The word mite is enough to make us feel itchy, and when it comes to the chicken mites many farmers and bird fanciers have a lot on the plate. Mites are contagious and they can travel from one bird to another. Some mite species can infest humans and make them seriously ill.
How to Get Rid of Mites on Chicken
If you have bought some birds even from a reputed supplier going for a mite check will help your coop stay safe. If your new birds or older ones have mites the best way is to get rid of them right away. Before moving towards finding the most efficient and effective ways how to get rid of mites on the chicken you must dig deep into the topic and find out the different types of mites.
Common Types of Mites on Chicken
Yes, mites are of different types and they affect differently the health and life of your birds. These mites usually do not need specific chemicals rather you can use simple methods to get rid of all kinds of chicken mites. How to Get Rid of Mites on Chicken
The most common pests that infest chines are:
- Northern Fowl Mites
- Red Roost Mites
- Scaly Leg Mites
What are the Signs of Mites on Chicken
You don’t need to take a microscope and search every bird individually. According to experts and researchers, various signs and symptoms help you identify this menace. By knowing the presence of these mites before the outbreak to every bird, you can save many birds.
Once you see one or more of the fowling signs in your chicken take corrective measures right away:
a) Itchy birds
It is common for birds to bite their feathers and smother them. But when you see that the birds are excessively itching their skin and roots of the feather this is a sign of brewing damage. The most favorite area of the mites on the chicken body is under the wings and near vents. Be cautious and concerned when you see your chicken itching these areas frantically.
b) Feather Loss
When mites infest the chicken itching is not the only sign. The bird will start losing feathers because of mites and their effects. If your chicken has pale combs this could also be because of mites’ presence on their skin and body.
c) Raised Leg Scales
When mites are on their scales you cannot see them with the naked eye. You can see these mites without the help of a microscope, but you don’t need to buy one. Scaly mites can be identified if there are raised or swollen scales with dryness on their legs.
d) Loss in Egg Production
Mites and lice put more exertion on the chicken’s body and they need to use more energy to survive and thrive. When you see a decrease in egg production along with scaly legs or feather loss the most probable culprit could be mites.
How to get rid of Mites on Chicken Coop?
Before treating chickens you must focus on the environment in which they are living. If you treat the mites on their body and leave the coop intact these pests will again infest their body and you will have a never-ending cycle of parasites.
To completely eradicate mites from the birds you can start with the following:
· Clean the Coop
First of all, remove all the chickens from the coop and do not allow them to come back during the process. Sweep the floor, remove straws, and clean nesting boxes. You need to take out everything that you can from the coop to remove mites from this area.
The best approach to get rid of the mites is to clean and treat the coop before and after treating the chicken. If you do not remove the area where the chickens live you are allowing the insects to come back to the birds without any hassle. Experts suggest farmers remove all the extra things from the coop and then treat it with the liquid.
· Treat the Coop
When you have cleaned the area, now it is time to thoroughly wash it with hot water. You can use a hose pipe with a nozzle and get pressured water. The water pressure will wash the insects from small cervixes and difficult to clean areas.
The next move should be the use of apple cider vinegar to spray and kill any of the hidden insects. You can also use vet-prescribed mite sprays for the coop. Once it gets dried now you can allow the chicken to come back from the treatment you have been using. The flowing treatments are necessary for the chicken to remove mites from their body.
How to get rid of Mites on Chicken
The above-mentioned information is extremely necessary for you to understand what you are dealing with and how you can help your chicken stay away from mites. If you keep your coop clean and still the chickens have got infested, the following methods will help you ward off these pests from your chicken’s body.
1. Dust Baths
The first step in the process of learning how to get rid of mites on the chicken is the dust bath area. Chickens love to bathe in the dust because of various benefits. The dust helps them fight various diseases, infections, and pests like mites.
Dust is a natural enemy for mites and the dust particles make it difficult for mites and other pests to feast upon chicken blood. If you don’t have an area for your chicken you must provide a secure place for the birds to have a bath as many times as they want.
A dust bath is a natural pest repellent for birds and they use it to keep their skin safe from various diseases. Birds know how to clean their bodies from dust once the benefits have been harvested. They will have a water bath later so you need to provide them with fresh water as well for their hygiene and good health.
2. Diatomaceous Earth
It isn’t another planet on the far side of the galaxy rather it is a white powder that you can use to ward off mites. This powder is easy to procure, and you can buy it from your local store. Many farmers use it to create a layer on the dust bath area for their chickens. The medicinal properties of this powder make wonders and keep your chicken free from this menace.
You can also sprinkle it on the skin of your chicken. Always remember to sprinkle the powder under the wings and around the vents of the birds. But if you have more than 100 birds, going manually to individual treatment can take a couple of days. Using it on the dust bath area will also give you the same results.
You must keep the powder away from the bird’s eyes. Do not keep it close to your face and eyes as well. Vets warn people from inhaling this powder as it could result in dire consequences and respiratory issues. You must use protective gear while sprinkling it on the coop and dust bath area.
3. Mite Spray
Many vets prescribe this widely used method to keep the chicken happy and healthy. The effective and safe-to-use mite sprays help you remove the mites from your chicken’s body without making any effort. All you need is to consult your vet regarding the types and kinds of your chicken and the mites you are dealing with.
The vet will then prescribe the mite spray that is suitable for your chicken and hazardous for the type of mites you are dealing with. There are several recipes as well like using soap water or dish soap to increase the strength of the spray. But you must not deviate from the vet recommendations because many times the home remedies backfire and make things worse.
Use the spray regularly to keep the mites away from the chicken and the coop. Do not neglect the coop area because it is the very place that is responsible for the spread of these pests in the flock.
4. Wood ash
This method is beneficial for the farmers who have a smaller flock and they can administer the process to every chicken. You can use wood ash from the burnt wood and spread it over the body of the infected bird. You must use it under their wings and around the vent to get maximum results.
Treated wood is not the safe option and you must avoid doing it. The best way is to use naturally occurring wood around you, burn it, and use the ash to ward off mites. The method will be beneficial if you use dry ash and sprinkle it with your hands.
Wet ash is highly problematic for the chicken. When you add water to the ash it becomes caustic and can burn the bird’s skin. It will stick under the feather and will cause intense itching. Your bird will have more problems with the wet ash than the benefits.
Final Thoughts – How to get rid of Mites on Chickens
You need to keep the coop clean to avoid spreading the outbreak of mites and other insects. If you buy new birds do not add them to the flock right away. Put them in a separate place and look for any sign of mites or other diseases and treat them accordingly. Provide a dust bath area for your chicken and use above mentioned methods to keep the birds free from mites and get maximum eggs and meat yield.
Dr Saba Afzal, DVM, RVMP