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Take Action Against External Parasites and Pests in Poultry

April 17, 2019

Whether a producer keeps a few poultry birds or several thousand, common external parasites such as fleas, ticks, lice and mites can be devastating.

Left unchecked, parasites can spread throughout a flock, causing economic loss and unnecessary suffering by the infected birds.

one healthy and one diseased chicken foot by Yuko Sato.

Fortunately, the signs of a parasite infestation are often easy to detect, and there are a wide variety of products available for treatment.

“Some of the most common questions I get asked are about parasites,” said Yuko Sato, DVM and poultry veterinarian with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there.”

A new ISU Extension and Outreach publication provides a list of common parasites that affect poultry, along with a chart that compares the different insecticides available. The publication is called “Poultry External Parasite and Pest Control,” (ASR 0001) and it includes a description and photos of common external parasites.

After correctly identifying which parasite is affecting their birds, producers can compare insecticide names, brands, application method and the amount necessary per bird, or per premise.

The publication provides producers with “something that is tangible,” Sato said, so they can make sound comparisons and decisions about the most effective treatment.

Producers are reminded to carefully read and follow all label directions, and to follow any changes to product labeling and use. A good resource is VetPest(, which provides a database of registered pesticides used for animals.

Sato said that parasites “do not discriminate” between small and large flocks, and that there has been a resurgence of parasite-related issues, in part due to the move toward cage-free housing and free-range flocks, which has led to an increase in bird-to-soil contact.

“Poultry External Parasite and Pest Control” is available on the ISU Extension and Outreach Store, at

For more information, contact Sato at 515-294-0710, or

Source: Yuko Sato, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach