Can Quails Get Lice? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

It may seem unusual to realize that quails can also develop lice infestations. After all, they consume bugs, but these parasites aren’t your average bird treat-type bugs.

They spread rapidly and can wreak havoc on the entire flock. Early detection and treatment of an infestation are critical to avoiding a decrease in health and, in rare circumstances, death.

I want to emphasize that you shouldn’t panic if you discover lice on your birds. Unfortunately, many people have encountered this invasive parasite for years.

However, there are effective methods for identifying, treating, and preventing lice on hens.

How do I know if my quail has lice?

Can Quails Get Lice

Lice are generally straightforward to identify, and with vigilant monitoring, an infestation can be contained before it spreads.

However, the following symptoms are indicative of a flock that may be having some issues:

1. Tiredness

Your quails that are no longer perky may be infested. If they appear withdrawn and lethargic, they may be carrying some unwelcome companions.

Patchy reddish dark pink regions and chewed-on wings are indicators of infestation.

2. Dirty vent

it’s normal for most domesticated birds to get a bit of a muddy bottom occasionally.

However, if you look closer and you see tiny flecks of dirt surrounding it, it is possible that it’s not dirt but some unwanted visitors.

3. Drooping wings

Like most birds, quails also droop their wings when they are ill.

This is primarily common In Poultry birds, especially during the hot season. However, if this becomes a daily occurrence, then it’s time for a routine inspection. 

Related: Here is an article I wrote on can quail get Marek’s disease?

4. Irritating

Lice’s are pretty itchy! Even we humans itch when we get head lice, much less birds. So when your quail get infested with lice, they will scratch significantly more than usual.

They will also do dust bathing more frequently than normal, as the dust calms itching and suffocates lice. This is their way of self-medication.

5. Reduced egg production:

There are a variety of possible causes for a quail’s egg production to decline, but lice can occasionally be the culprit.

6. Visible lice:

Some types of lice are quite microscopic, while others can grow to reach a quarter of an inch in length. They are easier to see with the naked eye the larger they are.

7. Accumulation of lice Eggs:

Upon closer examination of a chicken’s feather shafts, little eggs will be clumped together (like an accumulation of whitish mud) near the bottom of the feather.

This is the preferred location for lice to lay their eggs.

How do you get rid of lice in quails?

Once you’ve noticed lice on your birds, then they should be treated. This is to avoid a disastrous spread.

Lice treatment is time-consuming, and doing it correctly the first time makes it a far less painful process.

The following methods will work in many early infestation cases:

1. Move your birds to a different coop:

Inasmuch as lice live on quail’s bodies, they also congregate around them throughout the day.

Removing them from their house enables you to clean and fumigate the house. 

2. Treat:

Dust all of the birds with diatomaceous earth (food grade).

Using this type of treatment is a natural method of preventing lice in birds and other health problems.

It’s quite remarkable and a must-have for poultry owners.

Combine a 50lb bag of play sand with 12 cups of DE (diatomaceous earth). Your quails can have their dust bath in it.

Also check out this article on the different sounds that quails make

3. Iron supplementation:

One significant side effect of lice on birds is loss of red blood cells. So giving them iron is a great idea.

Iron is an excellent approach for them to reclaim what they have lost.

Iron-fortified goodies such as pumpkin seeds, peas, and spinach will prove popular with an affected flock.

4. Protein-rich food:

Protein will provide the energy necessary for the weak birds to begin the recovery process. So supply them with food rich in proteins!

5. Clean coop:

It is critical to clean every nook and cranny of the old pen thoroughly.

If you return the quail to the same house without cleaning it will just restart the cycle all over.

Also, before reintroducing the now-healthy birds, the cage must be adequately cleaned and burn everything burnable (infested materials).

6. Dust the quails once more:

Ensure you dust the quails again. This way, you get to remove any egg the lice might have laid or the newly hatched eggs.

It poses no threat to the birds if you repeat this procedure several times over the next couple of months. It’s just a precautionary method.

However, if your flock is severely infested, an insecticide containing Pyrethrin can be used.

It is available as a powder/dust or as a spray solution. It’s best to hold- on to the use of insecticide-based treatments until the flock is on the verge of collapse.

Will lice go away on its own?

If left untreated, lice will not only not go away on their own, but the infestation will continue to worsen as time passes

How do I prevent my birds from getting lice?

You can try the following to keep your birds lice-free.

Examining – Frequent monitoring of the birds will assist in detecting pests early.

Quarantine – before introducing new quails to the flock, it is best to quarantine those birds for a minimum of 30 days.

Treat the whole flock – If you notice lice on one quail, there’s a possibility that they all do. So, treating the entire flock eliminates the need for rework.

Can lice kill quails?

Quails, in general, can tolerate a few mites here and there. Often, dust baths are effective at suffocating an infestation.

As is customary, all birds take reasonable care of themselves and recognize when a dust bath is necessary; nevertheless, the issues begin when they become infested with lice.  

Lice multiplies rapidly, and an out-of-control infestation indicates that a large number of lice is feeding on a quail; as a result, the cherished bird may become anemic from blood loss.

Anemic quail has a compromised immune system and is more susceptible to contracting various infections and disorders. If left untreated, the illness frequently results in death.

Can humans get lice from quails?

Poultry lice are somewhat different from the lice that most people think of—they are not the type that infests our heads.

This type of lice are completely different and cannot live on humans.

Instead, they are more predominant on birds because of what they can benefit from them (their skin and feathers).

What is a natural remedy for lice on chickens?

1. Dust Baths

If your birds do not have access to a dust bath place, consider creating one in your yard.

Quails will naturally use a dust bath, which aids in the prevention of many parasites before they become an issue. 

To help prevent this invasive pest, add some wood ash or food-grade diatomaceous earth in their dust area. Both are natural and effective.

2. Diatomaceous Earth:

While diatomaceous earth (DE) may seem frightening, it is simply a form of sedimentary rock that occurs naturally.

When pounded into a fine powder, it can be dusted into your quails’ dust bathing area or even straight into their feathers.

When you want to use it, make sure to pick a food-grade brand and avoid inhaling too much.

Additionally, keep it away from your chicken’s eyes. If you’re still doubtful, wood ash may work as well.

3. Maintain a clean Coop

As with humans, your quails do not contract lice simply because they are dirty. Mites and lice can readily be transferred to your birds by other animals, wildlife, or even you!

Therefore, keeping your coop clean is still a bright idea. So clean out your bird coop regularly, especially during the warmer period, when this pest thrives. 

Other remedies you can use include garlic juice, spray for coop mites.

How long does it take to get rid of lice on quails? 

There is no specific time for treating lice on quails.

However, you might try treatment every seven days for 3-4 weeks to interrupt the hatching eggs’ life cycle.


Biosecurity is critical for the happiness and health of your quails.

Taking precautionary measures like the one I wrote above will assist you in preventing future attacks.

However, one of the most beneficial things you can do for your birds is to ensure that any additional birds you purchase come from a reliable source.

Though the pest can attack anytime, it significantly minimizes the likelihood of them occurring.

Photo of author

About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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