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Fleas are small, blood-sucking parasites that will infest nearly every mammal on Earth. Some fleas also infest poultry. Fleas crawl onto the skin of their host, feeding on the warm blood and using those nutrients to lay eggs and produce even more fleas. Fleas can often be found on the farm where a variety of warm-blooded species live. Killing fleas without harming small animals such as chickens will help stop infestation and prevent the possible spread of flea-borne diseases.
Put on your gloves and face mask. Enter your chicken coop and sweep used bedding into a large pile. Place the pile of bedding in a garbage can. Fleas not only live on your chickens but in their bedding as well, so removing soiled bedding will help remove fleas from the environment.
Remove large branches or rocks from your chicken coop. Fleas will often gather on debris in your coop as they travel between chickens. Place these items, along with the soiled bedding, inside your garbage can and cover it with a fitted lid to prevent any fleas from escaping.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth over all the surfaces in your chicken coop, including nest boxes and dirt flooring. Diatomaceous earth is a natural compound made of the fossilized remains of microscopic water plants. These tiny fragments pierce the exoskeletons of the fleas and dehydrate them, causing death. Diatomaceous earth is safe for your chickens even if they ingest it.
Add new bedding to your chicken coop and replace any feed and water pans you moved when cleaning the pen. Sprinkle more diatomaceous earth over the fresh bedding to prevent any reinfestation. Your chickens will nest and roll around in the bedding, coating themselves in the earth and killing any fleas that remain on their skin.
Diatomaceous earth is completely safe for chickens and other animals. It is used as an all-natural flea and tick treatment for dogs and cats as well. You can buy diatomaceous earth at most health food stores.
Don't apply diatomaceous earth without a face mask. It can cause lung damage if inhaled.
- chicken image by Pity from Fotolia.com