lice are species specific

Oh yes, indeed they are.  I made sure.  About six hundred million times.  But I'm still itchy just thinking about it.

Our new hen has lice.  Avian lice.  Oh joy.

The solution?  A cleaning of the roost and coop, new bedding, and a dousing of both the living quarters and the girls with food grade diatomaceous earth.  What fun.  I certainly wasn't going to powder them all up with Sevin dust like some of the books recommend.  For many reasons, for sure, but if you can't eat your hens' eggs for a week after putting some nasty powder on them, do you really think you should be using it in the first place?  Come on folks, this isn't rocket science here.  Stuff like that has no place in our food system.  How did we ever let them get there anyway?  But that's a whole other post....

I discovered the lice because I found a little bugger crawling on me (!) after handling our new hen.  She seems to prefer humankind over her own, so she and I have been hanging out a lot.  If Claire or I sit down in their fenced in area, she comes right up and sticks her cute little chicken face right in ours and cocks her head from side to side like she's waiting for us to do something.  Something that seems obvious to her, but not so much to us silly humans.

By the way, her name is Margaret.

Does everyone name their birds?  I mean, I know it isn't generally recommended if you plan on eating them, but these girls are just for eggs.  For now, anyway.  I have a lot of fun picking out names for just about anything, but I had a particularly good time with these ladies.  Pearl, Mabel and Margaret.  Can't you just see them in their silly aprons and perfectly styled bobs running around the house getting things in order before good ol' Mr. Rooster comes home for the evening expecting a dinner plate hot and ready?

So anyway, back to those pesky lice.

The hens and I got real intimate for this diatomaceous earth dusting.  I was definitely in their personal space.  Mike felt the need to capture the moment on film.  Here I am, in all my dust mask hen bathing glory.

And no, I'm not about 16 weeks pregnant..... I just have poor posture.  Yes, that's it, poor posture.  (a completely, ahem, unrelated aside....making a chocolate sheet cake for your husband when you aren't having a party and it's just going to sit there until the two of you eat it?  Not so great for 'posture')

Claire wasn't sure what to make of mama in that silly mask, running around the hen yard trying to catch Pearl.....

But we all turned out alright in the end.  Hopefully those little creepy crawlies are well on their way to be completely dessicated right about now.

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