Bird lice eggs are laid on the shaft of birds’ feathers and hatch after a few days. Young bird lice then develop through several stages before becoming mature adults. Lice cannot survive away from their hosts for more than a few days. Chicken lice and bird lice affecting domestic pets such as parrots can present a problem to humans. While they cannot transfer to human hosts, they have been known to bite those who handle affected birds.
Bird lice hosts scratch excessively, exhibiting more grooming and preening than is necessary. Feathers infested with bird lice can appear normal, and lice are typically too small to be visible to the naked eye. The color and size of bird lice will vary from species to species.
Controlling bird lice begins by identifying the source of the infestation. Due to the large number of bird lice species and their rapid rate of infestation, a pest control professional will need to be consulted to manage the population.