Sick Chicken Up-date

Jasmine is better, the swelling around her eye is gone and she has been evicted from the kitchen.  If that is all you wanted to know you can stop reading.  If not, this is the longer version.

Jasmine’s swelling was caused by a tick or perhaps more than one tick.   Deer ticks, they are the size of a poppey seed and they carry Lyme disease.  Weston Nurseries had an expert on ticks June 8 th.  He was very informative.   But, he didn’t know that chickens can be bitten by deer ticks.  I didn’t either.  I got chickens to eat ticks and I haven’t had a Wood Tick on me since the ladies are free-ranging.  When we looked closely at Jasmines eye there was a small darkish dot attached to the tissue around her eye.  We pulled it off with tweezers, put it under the microscope and there was a tick.  We then looked closer at all of the ladies and Jack.  Jack had 3 or 4 around his eyes and the other ladies had some too.  Jack’s eye swelled up as did Mo’s .

We continue to check for ticks , have changed the shavings, cleaned the run and sprinkled DE ( diatomaceous earth ) where the chickens dust bathe and in the coop.   We think we have it under control but continue to watch.  At this time all of the ladies and Jack are fine, no swelling.  Holding on to a chicken while trying to get a tick off of their eye is a challenge.  I need a helper, my wife ( the chicken whisperer )  does pretty well by her self.


  1. I am so glad Jasmine is alright. And thanks for the heads up about ticks. i thought they ate them! i will definitely check my girls. Are you old enough to remember when we didn’t have ticks? The Cape had them and Conn had them, but we didn’t. Now they are everywhere. Anyway, glad your ladies and Jack are ok.

    • These are the deer ticks, very small. I think these are in the nymph stage, not adults. Nymphs and female adults bite and can carry Lyme disease. They were on Jacks comb, waddle and around his eye. Without the microscope it looks like a spec of dirt. I need the microscope for positive identification. The Tick expert said there are at least 2 parasites that the deer ticks are now carrying and we will be seeing more infections from these in the near future.

      You are right, I don’t remember ticks being a problem, I think the neighbors dog would get the larger wood tick but not like today. Now tick control and shots are big business. The only deer I saw as a kid was hanging in a neighbors front yard at hunting season, he probably shot it in Maine. Now I have to fence anything I don’t want the deer to eat. I remember being thrilled when we saw a V of canadian geese fly over, now you can see them on any golf course. Never saw a turkey as a kid, except on the dinner table at thanksgiving. Now I have families of them walk through my yard. I didn’t know anyone who had chickens as a kid, now they live in my back yard. And I have a fuller life because of them.

  2. I had no idea birds got ticks! We treat our dogs and cats for ticks spring through fall because we have quite a problem with them here. I’m not sure if our kind are what you are talking about though because they are very big and easy to see.

    • If yours are big and easy to see, they are the dog tick (wood tick) or the lone star tick. The tick expert had a poppy seed bagel as a prop. Stuck on the bagel with the seeds were 4 deer tick nymphs. With the naked eye they were extremely hard to find. I haven’t had a bagel since. I got a brochure from “Laboratory of Medical Zoology” their web site is it looks like Lyme disease is a Northeast problem so far. Some in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

      • We have had lyme disease reported in dogs here this year but I don’t know about humans. I’d have trouble eating a bagel again too!

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