Feather Lice


Stop Your Bird's Aggression Now!

Download your free guide "Why Birds Bite and What to Do About It"

    I will never sell your information for any reason

    Save This Article As PDF to Read Later

    Feather lice are observed as small groupings of tiny dark spots in the webbing of the feathers. Holding a feather up to the light will show feather lice very clearly. Budgies can have large numbers at the base of the tail feathers, so many in fact that they look like mud stuck to the feathers.

    The following information has been provided by Dr. Rob Marshall:

    Lice and Mite Control
    The treatments for lice, mites and flies concentrate around the breeding season when the weather is warm and the number of young birds is high. The treatments of the past (e.g. O/P insecticides such as malathion) are very toxic to birds. Unknowingly, bird enthusiasts were poisoning themselves, their young birds and the breeding performance of their birds. Fortunately, nowadays, safer and more effective products such as Ivermectin type medicine, appropriate insectide treatment and Water Cleanser have replaced the “old” toxic insecticides. These three products are used in combination to control lice, mites and biting flies in parrot and finch aviaries.

    Ivermectin type medicine
    Is a remarkable product given in the drinking water which not only kills lice, mites and flies, but also roundworms and blood parasites. It is perfectly safe to use in breeding birds and during the moult. Ivermectin kills those ecto-parasites which live on the bird, suck blood or skin scale, but it does not kill quill mites.

    Appropriate insectide treatment
    Is a natural insecticide (permethrin is extracted from daisy flowers) powder which is mixed in water and sprayed throughout the aviary or used as a bath to “break” the life cycle of the ecto-parasites. Its residual action kills the eggs, nymphs and those parasites which do not suck blood/eat skin scale (e.g. quill mites) nor live on the bird (e.g. red mite, biting fly, mosquitoes). It is used the day Ivermectin type medicine is given to break heavy infestations of ecto-parasites.

    Stop Bird Biting!

    Download our free e-book:

    Why Does My Bird Bite and What To Do About It

      Water Cleanser
      Is used in the bath water to kill ecto-parasites and clean the feathers of dead quill mites after Ivermectin is used. It is also used as a dual purpose aviary disinfectant and insect repellent when flies and mosquitoes are a problem.

      Other Options for Treatment and Prevention:


      To remove lice, it is recommended to use a mild pet insecticide, such as “Nuvan.” After spraying the plumage, wait for 2 – 3 minutes and then gently ruffle the feathers over a white tray or plastic sheet to collect the lice which fall from the feathers.

      Stop Bird Biting!

      Download our free e-book:

      Why Does My Bird Bite and What To Do About It

        I found that one great way to remove lice and mites from your birds is to sprinkle Sevin Garden dust under their wings and tail, and on the back. Check the birds the next day and if there are still lice present, repeat the process, as needed. I found Sevin dust [active ingredient: Carbaryl (1-napthyl N-methylcarbamate)] equally effective in getting rid of red mites.

        Avian Insect Liquidator is another way to get rid of mites, lice and other insects in the birds’ environment. This all-purpose insecticide from Vetafarm contains a water-based insecticide that is harmless to birds but effective against insects.

        Stop Bird Biting!

        Download our free e-book:

        Why Does My Bird Bite and What To Do About It


          Sanitize and treat the birds’ environment (cages, perches, aviaries, nesting areas, etc.). Secondly, allow your birds to bathe daily. Most birds enjoy doing so and if you provide them with a shallow clean dish, they will usually be happy to bathe without encouragement. Some birds like to be misted, or even sprayed. Sprinkling Sevin dust underneath nest bowls and around nests will eliminate all kinds of insects.

          NEED A VET?
          Find Your Local Avian Veterinarian

          Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.

          Index of Bird DiseasesSymptoms and Potential CausesBird Species and Diseases They are Most Susceptible to

          Save This Article As PDF to Read Later
          Photo of author

          Team Beauty of Birds

          Beautyofbirds.com's team of experts includes veterinarians, biologists, environmentalists and active bird watchers. All put together, we have over half a century of experience in the birding space.

          You can meet our team here.
          Team Beauty of Birds is separate from the “Parrot Parent University” parrot training course and its instructors.

          Stop your bird from biting today. Download your free e-book to learn how...

          Is your bird aggressive towards you or another family member? Are you tired of the biting and lunging episodes?

          Join our exclusive community of bird parents and get your comprehensive 58-page free e-book "Why Your Bird Bites and What to Do About It"

          Simply enter your details below!