Can Chickens Get Fleas?
Summer has officially started in the Midwest, and we are so excited! The luscious green grass, trees and landscape are especially gorgeous in Minnesota at this time of year. However, along with summer’s beautiful landscapes, it also brings some gross pests for your flock.
Backyard chicken close up

Don’t get me wrong, these pests are not limited to summer, but where we live, nothing wants to survive in the winter! Haha! However, it is still possible, so it’s good to know how to prevent and treat them if they become an issue for your flock. I’ve discussed mites and lice on a previous blog and I encourage you to check that out! But recently, I’ve been asked if chickens can get fleas, so I thought we’d answer that question today!

Can Chickens Get Fleas?

Yes, chickens can get fleas. While they’re more commonly associated with dogs and cats, they can also affect poultry of all kinds, including chickens. If left untreated, fleas on chickens can cause discomfort, skin irritation and potential health issues.

Fleas can be introduced to chicken coops through wild birds, rodents or other animals that may carry these parasites. Once inside the coop, fleas can quickly multiply, infesting the environment and affecting the chickens. Yuck!

Chicken in a backyard

Symptoms of Fleas

Symptoms of flea infestation in chickens include:

  • Excessive Scratching: Chickens may constantly scratch or peck at their skin.

  • Feather Loss: Fleas can cause chickens to lose feathers, especially around the neck and vent.

  • Restlessness: Infested chickens may appear restless and uncomfortable.

  • Anemia: Severe infestations can lead to anemia, making chickens weak and pale.

Regularly inspect your chickens for these signs to catch infestations early.

Treatment and Prevention of Fleas

Treatment for fleas in chickens typically involves using poultry-safe insecticides to eliminate the parasites both on the birds and in the coop.

Elector PSP is a great, non-toxic spray. It’s a bit pricey, but I’ve heard it works the best. There is also no egg withdrawal period.

Thankfully, we’ve never had to deal with these buggers and I attribute this to Coop Recuperate. Coop Recuperate is why I’m still raising backyard chickens and I’m not kidding! Coop Recuperate contains organic diatomaceous earth and organic essential oils that are known to deter pests. It keeps your bedding dry and fresher for longer.

Practicing good coop hygiene, such as regular cleaning and disinfecting, can help prevent flea and other small pest infestations. If your flock gets infested with fleas, you must take everything out of your coop and deep clean with something like Elector PSP. Make sure you sanitize roosting bars, nesting boxes, feeders and waterers as well.

Then, give your chickens some Flock Fixer because this would be stressful. Flock Fixer contains organic oregano essential oil, pre and probiotics, and electrolytes to support your chickens during times of stress. I swear by this product!

Extra Tips for a Pest-Free Coop

  • Wildlife Control: Limit access to wild birds and rodents that may carry fleas.

  • Clean Environment: Again, it’s so important so I’m including it twice, maintaining a clean and dry environment in and around the coop will make it less inviting for pests.

  • Dust Baths: Make sure your chickens regularly dust bathe. Chickens produce oils on their skin that attract pests, and dust bathing along with additives like Preen Queen can help absorb these oils and keep bugs away.   

  • Routine Checks: Regularly inspect your flock for any signs of pests and address issues promptly.

Dealing with these parasites is definitely the less appealing side of raising backyard poultry, but honestly, prevention goes a long way! There isn’t much you can do if a bird or small rodent carries it into your run, but you can keep it so clean they don’t want to live there!

Until next time,

–The Wing Lady