House flies, soldier flies and other non-biting flies can and often do become a problem in poultry buildings. They do not bite or feed on the birds but may carry pathogens because of their habit of feeding on manure, dead birds and other waste materials.
Poultry manure is an excellent development material for fly larvae. Caged layer operations concentrate a large amount of manure in a relatively small area and therefore create an ideal situation for producing many flies. Flies and odor coming from poorly managed buildings may result in legal action against the producer.
Poultry lice are small, wingless insects with chewing mouthparts. The most common in Nebraska are brown chicken lice and chicken body lice. Less important are large chicken lice, shaft lice, chicken head lice, fluff lice, and several other species which are rarely present. Poultry lice chew dry skin scales and feathers; they do not suck blood. Irritation from louse mouthparts and movement on birds causes appetite loss, weakened condition and susceptibility to diseases. Egg production is reduced, and heavily infested birds refuse to eat and gradually lose weight. Lice can be observed moving on the skin when feathers are parted, especially around the vent, head and under wings.
Several kinds of mites attack poultry. The most common are chicken mites and northern fowl mites. Occasionally scaley-leg mites are a problem.
Chicken mites feed at night. During the day they stay in cracks around roosts and interior portions of poultry houses. At night, they feed on the birds as they roost or nest. Chicken mites are very small, grey to yellow in color, but darken after filling with blood. Control of chicken mites is directed more to their hiding places in houses than to the birds.