Red Mite Help

After predation from foxes and badgers, Poultry Red Mite (Dermanyssus Gallinae) poses the greatest threat to the welfare of poultry and can result in death. It is a particularly challenging parasite as although it FEEDS on the birds, it doesn’t LIVE on the birds. Their favourite harbours in the coop are in crevices, where two surfaces meet or under felt roofing. The other factor that make them so difficult to control, is the incredible rate of reproduction. A single mite can become hundreds of thousands in just a few weeks.

Poultry Red Mite is introduced to flocks in 3 main ways:

  • new flock members (so ALWAYS buy birds from a reputable and traceable source)
  • second hand wooden housing
  • contact with wild birds

Indicators of a Poultry Red Mite infestation include:

  • chickens looking pale
  • chickens feeling lighter in weight than previously
  • hens that stop laying
  • chickens that seem lethargic
  • chickens that are reluctant to roost INSIDE the coop at night
  • an ‘ash-like’ deposit near crevices (poultry red mite poo!)
  • feeling itchy after cleaning the hens out or noticing small bites on your skin
  • presence of mite in a red mite trap – to order a FREE trap click here (just £1 postage)
  • presence of 1mm long insects usually brown or red in colour 

We sell an excellent treatment that’s added to the hen’s water and ingested. It causes the hens blood to coagulate inside the red mite but causes no ill effect to the birds or their eggs. To order, click here. This product can ALSO be used preventatively to stop infestations becoming established.

Hens should ALWAYS have access to a DRY dust bath. The dust bath can consist of a mixture of sand, earth, diatomaceous earth and wood ash. Birds can ‘self-medicate’ if they become infested and clean themselves. To order a dust bath with diatomaceous earth click here.

The housing must also be treated. If your housing is old and the infestation is severe then consider having a bonfire and replacing it.

There are various products you can use on wooden housing including creosote and spray treatments. Red mite can’t survive in an environment where the temperature reaches 45 degrees centigrade. A carefully applied steam nozzle (from a steam cleaner) into the crevices can be very effective. Unfortunately, if your roof is made of felt on top of plywood, you will need to replace it as it is impossible to eradicate the mites. Brushing diatomaceous earth into anywhere where two pieces of wood meet is useful as the particles score the exo-skeleton of the mite and they dehydrate.  Use petroleum jelly (Vaseline or equivalent) on perch ends to trap the mites. 

If you have plastic housing, give it a good scrub with soapy water, hose down and leave to dry. To view our recycled plastic coop please click here.

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