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Fly Strike

Myiasis, Fly Blown

Flystrike occurs when adult flies lay their eggs within an existing open wound present in the bird. The eggs hatch and release the fly larvae (aka maggots). Flies reproduce extremely fast---the eggs only require 8 to 12 hours to hatch. As the eggs hatch, the developing larvae eat on the flesh from the wound and surrounding tissue of the chicken, resulting in severe tissue damage, increased risk of secondary bacterial infections.

Clinical Signs

Presence of eggs or moving insects in a wound
Necrosis of tissue
Bleeding

Diagnosis

  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam

Treatment

NameSummary
Supportive careIsolate the bird from the flock and place in a safe, comfortable, warm location (your own chicken "intensive care unit") with easy access to water and food. Limit stress. Call your veterinarian.
Wound careClean and flush wound (making sure to remove all eggs and maggots). Apply dressing such as Silver Sulfadiazine Cream
AntibioticsMay be indicated for secondary infections.

Prevention

  • Practice good fly control
  • Conduct daily inspects of all flock members
  • Keep chicken's bottoms clean and free of feces
  • Promptly treat any open wounds

Scientific References

Blogs

Risk Factors

  • Swollen belly (abdominal distension), leading to an accumulation of feces to the feathers below the vent.
  • High fly populations
  • Chickens with missing feathers/bare patches of exposed skin

Case Stories

Seasonality

WinterSpringSummerAutumn