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Author Topic: Mites  (Read 115 times)

Poppa Tommo

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« on: July 08, 2014, 08:16:34 AM »

Well the old summer mites are back. Just thought this might interest anyone else keeping chickens.

There are different mites and lice. All of which can affect the laying of the hens.

The worst is the dreaded Red Mite which, without intervention will end up killing the birds through blood loss.

The common red mite Dermanyssus gallinae are blood sucking ectoparasites that can infest chickens and turkeys. They can strike any hen house at anytime but especially during the warmer summer months. The best advice is to keep extremely vigilant where these parasites are concerned. They can be quite difficult to spot as they come out at night to feed on your hen’s blood and hide during the day. I suggest a regular check of your birds under their wings and around their vents, however, this will not always reveal their presence as they don’t spend all their time on the bird.

They hide in between cracks in boards and under nest litter so you will only see them at night.

To catch little buggers you need to enter the house after dark with a torch and looking around the ends of the perches and cracks where they might be hiding. You may see a grey dust-like substance, these are mites that have not yet fed. Once they have feed, they turn bright red and then dark red. If you squash them you will see a trail of blood. Alternatively, take a piece of white paper and swipe between the cracks and crevices - if red mite are present, you will see streaks of blood on your paper.

Low numbers of mites mainly cause irritation and annoyance to the chicken making it restless. However, large numbers of mites can suck enough blood causing anaemia in the chicken, resulting in a pale comb and wattles, weakness, dullness and reduced egg production.

The lifecycle from egg to adult mite is only seven days so it is important to keep checking on a weekly basis.

The mites can also crawl up onto human skin and cause irritation but do not tend to live on humans.

Here' some stuff I've copied from an excellent website.

Presence of grey/red mites up to 0.7mm, around vent of birds and in housing, particularly crevices.
Birds are often restless due to the irritation.
May cause anaemia and death in young birds.
Loss of condition.
Pale comb and wattles.
Drop in egg production.
Blood spots on eggs.

There are a number of products available for the birds and also importantly, their environment. Begin using the products early in the spring to try and prevent an infestation outbreak.
The Bird - we recommend Chicken Vet Mite Powder (Diamataceous earth) this can be applied to the bird, left in her nestbox and even placed in a cat litter tray for her to dust bath in (mix with some childrens play sand or dry earth from her normal dust bath area).

Other applications for the bird may involve some “off label” medication and we advise you always contact your vet for advice. Many poultry owners use Ivermectin 1% spot on drops, these can only be used with an appropriate egg withdrawal and future eggs from any treated bird should never be sold for human consumption. Multivitamins can also be used to aid a speedier recovery, we would recommend you use these in severe infestation cases. Chicken Vet Energy encourages anaeamic birds to eat and drink and gives them a much needed boost.

The Coop – for prevention clean your coop once a week with Chicken Vet Poultry Shield, not only is this a good disinfectant it has also shown to be extremely effective against red mite. Leave the disinfectant in situ for an hour and rinse. Once dry replace bedding and apply a liberal dusting of red mite powder to the hens, their nest boxes and around the cracks and crevices of their perches. Continue with this routine throughout the summer.

If, unfortunately, you find your chickens and house are infested then you will need to carry out some additional measures and further cleaning.

Firstly, your cleaning regime must be done on 2 to 3 weekends in a row; their very short lifecycle means they will return in 10 days if eggs remain in the house and they begin to hatch out.
There are a number of options for this:
Clean out shed, scrub with Chicken Vet Poultry Shield, leave in place for a minimum of an hour and rinse. Allow shed to dry. Apply Die Mite, a 500ml container will cover 10sqm. This silicone based product is safe to use and it applies a slippery surface to the area so the mite cannot move around and hence cannot get onto the bird and die. Spray all around cracks and crevices and nest boxes where mites are likely to be hiding. Another excellent disinfectant is Interkokask, this disinfectant will kill red mite but is has to be left in place for 24 hours and this is not always convenient to do. Repeat this routine once a week for three weeks.

If this has not rid you of red mite you may need to step up the treatment by using a pyrethroid based pesticide. We recommend Tyrant and Stingray. However both these products are very powerful and you must follow instructions carefully and wear the appropriate protective clothing.  Both these products are licensed for professional use only.  You must adhere to the safety instructions.

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Big Gee

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Re: Mites
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2014, 12:18:07 PM »

 clap:-) Excellent post Tommo!  ThU5:-)

A 'must read' for chuck fans!
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