Mites – Backyard Chickens’ Health and Care

Illnesses in chickens

What is a Mite Infestation?

Mites are a common problem in chickens that can cause significant discomfort and even death if left untreated. These tiny parasites are found in almost every chicken coop and can quickly spread from bird to bird. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mites in chickens.

Mites Symptoms

The most common symptom of mites in chickens is intense itching and scratching. The birds may also have feather loss, scabbing, and skin irritation, especially around the vent area. In severe cases, the chicken may become anemic and weak.

Mites Causes

Mites are typically introduced into the coop through wild birds or infested bedding. They are often more prevalent during warm and humid weather conditions. Once they find their way onto a chicken, they will quickly reproduce and spread to other birds in the coop.

Mites Diagnosis

Diagnosing mites in chickens can be challenging as they are tiny and often hidden in the bird’s feathers. However, close examination of the skin and feathers around the vent area can reveal the presence of mites. Dark, crumbly debris on the skin is a sign of mite infestation.

Mites Treatment

To treat a mite infestation in your chicken coop, follow these steps to halt the breeding cycle and start eradicating the mites:

1. Spray your coop with Coopex Insecticide Spray, which is available from Bunnings. Spray all surfaces, including the roof, perches, nesting boxes, walls, and other areas where mites can hide.

2. Wait for the Coopex spray to dry, then use DE Power or Pestene Powder to target the areas where mites are likely to hide. Spread the powder into the corners of perches, gaps in the chicken frame, nesting box material, across the floor, and all other nooks and crannies.

3. Apply Avimec drops, which are an Ivermectin-based product that works like spot-on flea treatments for cats and dogs. Apply the drops directly onto the skin of all of your chickens at night to protect them from mite attacks and ensure any mites that survive the spraying and Pestene Powder will be killed.

By completing these steps, you will be able to effectively protect your flock from mites. Keep in mind that wild birds, rats, and mice can bring more mites into your coop, so it’s important to keep an eye out for future infestations. Check your coop at night and inspect your chickens regularly for signs of mites. Additionally, it’s best to use wood shavings or hemp bedding as your nesting material, as mites tend to hide in the holes of straw. With these tips, you can effectively treat mite infestations and keep your chickens healthy and happy.

Mites Prevention

Preventing mites in chickens involves keeping a clean and dry coop, avoiding overcrowding, and quarantining new birds before introducing them to the flock. Regular cleaning and disinfecting of the coop, as well as treating bedding with diatomaceous earth, can also help prevent mite infestations, but regular inspections of your chickens at night when mites are active will help alert you to the first signs of a mite infestation and allow you to treat them before they become too much of a problem.

Conclusion

Mites in chickens can cause significant discomfort and health problems if left untreated. Early detection and treatment are essential to prevent the spread of mites to other birds in the coop. By keeping the coop clean, dry, and well-ventilated, and regularly inspecting your chooks for signs of infestation, chicken owners can reduce the risk of mites and keep their chooks healthy and happy.

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