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Ducks can get feather lice. Feather lice are tiny parasitic insects that invade and live within a duck's feathers. Once they find a host, lice will usually complete their entire life cycle on the duck. Often, with light infestations lice will go unnoticed. However, in severe infestations, which often occurs in young, sick, or injured birds, lice can cause significant irritation to the bird. Irritation can be so bad that it results in the duck causing damage to itself through excessive preening and scratching of their feathers. Affected ducks will often have a dull look to their feathers, which also become ruffled and damaged.