well.
Fighting the Poultry Flea
Generally, dogs are the indoor pets most affected by poultry fleas, and they may display symptoms by constantly scratching. Cats, on the other hand, generally only have difficulty with fleas if they are allergic; yet, these furry felines may also display scabs all over their bodies if infected. To fight poultry fleas, start at the source: the chickens. If you keep chickens, inspect their bodies regularly to make sure they don’t display signs of fleas. Prevention is always key, and most preventative techniques typically boil down to awareness.
Certain types of chicken feed may contain compounds that are meant to fight fleas and other animal pests. Food-grade diatomaceous earth, for example, is a compound that livestock can consume and which may help to prevent flea invasion. Poultry fleas that have made their way indoors may require more drastic measures, so you may wish to call in a professional pest control service. If your pets have been infested with poultry fleas, consider talking to a veterinarian to discover the best treatment methods.