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Avian Lice


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Lice in Pet Birds

There are a large number of species of avian lice, some of
which are named after the bird they parasitize or the area
of the body they prefer.

Lice are wingless insects and are the most common external
parasites of birds. They are so small they are often invisible
to the eye.

Lice are placed into two groups: Biting lice and sucking lice.

The entire life cycle of the lice is spent entirely on the bird,
leaving it only to attack another victim.

The eggs are laid in clusters along the shaft of the feathers.
These egg clusters are referred to as nits, and hatch within a
few days, producing nymphs. Nymphs are young immature lice. The
nymphs then go through changes and later become larvae, which go
through several more changes before they finally become mature
adult lice. Adult lice can live for several months on the host,
but they can only live for a few days away from or off their bird

Signs & Symptoms of Lice on Pet Birds

* Restlessness
* Excessive preening
* Ruffling of feathers
* Irritation.

Sometimes the plumage and feathers don't even appear to be
damaged by the lice, even in very severe infestations. But in some
cases, evidence of feather damage by lice is quite evident.

What to do About Bird Lice

To control bird lice, the bird activity inside or on the housing/cage
must be eliminated or prevented and all nest materials removed.
Areas where nests are located often require treatment to eliminate any wandering lice.

Dusting powders, bathing solutions, and vapors have all been found satisfactory. Solutions in the form of sprays containing pyrethrum,
"Alugan", gammexane, and other substances recommended
for eradication of fleas etc., are efficient and more persistent
than dusting powders and vapors.

They need to be used with considerable care, especially on small
passerines as some are toxic to some species of birds.

It's always best to check with your local vet to see what is the
newest and safest treatment.

See Also:

Feather Mites in Pet Birds

Mites in Pet Birds

Bird Calendars full of Pizzazz

Totally Irresistible Stuffed Plush Birds

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