If you’re wondering if you can use Neem oil to kill lice and parasites on your chickens, yes you can. Neem oil is not toxic or harmful to chickens, a lot of owners use it to treat scaly leg mites and other skin conditions.
What Is Neem Oil? What Does It Treat?
Neem oil is made from seeds of the neem tree. It’s somewhat of a miracle oil and has been used for all kinds of health and wellness applications for hundreds of years.
Healthline states that many of the ingredients in neem oil are extremely beneficial to the skin. So, it’s no surprise why it’s used in so many beauty and skin treatments.
How does this apply to chickens? Well, chickens are prone to skin irritation and blemishes too, you know.
Plus, neem oil is very effective at killing mites, ticks, fleas, and some of the other unwanted parasites that live a chickens plumage.
According to the NPIC (National Pesticide Information Center), it’s commonly used as a natural solution for flea control on cats and dogs.
So, it’s also going to work on your chickens as well.
In an eggshell, the main applications for using neem oil with your flock are:
- Killing fleas, mites, lice, ticks, and other parasites.
- As a pest repellant
- To treat scaly leg mites
Because it’s fine to use it on your chicken’s skin and contains healing and anti-parasite properties, Neem oil has a lot of potential applications.
You can buy Neem oil for your chickens from Amazon via the link below:
How to Apply Neem Oil to Chickens
Believe it or not, most chicken owners dip their chickens into a warm bath with Neem oil in.
You only need a couple of teaspoons of oil per a couple of gallons of warm water. Most people also add a little dish soap too as it acts as a cleaning agent.
Then, all you need to do is gently place your chicken into the warm bath. In my experience, chickens are fine with this and seem to enjoy it.
Just be sure to keep them calm and keep a hold of their wings. The last thing you want is a flapping chicken - you’ll end up soaked.
It’s actually drying them that takes longer and is more of a chore!
If your chicken had lice, you’ll literally see dead lice in the water or falling off them as you dry their feathers.
If you’re treating scaly legs or some other skin issues, it’s perfectly safe to apply Neem oil directly to their skin using a lint-free cloth or similar.
Is Neem Oil Better Than Diatomaceous Earth for Lice?
I can’t say for sure which is the most effective at killing lice as they are two different products that are better in different situations.
I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m a huge fan of diatomaceous earth. I’ve found it to be so effective at ridding my pets and their living areas of parasites over the years, I almost don't need to use anything else.
You can fill a spray bottle with diluted Neem oil and spray it in all the same places you would sprinkle diatomaceous earth and I’m sure you’d have similar results.
D.E. is easier to use in your chicken’s dust bath and quicker to apply to them directly though.
I recommend picking up some D.E. and a bottle of Neem oil. They do have different applications, one being a liquid and one being a powder.
Most importantly, both are safe and effective ways to keep lice and parasites to a minimum within your flock.
Does Neem Oil Kill Red Mites?
It does kill red mites, too, yes. I wrote about how I deal with red mites in my chicken’s coop here.
You can use Neem oil if you want. According to TheSpruce it’s commonly used to kill whitefly, aphids, Japanese beetles, and lots of other insects and mites that can cause damage to crops and plants.
It’s listed as a “miticide” due to its ability to kill a wide range of mites.
Downsides and Risk of Neem Oil
Neem oil is safe to use when done so as directed. There have been cases of people becoming sick after ingesting it. So, don’t drink it, it’s toxic when ingested!
As with any substance, you should always be careful when using it in case you have an allergic reaction.
The only real downside, which honestly isn’t that bad, is that it does have a strong garlic-like odor. Personally, I don’t mind it. It’s nice to know that it’s present where I’ve used it, and chickens don’t care about the smell anyway.
In Summary - Is Neem Oil Toxic to Chickens?
It's not toxic to chickens, no. If you’re looking for natural solutions to lice and other parasites, I’d recommend giving Neem oil a try.
I know a lot of chicken owners that swear by it, and there’s no doubting all the evidence backing up that it’s a powerful miticide.
If you wage war on parasites with D.E. and Neem oil, I have no doubt you’ll win the battle!
Image credits - Photos by Brett Jordan on Unsplash
Neem oil fact and information sheet - National Pesticide Information Center
Neem oil for skin - Healthline.com