Flystrike can be deadly if left untreated. Flystrike isn't limited to just poultry. Humans and other animals are at risk too.
According to poultrydvm.com, “Flystrike, also known as myiasis, is a painful, potentially fatal condition. It is caused by flies laying their eggs on the chicken, which hatch into maggots and begin to eat the bird alive.
Chickens do a fabulous job on their own caring for their feathers and skin. You’ll find them dust bathing and preening all day long. This keeps them looking and feeling healthy. But we must work together as a team with our flock. They need us to provide adequate care in exchange for their love and beautiful eggs.
Flystrike often occurs during the sweltering summer months. They're taking in more fluids to stay hydrated and in turn producing looser stools. Depending on the type of breeds in your flock those fluffybutts catch all the poop! This is a magnet for flies.
A Chicken Checkup is necessary to stay on top of your chicken's overall health. Set aside a certain amount of each week to hold and inspect each bird. Flystrike usually occurs in the vent area but is not limited to this. Flys can and will lay their eggs in any opened wound they can find. So, check those birds often! Keep those vents clean and dry.
It's important to mention that if your chicken has a consistent issue with diarrhea there may be something else going on. A potential digestive issue or a heavy worm load. I know not everyone has access to a local Avian veterinarian. But most veterinarians will at minimum look at a fecal sample to help you determine the underlaying cause. Like I mentioned earlier some diarrhea is normal during high heat days.
You can help control the number of flies around and inside your coop with these simple tips.
- Scoop the poop and remove often, inside, and out. This step alone will cut down on the number of flies just hanging around.
-Flytraps are a necessity around our property. There are several assorted brands, and some are reusable. Personally, I cannot empty those bags full of flies and readd the fly bait. I use the kind that are prefilled with bait, and I just add water. Once full, I just cut the line holding it up and throw it away. If you can do the reusable brands then you're amazing!
- Keep your flocks litter/bedding CLEAN and DRY. I can't stress this enough. Wet bedding is a haven for flies to gather. It’s like a fly spa!
- Vanilla Scented air fresheners are a hit with several of our followers. I received one in a subscription box for chicken keepers, and it did well. I wouldn’t use it as a stand-alone option though. At least not where I live.
-Elector PSP is a powerful well-known pest control. This can be expensive, but a little goes a long way. According to their website there is no egg withdrawal time.
- Providing a dust bath area for your chickens is necessary. They shake and shimming in the dirt to free their skin and feathers of any impurities.
Let’s go over a few signs that your chicken may have flystrike.
- Off to themselves, not eating or drinking, and not foraging as they normally would.
- A heavy thick layer of poop around their vent area. (Remember flystrike can happen on any open wound).
I’m not a veterinarian and never claimed to be. But if veterinarian care is not available this may safe your bird's life.
What can I do now?
- Separate immediately.
- Offer Nutri-drench, Poultry cell or a similar vitamin supplement.
- Move the effected chicken intro a warm bath to access the situation.
- You’ll need to remove the maggots from the wound.
- Dry the area with a towel or low setting blow dryer and spray with a vet spray of your choice. Avoid using ointments as the flies will gravitate to the texture.
- Keep the chicken separated until wound is healed. This can take weeks depending on the severity of the wound.
- You may need to trim their fluffy butt feathers. I’ve trimmed several of my big bottom girl's vent feathers this week.
Depending on the severity of the infection and wound your chicken may require antibiotics and pain medicine from a veterinarian.
With a little love and extra attention, we can help keep our flocks safe and healthy for the summer months!!