Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cage Eggs and Stick Fast Fleas

Ah! The good old days.
The days of chickens in the backyard.  The idyllic picture of a group of hens eating  food scraps and rewarding us with a couple of eggs a day.  Along comes the stick fast flea to bring us back to reality with a jolt.  As a child we had the chooks which worked fine until we introduced an infected hen from a kind neighbor, got the stick fast, spent hours and hours trying to eradicate them, finally giving up and getting rid of the chooks.  That was in the days before  exotic chemicals came along as a "miracle cure". Now those exotic chemicals we used with gay abandon have been banned.  The best recommended cure is concrete floors for night time perching to break the life cycle of night time laying of stick fast eggs onto soil and the larvae living in the soil until it's time to pupate, hatch out and start all over again.

Of course there is no guarantee with any cure in a backyard setting.  One only needs to miss two live fleas or a few eggs and stick fasts lay thousands for the little beggars to come back to bite you.

The stick fast sucks the hens blood and can cause death in chickens.  Keeping a hen in a modern cage system where the manure is removed at least weekly using belts ensures the hen never suffers from the irritation and loss of blood that stick fast fleas can inflict.

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