I found poultry lice on my backyard laying hens – yikes! At first, I tried using DE in their dustbath and around their run area. The DE seemed to help a little, but I could tell the chickens were getting itchy (they were starting to self-pluck).
In this video, we applied Permethrin powder 0.25% directly to my urban chickens. We rubbed it in under their wings and around their vent, doing each chicken individually. The video shows a close-up of what chicken feathers with lice eggs look like. The base of the feathers were packed with louse eggs, so it was very clear that I had a full flock infestation.
After each hen was treated with the Permethrin powder, I totally cleaned out their coop, dusting it with DE before adding fresh bedding back.
The Permethrin powder really seemed to have mixed messages about safe handling. The container itself said to wear eye protection and skin protection, so we did. But many other online resources and studies said it was safe to touch. I’m still unsure about how safe it is, but it’s always better to be overly safe around potentially harmful chemicals.
UPDATE: It’s now about 6 weeks later, and there are no live adult lice on the birds. The eggs that were attached at the base of the hen’s feathers have noticeably decreased. My backyard hens seem to be in much better spirits after the permethrin louse treatment!