We found our hen dead last week and discovered our rooster was very sick yesterday. After taking him to the vet, we learned he was being eaten alive by buffalo gnats. The vet recommended dusting under feathers with 5% Sevin dust to kill the gnats and mites, covering comb and wattles with Vaseline to protect them from further bites, and rubbing or spraying the Avon product 'Skin So Soft' on his feathers as a repellant. He said the gnats are particularly bad this spring due to our rains.
Anyone else having this problem? Do you have any other suggestions or advice? We do not raise poultry - only have the one rooster now but may replace the dead hen with another hen or two later.
Molly, I googled it - they are just gnats. Also known as black flies, punks, punkies, etc. Technically, they are very small flies and the females attach themselves to animals and suck blood sometimes to the point of death. They particularly like the eye, ear and nose areas. They breed in water and travel in swarms. That's about the extent of my knowlege. It's impossible to get away from them. We cannot even go on the side of the house where the chicken coop is because they are so thick. Our vet said one of his clients lost 50 chickens - they huddled together trying to protect their faces and suffocated. Apparently, they are becoming a serious problem in this area due to the excess rainfall. They like warm, moist environments. He also recommended letting the rooster free range for a while and spraying the coop with malathion. We've followed all of his advice except the Skin So Soft - need to locate an Avon rep. I also read some people put Campho-Phenic (sp?) on the chicken's head as a repellant.
We just tried to catch Dewey (the rooster) and doctor him again but he was not cooperative. Bet we looked pretty silly. Guess it will have to wait until he roosts this evening.
That is real interesting, I know my horse get eaten up by some pesty gnats I don't know if the same they bite his belly till it's raw. But you say you put SSS on the Hen? Full dose?
I wounder how that would work on horses!?
I've not heard of that either Debra. I have often put a cat litter box out inthe hen house with diatamaceous earth in it forthem to use as a dusting box. I got one in the chick pen now, I had some loosing feathers, and I dusted them for mites. This is a natural thing, you can get at lowes.
Thanks for the great ideas! Hadn't thought of keeping him in the garage for a few days. Bet we can work something out with a portable dog fence we used with one of our puppies. And the ditamaceous earth is brilliant! He digs huge holes in my flower beds and throws dirt everywhere taking his dust baths.
Thanks for the link, Molly, and I hope your gnats stay in the woods.
8153311LE, no, we have not tried the SSS yet. Our hen died from unknown cause but I suspect it was the gnats. We will try the SSS as soon as we locate some. Or maybe we will try the lemon grass and citronella idea.
I just went out to plant some flowers and was literally chased back in the house by the gnats. I had sprayed all over with OFF but that didn't help at all. They were in my hair, eyes, nose, ears, and biting my arms and neck. It's horrible! I read somewhere that they tend to be gone by May 1st. Sure hope that's the case here!
My goodness, suppose it's the wooded area? I've not had problems with knats, but I suppose if their that bad, that they would kill a chicken.
I have little holes all over my flower gardens cause my chickens free range from about l2 noon on . there are off limits areas that i have to chase them out of once in a while. I hate the holes they make dusting and digging for bugs
Tamara - that's ironic. We got our chickens to eat bugs! Ticks in particular. LOL! A duck couldn't begin to eat all the gnats around here. There are bizillions. I went to the Farm Co-Op this afternoon and they say it's a widespread problem right now because of our wet Spring. They also recommended SSS.
BTW - just to let anyone interested know ... the vasaline on his comb, waddles, and around his eye area does help. It acts as a barrier. He seems to like it when we add fresh vasaline in the evening. I put Campho-Phenique on my outer ears and neck when outside this morning and it seemed to help - also had cotton in my ears and a mask over my nose, wore long sleeves and gloves. LOL! Haven't found any SSS yet so may try a little Campho on Dewey's head and back tonight.
I'm with Tamara on the natural remedies, if they are possible. I have had problems with my apple tree and some kind of flies, and have been reading that flies hate basil. Maybe gnats hate basil too, it would be inexpensive and harmless to try it.
I do know that oregano kills lice, if you boil it 10 minutes in water, cool and apply. I am not certain about other insects, but I have been washing my dog in oregano and it does seem to help fleas and ticks.
TF I think that's great how you have learned these natural remedies. I appreciate and respect that more than you can know. After reading about DE from so many on here, I bought some of it too. However, I need to check out if I bought the right kind. Somebody else posted not to buy the kind that is for swimming pools. Not sure what I have, but it says Codex approved or something. Guess you all have heard that they plan to take away our vitamins and natural products with some international law called Codex? I was shocked when I saw that word on my DE bag.
Fleursdefouquet, I sure hope things calm down there soon. If it were me I would probably boil some basil and oregano and pour it on the rooster, along with everything else suggested that might help. Surely one thing or the other will work. Poor little fellow, sounds terrible what they have gone through. :( Hope he gets better soon.
TF we had rain a few days ago. I caught some rainwater. :)
TF, we finally got some rain yesterday. Red flag alert for fires has gone done. Have a rain barrel, but it isn't set up. DH slacking. (I haven't told him to set it up yet).
Just heard about a remedy for mosquitos, don't know if it works yet, but will try it out. Listerine...the original one. Might work against flies and gnats, too. With getting the rain like we did, the mosquitos will be out in force over the next few days, so I will have an opportunity to try this stuff.
Hey! I was outside working this am and even went around the chicken coop side of the house. No gnats!!!!! They must have moved on. THANK GOODNESS! They still come up out of the ground when it's disturbed (as in planting - ugh) but the cloud-like swarm near the coop is gone.
I did dab some Campho-Phenique on Dewey last night after lathering up his comb with vaseline. Poor guy, he looks so bad. All greasy from the vaseline and his comb looks awful. The gnats actually chewed a couple of lesions and it's discolored. I'll try to take his photo and post it. Just don't tell him he will be on the world wide web looking like this - he's quite vain.
I found out those Buffalo gnats are called black flies here and they've arrived in droves! If you stay still too long they get in your eyes and ears. Try to talk and they get in your mouth! Ugh! Happily dry weather kills them off for the year.
Hey everyone - I have something that might help you all!...
Years ago, I bought a wide brimmed straw gardening hat with a bug net that was made to go over it. The mosquitoes were so bad up at our cottage (Northern Michigan) that NO ONE could go outside at any time during the day! I put a heavy, long sleeve cotton shirt on with jeans, socks, gardening gloves, and Muck Boots (I have a FYI re: Muck Boots below), and sprayed my clothing good with Cutter bug repellent, -- along with my gardening hat and bug net which I did not spray, and I no longer had a problem working outside in my garden!! Boy, the flies, gnats, and mosquitoes swarmed all around my net but they couldn't get through it, and I didn't get one (1) bite!! So, that being said, here are a few links for hats with bug nets, full body bug nets (if you buy one of these you have to post a picture of you wearing it!! lol), and Muck Boots. Hope this helps!! ...Wonder if you could make a body net for chickens? Or at least put them in a chicken tractor and cover it with this bug net fabric until the flies are gone for the season, then they could go back to free ranging...
Let me know if you get a hat with a bug net and Muck Boots! You'll LOVE them!
PS: Just for the record, I have not purchase anything from the following companies before. I bought my hat and Muck Boots locally.
FYI about Muck Boots... They are as soft as your favorite slippers, 100% waterproof, the rubber is VERY soft so you never have to 'break them in', they have an outstanding tread on the bottom that keeps you from slipping in mud, wet grass, etc., and, I don't know how they do it, but your feet never stink after wearing them all day! I've had mine for years now and apparently, you can't wear them out - or at least it takes many more years to do so. I bought both of my parents a pair of Muck Boots (they're in their 70's) and they LOVE them. They wear them (almost) everywhere - year round! Muck Boots are a gardener's "Must Have". They come in several styles so check them all out. The link I have above is to the pair that I have. ...Enjoy! :)
I have the Muck Shoes and they're my favorite footware! I want to get some Muck Boots next since there are times when the water is high or the ground is too mucky for the shoes. You're right, feet don't smell in them. Don't know why but that's a good thing.
Glenda, thanks for the links! The netting is a great idea. Wonder if I could make my own hat net? Shouldn't be too hard to do. Now you've got me thinking about a net for the chicken coop. Hmmmmmmm...
You're right, Molly, they are called black flies. Only learned this after googling gnats. Whatever they are called, they are AWFUL! Even though ours have thinned out dramatically, they are still biting. Two days ago my left ear was 2x the size of my right ear and bright red due to 3 gnat bites. And still itches like crazy!
scrambleme, (love the name) that's a good idea about the DE and sand. Kathy, wasn't it you that said you keep a pan of DE for your birds to dust in?
Ummmmm ... BTW ... is anyone interested in a very friendly, highly social, 'keeps you in stitches' rooster?????? We have just adopted a stray dog and will be bringing him home from the vet this afternoon. We've decided to try and find a home for Dewey so the dogs can run outside of the fenced yard. Kathy Ann, wouldn't you like a rooster that follows you around like a puppy? He even runs along behind me in the Kawasaki Mule (4 wheel vehicle). When he follows me in the Mule I don't know whether to laugh because he's so silly looking or cry because he's so pathetic (ie:lonely). You could take him home with you from the RU!!!!!!!!! :)
I live just down the road from you, and I am having trouble with these buffalo gnats for the first time ever. Yesterday I had 2 dead pullets, and there are 2 more that look like they aren't going to make it.
I don't know what to do! I'm afraid I'm going to lose all my young chickens. I dusted heavily with DE, but I've heard that doesn't really do much. Maybe rub some tea tree oil on them?
Can you buy citronella plants to put in the coop? Are they poisonous to birds?
I'm really worried about what this is going to do to my young flock!
are any of you by chance reporting these losses to any agency? county extension agent, State Ag Dept or University? i just think if i worked at one of those places, i might be needing some stats on just how bad these gnats are and what their economic impact is.
i am very sorry to hear folks are still losing chickens to the flies... ;-(
TameraFaye is right (thanks for the suggestion TF) - I'm sure various agenicies want to know numbers and have much more advice than I can offer. Our vet did suggest putting a fan on them. Can you do that with your chickens? The moving air keeps the gnats at bay. We just had the one rooster and covering his comb and around his eyes with petroleum jelly helped. We never did get the Skin So Soft - the gnats were mostly gone by the time I found a source. Allowing him to free range let him get away from the worst of them. Good luck!
Did you get the info about the recent Round-Up held here at my home last Saturday? We would have loved for you to join us. I'll dmail you with more info.
Virginia spray the inside of the poultry house till all the gnats are dead, then keep your birds inside and spray the swarms when they get bad with Pyretherin(SP) spray. These gnats are deadly and you WILL lose all of your birds. The dusting does not work. I don't know about the citronella, but this problem is widespread and the spray has been the only thing to work for me. Even then you still have to be vigilant and check on your hens. They will leave when it gets warmer and dries up, but who the heck knows when that may be.
During the worst of it earlier this spring, I got bitten twice behind the same ear. It was so red and swollen - very noticeably larger than the other ear. It looked pretty funny - but itched like crazy! Cortizone cream didn't seem to phase it. So far, (knock on wood) this one doesn't itch quite as bad.
I stopped at Hobby Lobby and bought some tulle to make DH and I gnat netting for our heads so we can work in the yard tomorrow. This should be a hoot!
Ahhhh...I think we will pass on putting that lovely image on the world wide web! lol!
It didn't work too well, either. I tried pinning the tulle to the top of my hat and letting it hang down like a bridal veil. Since I didn't take the time to get out the sewing machine and tried to tie the sides closed instead, it had openings the gnats could get into. It was hot, gnats got in, and I could't scratch my nose without doing it through the tulle. What did I do? Went to the website you provided and ordered a pretty pink and white hat with netting! lol! The order also included hats for my DH, DBIL and DSIL - the men will get camo and SIL will get a pretty turquoise. :)
TamaraFaye, the shipping was only $5. A flat rate for all 4. I probably won't get it in time to help with gnats this season but I'll be ready next year!!!!! The three others are called camo boonie and bucket style hats. Mine is a wide brimmed straw hat that cost 2x as much as the others, but it's 2x as cute!
Perfect, fleurs! ...I have to admit, I laughed out loud when I read that you broke down and ordered your hats. I would have done the same thing! At least you gave it a try! You'll love the hats, I'm sure, but you'll REALLY love yours with the wide brimmed hat because it keeps the netting farther away from your face and so it feels less claustrophobic - if you're prone to that. My hat has a wide brim, and I love it with the netting. It is the "perfect" hat!
Post a picture of it when you get it!! Everyone will want one when they see yours!
Glenda, my 'home-made' version was using a bucket style hat with a fairly wide brim but it was not wide enough. When it's 90 degrees and 90% humidity - it gets hot in there fast! Persperation was clinging to the net and making it hard to see, much less hard to breathe! Ugh!
Tamara, that's the one I ordered for me!
Since the tulle didn't work, a different method was used yesterday. Imagine a pink bandana wrapped around my head 'do-rag' style and a wide-brimmed sun visor pulled over that. At least my ears were covered. Then there were the ticks ... LOL! It's a war out there!
TF, that's why we got the roosters to start with. They were great and cut down on the ticks dramatically but since I found Dewey a good home last week that's the end of any fowl for me. They have too many predators and are suseptible to too many diseases, etc. We can't let our dogs out while the birds are free ranging. We may have to resort to spraying the worst areas.
Are you asking for the pink and white wide brimmed hat for your birthday? Is it coming up soon? I'll model mine if you model yours!
I get all my hats from a local hardware/ag. supply chain--they have enormous brims and we use mosquitoe netting to make seed bags where I work. Maybe I can put the two together? But nothing will beat the concealment indutries model. I want to garden looking like the cool blonde model...sigh.
i am afraid that just buying the hat won't get me looking like her...
i almost bought another hat the other day. tried several on that anged from 8 to 20 dollars... nothing fit right, looked right, did the right thing, etc...
so i am just wearing my good old baseball cap with somebody's ad on it, it was free, and it keep my hair up.
i need netting that also shades the sun...
cat, that is our engagement photo, we had put in the newspaper! and you can look hard and see our original flock of Bukeyes and RC Brown Leghorns in there. i am holding Matt, who won first place, and was just edged out for best in breed by RoadRunner, he got Reserve, also in Mediterranean Class
TF, that photo sure made me smile. Like Cat said, tie-dyed American Gothic. You have to remember, I lived through the "hippie commune" days. We used to visit a commune in those days to buy some of our leather stuff.
thanks guys, er i mean "y'all" [pretending to be a native Texan here]
we had a lot of fun in those days. we worked all day, till it got too hot, then sat in the poultry shed and worked on cutting seed potatoes or whatever, had a cold drink, talked, got to know one another, fell in love. had a great time thinking of fun things like this photo.
then we got married and all he)) froke loose. oh well. we are still kicking, and anyone in our way gets it right in the shin!!!
Debra,. you still owe a photo when you get your hat. i may make a homemade one, and will post a photo. the screen will cover how i have aged the last two years. i am DEFINITELY younge than i look and act lol...
dh IS a hippie, tried and true, even tramped quite a while. when we met, he had nothing better to do than help me, so he did. he has just travleled around and ehlped poeple all his life, though that is not the way he tells it. one day i expect to meet someone on DG that has known him.
i am just a naturalist at heart. and if it weren't for my good sense of humor, well... better not go there ^_^
p.s. i really had to concentrate on bad thoughts like eating that rooster in order to frown in the photo. then he had to go away during our "nieghbor problem" and he didn't make it back. we really miss our leghorn roos, and so do the leghorn hens. gonna get a wellsummer to remedy that!
TF, you sound like you are almost as unconventional as I am. The one thing I have never approved of from the hippie generation is the drug use. That I have never done. Since I consider myself a control freak, I have never tried them as I won't lose control of myself and to my understanding that is what using drugs does.
In my case, it was literally love at first sight!! I had gone to the neighborhood watering place with a girlfriend, DH opened the door and looked in, and did a double take. I did the same. I asked GF why she never told me about him, and she said she was afraid of him. (of course he is a pussycat unless you make him mad) She had forgotten that I liked my men on the big size. DH is only six foot, but weighed about 200# at the time. He was a former boxer and cute as a button. At least I thought so. We met in August, he moved in in October, and we have been together ever since. That was 38 years ago. We got married along the way, and now have been legal for 31 years. Like we both say, "we ain't goin nowhere".
DH is drug free, unless you count eating ibuprofen... he looks scary too, you should see his tatoos LOL, but he always seemed gentle and quiet to me... but we were friends and totally did NOT expect anything else, i suppose everyone at church was just watching and waiting LOL
funny, my oldst sister was from the hippie generation, and there was plenty i never approved of... but i got over it ^_^
ahven't ordered yet. birthday is also anniversary, just after father's day, and druing our family vacation [which we pretty much don't get this year, but will find a local substitute] so i am putting off spending money on me... but not for long!
Sorry, I've been meaning to update everyone on the hat. It must have been shipped the day I ordered it. It was delivered lightening fast! It's a nice hat with a very comfy inside band. The top zips open to release the netting. What I really like is that the zipper can be left open to act as a vent for heat. Don't think it was designed that way but that's the way I used it. No photos yet but maybe later.
I'm also happy with the boonie and bucket style hats ordered for family members as Christmas gifts. Would definitely recommend them!
Hey, after all the hard work that we put into our yards/property/gardens what better place to sit back and enjoy it? There's no place like home.
Back to those @*$%^@%$ gnats - I watched a huge millipede (?) being tortured by gnats yesterday while it was trying to crawl across the concrete. It kept stopping to curl up and knock off the gnats biting it. I tried to put it into a flower bed so it could get under mulch but it didn't seem to get the idea and kept coming back out. Not that I like giant bugs, but it was hard to watch him being tortured like that.
OK, ik scrolled up [like, what rooster?] and do you mena Dewey or Matt?
The one i am holding WAS a rose combed brown leghorn. he took first in breed/sex, but was outdone by his half sister for best in breed and best in class.
He was exceeded in beauty only by Foghorn, RRs brother, RIP to all the little leghorn guys, even Whitey...
here is a chick pic of whitey... well, this is the only one i can find... right now. i was just taking apic becasue he was the only one with white in his flight feathers... it had molted to the correct color by the time he was six months, so he didn't get disqualified at the fair..
thanks for asking. i loved my Leghorn roos, they were great guys and lost their lives protecting the hens... i think the leghorn hens are going to get a welsummer roo this year... they are beautiful too!
Oh, Dewey! Well, he thanks you for the compliment. We were told he was a cross between Rhode Island and a breed that starts with an 'A' (this one gave him the thick ear tuffs and butt feathers). I don't know anything about chickens and can't recall the name of the 'A' breed. Someone suggested he was a New Hampshire Red and, when I googled it, I have to agree he looks more like a NH than RI.
We found a good home for Dewey about 3 weeks ago. Here is a copy of the email I got from his new owner (she's a DG member - gen2026):
" I brought Dewey home 2 new hens today. They are 1 yr old Brown Sexlinks (sp)... but I was showing my oldest son how Dewey likes eating treats from your hand...and he took a piece of biscuit and "gave" it to the white hen that he has been courting. He took it from me and dropped it right in front of her, but she didn't seem to see it, so he picked it up again in a few seconds and dropped it even closer to her. Then she looked at it and walked off - then he picked it up AGAIN and dropped it close to her. She walked over to it again, kinda pecked at it disinterested, and walked off...so he promptly went over and ate it. All the rest of it, he ate as he took from my hand. I guess he figured there was no point in trying to be a gentleman, if she wasn't going to eat it...LOL"
Now if we can get rid of the oak worms (gypsy moths), we would be pleased. Some of our trees look like cotton plants they are so covered with webs. You look out over the fields and it looks like you are looking at a cotton plantation with the bolls ready to harvest.
So sorry for your troubles. Yes, the hot weather and final lack of rain got rid of them for the most part. There are a few still out there, but not the swarms. Hopefully the heat will come your way soon!
Thanks Patch. We're suppose to hit 90 sometime this weekend. That should wipe most of them out. Still overcast here this morning.
GG we call them tent catterpillars and they're here already. Many years ago they got so bad they devastated most of the trees. No fall leaves that year! They're building up again. Each year I can see more of them in the trees.
Molly, that's what they are. Many years ago they were so thick, people were using boiling water to wash them off the walls of their houses so the people could get in the doors. That was before we moved here and we were coming up in the fall to go small game hunting here. They were about 2 inches thick on the wall of the motel we stayed at that year. We didn't stay long as you couldn't even stay in the woods for the caterpillars falling on you. Even the birds couldn't keep up with them. We lost miles of oak trees here then. I hope you don't get them that bad this year, but it looks as if we are going to.
Arkansas was hit hard last year. I'd never seen anything like it. Every oak was between 1/3 to 2/3 defoliated. You could actually hear them eating! And what felt and sounded like a light shower was, well, it was a shower but NOT water! Yuck!
This was after a hail storm in early April did serious damage and a late killing frost in April of '06 killed anything already leafed out. It's amazing we have any trees left.
I think we're good for another two years or so. Two or three years ago we had a different kind of catterpillar that covered everything! Their poop was everywhere (and it sounded like a shower!). Our deck was a mess with it. Happily they died back a lot these past two years. Birds here don't seem to touch either type of catterpillar.
I can remember back in 1984 the gypsy moth caterpillers were so bad that the literally covered everything. If you went for a walk on the road you would be constantly stepping on them. They devastated many trees-the state finally flew helicopters around the state spraying them. Boy was it disgusting with all the dead caterpillars just hanging off the trees. We haven't had a bad infestation of them since.
We are getting revved up for that heat! It's supposed to be 90 tomorrow and the upper 90's Sunday-the weatherman said it's going to go well into next week. It's still raining here and in the upper 50's-been like this for 3 days! The temps tomorrow will be a shock! Glad that the plants are getting a good dose of rain beforehand though.
Sue, we got the heat, not too bad, tho. The humidity is what is bad here. DH does the laundry each week, and hung my sports bras in the bathroom on Wednesday. They weren't quite dry this morning (friday). So, I guess we will have to run the air for a while just to get the humidity out. We both have asthma and the air being heavy gives us a little trouble breathing then. So, with the rain you are getting you should have the humidity too. S S.
Sue, the image of all those dead cats hanging from trees creeps me out.
Part of our problem is air circulation. We live in the country, on 12 wooded acres, on a slight slope with a ridge behind us. The property was excavated to make a level spot for the house. Add to that the 6' retaining wall between the back yard and back patio, we created a giant windbreak behind the house that has poor circulation and lots of heat due to brick and concrete. Ugh! Even the front yard has poor circulation because it's surrounded by woods. Double ugh! The bugs love it. and then the powdery mildew...
I'm trying not to use chemicals since we plant to attract hummers and butterflies but sometimes it gets so bad there's no other choice. I'm thinking of trying Bayer 3-in-1 on non-host plants (butterfly cats) to kill the grasshoppers, aphids, leaf hoppers and bad caterpillers. Anybody have an opinion or advice?
Sounds suffocating for both of you. Been there Granny! Can't tell you how many times I've worn jeans that aren't quite dry!! We are generally plagued with humidity all summer-tomorrow the heat index is supposed to be over 100.
Can anyone tell me how to tell the difference between the Asian verigated lady beetle and a ladybug?? I have never heard of the avlb before - and I had what I thought were ladybugs in my garden, but NOW I am not sure...??? How can I tell?
Also, does anyone know if the insects that LOOK like ladybugs but are different colors such as orange or yellow ... what are they ???
All ladybug beetles eat aphids--even the imported Asian ones. And they can differ in color and number of spots within the same species. When you say "yellow" do you mean the slightly longer looking yellow beetle with spots? I think that one is a different family and may do some damage. Can't remember its name right now. Here is a nice site describing ladybugs and the problem with the Asian lady beetle.
Thanks for the site, I will do some reading on them... no the yellow ones are pale in color and look exactly like a "lady bug"... I just wasn't sure if they were. I can't remember studying that when I was in college taking entomology...and my trusty professor has just retired because I would normally just shoot him an email and see what he said...
Thanks for the link, Catscan. I didn't realize that those biting Asian ladybeetles are what invaded our home when we lived in town. Just like the article says, they would come in swarms in the fall and they would be crawling on the ceiling and lots collected inside light fixtures (they are attracted to light) and had a bad odor. They tended to be around our back door off the deck (the southwest part of the house). We had lots of larvae crawling on the back deck. They are so ugly - I killed them until I learned what they were and left them alone. The article described them to a 'T'!
LOL - we have the same problem here where I work. One of the guy's office here is literally INVADED with them and he always complains about the smell... I forwarded him a link with the article about them. Of course, our building is old and isn't very airtight so it is easy for them to gain access to it.