Veterinary advice should be sought from your local veterinarian before applying any treatment or vaccine. Not sure who to use? Look up veterinarians who specialize in poultry using our directory listing. Find me a Vet

Flystrike

Other Names: Myiasis, Fly Blown

Flystrike, also known as myiasis, is a painful, potentially fatal condition. It is caused by flies laying their eggs on the chicken, which hatch into maggots and begin to eat the bird alive. Although flies are most commonly attracted to open wounds and feces-coated feathers, some species (including the most common myiatic flies—the botfly, blowfly, and screwfly) can create an infestation even on unbroken skin.

Flystrike can occur very quickly and needs to be addressed as an emergency. This is because flies reproduce extremely fast---the eggs only require 8 to 12 hours to hatch. Without immediate veterinary care, your chicken will go into shock and die.

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.

Support

Prevention

  • Practice good fly control
  • Conduct daily physical exams of all flock members
  • Keep your chicken's vent clean and free of feces
  • Promptly treat any open wounds.

Scientific References

Risk Factors

  • Chickens with feces stuck to their vent feathers (Pasty butt)
  • High fly populations
  • Chickens with missing feathers/bare patches of exposed skin
  • Chickens with open wounds.

Case Stories

Seasonality

WinterSpringSummerAutumn

Also Consider