Chicken Mites!!! How do you get rid of mites on chickens?
Where in the world do they come from?
Do chicken mites affect a particular breed of chicken?
How do I know my chicken buddies have been infested?
These and many more questions run through the minds of commercial and backyard poultry farmers.
Sadly most farmers do not have the iota of a clue when their chickens have been invaded by mites.
On the other hand, most think it is a natural condition that will phase away with time.
But the big question is how do you get rid of mites on chickens?
This guide will give you strategic tips on how to send those crawling discomforting parasites packing.
Also, we will x-ray the types of chicken mites or lice and the symptoms to identify an infected chicken.
In addition, you will learn how to prevent them from returning to the farm.
If you’re tired of dealing with these parasites, you should read this article till the end.
What are chicken mites?
Naturally, chickens are affected by little crawling creatures that make them uncomfortable.
Mites are tiny eight- or six-legged small acarid arachnids that often infest animals, plants, and stored foods.
These pests affect the health and productivity of chickens.
With all the illnesses and chicken diseases that can affect your flock, a mites infestation can be one of the most difficult to get rid of.
And sadly, selling off your infested birds to get a new batch will not solve the problem.
However, practising good biosecurity and constantly checking your chickens before introducing them to your flock will go a long way to curb lice infestation.
What you should know about chicken mites?
Here are a few things you should know about chicken mites
- They’re parasites
- They live outside of the chicken.
- Mites feed on chicken blood.
- They’re light grey in colour before they feed.
- However, when they feed and they’re full of blood, though, they turn red.
- Usually, mites feed at night when your flock has roosted.
- Once daylight comes they leave the “host” and hide in crevices and cracks, only to come out to feed again once darkness falls.
What are the various types of chicken mites?
“There are more than one”
I bet you didn’t know these parasites come in various shades and sizes.
There is more than one type of mite that can infect your birds.
And sadly getting rid of them will require different strategies.
That is why it’s necessary that you know them.
Here are a few of the most common chicken mites that can affect your flock;
1. Northern Fowl Mites:
This is the most common type of chicken mites.
Also, they are usually very difficult to detect.
However, to decipher if the mite infestation is caused by the Northern fowl mites, you will see white clusters of eggs around the shaft of the chicken feathers.
2. Red Roost Mites:
Red Roost mites are ectoparasites that do not live their entire life cycle on the birds.
They are easy to detect because they are usually on the skin.
At night, you’ll see these pests coming out to feed on the birds.
3. Scaly Leg Mites:
Just like the name signifies, the scaly leg mites have a bit of scaly or crusty legs.
They are not visible to the naked eye like the Red roost.
To spot them, you will see them under the scales of your chicken’s feet and legs.
They create tunnels and leave faeces behind, which causes the infection.
So these are the most common mites you will see in your flock.
However, if you want to know how to get rid of mites on your chickens, keep reading!!!
How do I know my chickens are infected by mites?
Can you spot a mite-infested chicken?
How do you tell that your furry buddies need some help getting out those itchy parasites from their bodies?
The fact is when a chicken gets infected, It wouldn’t run to you and tell you the details.
Paying close attention to the flock will help you identify the presence of mites and prevent them earlier.
Just like there is a decline in productivity and association when humans get sick, chickens are affected when they are infected by mites.
Below are some signs and symptoms to help you decipher that;
1. The flocks will tend to be over preening themselves:
If you notice any discomforting actions from the birds, that may signify that the mites are in the covers.
You will always see them trying to remove something from their feathers because they are itching.
So, if you notice your birds pecking at their feathers more than usual, you may want to give them a little more attention.
2. There will be the presence of egg clusters:
If during inspection you discover white egg clusters beneath the feathers and legs, those are mites.
However, this is not an early detection sign.
For there to be egg clusters, these chicken mites must have been around for a long time.
3. Your chickens will lose their feathers:
Although when chickens mate the hens lose their feathers to struggle and grips.
However, when the loss of feathers is self-induced, the chickens may be reacting to the itchy feeling they get from the mites.
In a bid to pick them away, they will pull their feathers leading to feather loss.
4. There will be a reduction in egg production:
Chicken breeds that lay eggs will experience a decline when they are invaded by mites.
Mites suck their blood making them unhealthy to carry out the egg formation process.
Therefore, it’s best you give the birds maximum treatment for high productivity.
5. The chicken wattles and combs become pale:
Here’s another sign that a chicken is mite-infested: the comb and wattle of the affected bird will turn pale.
This pale colouration is due to anaemia from blood loss.
And most times it’s just due to lack of excitement on the infected chicken.
These signs and symptoms should let the alarm in your head go off “mites invasion”
Now, how do you get rid of mites on chickens?
Find out below!!!!
What are the effects of mite invasion in the chicken flock?
Mites do not leave a good impression on the chickens.
In fact, they are destructive.
Once there is a mite infestation, it leads to a decline in productivity which in turn affects the farm economically.
Mite invasion in the flock will not only stress you and your flock out, but it also causes;
- Death of chickens
- Blood loss.
- Loss of weight
- Reduced egg production
- Decline in productivity
Now you understand why this should be treated with urgency.
Below are tips on how to get rid of chicken mites.
How do you get rid of mites on chickens?
“There are so many ways to kill a rat,” says a particular proverb.
Getting rid of mites wouldn’t be a herculean task if you know how to do it.
It’s basically nothing to panic about.
Here’s how to get rid of mites from your chicken flock;
1. Treat the chickens with the mites:
This is probably the first thing on your mind and that’s correct.
This will help prevent further spread.
In our article; poultry farm equipment, we listed the necessary equipment a farmer needs to start a poultry.
One of the important pieces of equipment is that that is necessary for administering vaccines and medication.
This comes in handy at this point.
Using the right medication as prescribed by the vet, treat the affected chickens.
Some of the medication will need you to add it to their drinking water or rub it on their feathers.
Ensure you do this at the right dosage according to the vets prescription.
However, the big problem is, most treatments used for this treatment are harmful chemicals that are not good for you.
2. Allow the birds to bathe in dust:
Because chemicals are harmful, using a more natural approach will keep you, your birds and the environment safe.
One of the natural ways to get rid of mites is to allow the birds to bathe in dust.
How do they do this?
Create a dust bath area for your chickens in your yard.
Furthermore, you can put some wood ash or food-grade diatomaceous earth into their dust bath area.
The chickens will naturally use a dust bath. This helps to prevent a lot of parasites before they become a problem.
3. Provide them with diatomaceous earth:
Do not think too much!!!
Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring type of sedimentary rock.
To use this to get rid of mites, ground it.
The powder is white in colour.
You can sprinkle it into your chicken’s dust bathing area, or directly onto their feathers.
4. Keep the coop clean:
Mites and other parasites can invade your flock from anywhere, even from you.
That’s why keeping the coop clean is good, especially during the warmer months.
Ensure you take your time to clean out bedding and the resting areas for your birds.
5. Use a coop mite spray:
You can easily buy a coop mite spray from the stores.
However, ensure it uses natural ingredients that won’t harm your birds.
Also, keep in mind that a mite spray is not enough.
Employ this strategy while using other preventative treatments.
This will help you get rid of chicken mites more quickly.
6. Garlic Juice scares the mites away:
Have you heard the mantra “garlic cures everything”?
That may not be totally true but it sure helps in the battle against chicken lice and mites.
Naturally, parasites do not like the taste of garlic.
Therefore, adding garlic or garlic juice to the chickens diet can send the mites packing?
Once they taste garlic in the blood of your furry buddies they know they’ve been zapped!
Also, creating a spray from a mix of water, garlic juice, and essential oil (like lavender) can serve as a coop mites spray for their feathers.
With these, you can successfully get rid of chicken mites both naturally and through the use of chemicals and vaccines.
Frequently asked questions about how to get rid of chicken mites?
When do chicken mites thrive the most?
Chicken mites are most active during warm and wet weather, but they can also thrive in colder temperatures as well.
Does vinegar kill mites on chickens?
However, white vinegar discourages the growth and dwelling of mites, lice and other creepy crawlies on the farm.
Also, it helps to deodorize and disinfect the coop.
Can chickens get rid of mites on their own?
They try but they end up pulling out their own feathers.
This is why they need your help.
Can you bathe chickens to get rid of mites?
This is totally not effective.
How long do chicken mites live on humans?
Chicken mites will live on chickens as long as they are alive.
Estimates show that they can live for up to 7 months.
As long as they get to suck the blood out of the chickens they will remain.
That’s why you have to get rid of them yourself.
Can bird mites infest your house?
If not, take care that the infestation can spread to your home.
Bird mites can find their way into homes and other structures.
This is when they can become a problem for humans
I’m sure you wouldn’t bargain for that!!!
Can I make my own coop mites spray?
Yes, you can.
All you need is;
- Dish soap
You can find recipes online that use other various ingredients.
But with these, you can produce a spray that will help to suffocate the pests and prevent mites or lice from spreading further in your flock.
No one lives to be inflicted by pain by some parasites.
Not even your chicken flock.
To avoid reduced productivity caused by the presence of chicken mites, get rid of them through the steps we outlined above.
However, to avoid this problem from the start, get day-old chicks from a recommended hatchery.
If you’ve ever won this battle against chicken mites in your flock, tell us how you did that in the comment section.
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