Are your flock looking a little itchy? Possibly their feathers are ruffled for no cause. Mites and lice are annoying, bothersome problems to have with your backyard flock, and should be dealt with quickly as it can spread out to all the other feathered good friends. For the fastest way to eliminate these pests examine out our guide. For more comprehensive information, we chatted to Claire Bickle, gardening and poultry specialist to get the tough realities about how to get rid of these mites, should they become a problem with your chickens.
Let’s begin off with some common FAQ’s about these parasites:
What’s the difference between lice and mites?
Well, both are extremely annoying and rather small. The distinction in between the 2 is that mites endure by eating the blood of your chickens. Some survive on the chickens, some live in their housing and come out to feed at particular times.
Lice however do not feed on the blood– rather they survive by consuming the skin scales and particles in their feathers. They also live their entire life on the chicken.
Both lice and mites, if left neglected are harmful to your chickens’ health, so you must definitely do something about it as quickly as possible.
How are they transmitted?
Lice and mites are usually transmitted by wild birds who bring the parasites entering into contact with the coop, or your chickens. Keeping an eye on animals like turkeys and other native birds is important for your flock’s health.
Can they be sent to other animals such as my animal dog or cat?
There’s no definite response as to whether lice or mites will transfer from chickens to other animals. Evidence recommends that the animals like to hang out on other mammals, so it’s worth examining your animals to see whether they’ve got a mite or lice problem. If they do, check out their bedding and their fur– if you presume any activity, give them a good clean and a warm bath.
Ok, now lets get into the various types of lice and mice that can impact your flock.
1. Red Mites (also called ‘Chicken Mites’)
Red mites are a few of the most common mites that affect chickens, and among the most annoying.
Red mites are typically spread out by wild birds coming into contact with your chicken coop. From here, they hide in the dark areas of the chicken cage throughout the day, and after that come out in the evening to feed upon your feathered buddies, as soon as again pulling back when the sun turns up.
To determine whether this mite is the culprit of ruffling feathers in your flock, have a close look at your chickens plumes and skin– if you can see red and black little spots, then these are more than likely red mites.
How they affect your chickens:
The mites can cause your chickens to become anaemic if left untreated. If further without treatment, death may happen, so act quickly!
How to avoid Red mites:
As mentioned previously, wild birds coming in contact with the cage is one of the most common ways red termites can be transferred. Taking measures to prevent birds from sitting on your cage is recommended. In addition, if you are presenting new birds to the flock, quarantine them initially to ensure they don’t move any mites to your existing feathered good friends.
How to deal with Red mites:
Contrary to some drastic techniques, the chicken coop does not need to be burned– it will take a few treatments to get rid of all of the termites, however it will be well worth it!
Ensure you are treating your chickens during the night, as this is the time when the mites will come out from the coop and are active. You can provide a dust of Pestene (a sulphur and rotenone powder), which must dehydrate the mites and effectively kill them (this is likewise safe to the chickens). You need to take on the coop– this is what will get rid of the mites.
Keep the chicken cage very clean– roosts, nesting boxes and the yard! Ensure you thoroughly deal with the bedding also, do not conserve it for the garden compost. When the cage has been scrubbed tidy, spray it with a high pressure hose, guaranteeing you pipe out every crack and corner. Let the cage dry in the sun for a couple of minutes, and after that give it an excellent spray again.
Then, provide the cage’s dark nooks and crannies a generous spray with some Absorbacide (a natural insecticide) or diatomaceous earth. Ensure that when you apply these, that they do not get damp– they will not be as effective. Using a set of gloves and also dust masks is advisable– these powders aren’t poisonous, however it is a stong powder, so may offer you a sneezing fit!
Other coop treatment options consist of Coopex, Pestene and Hydrated Lime.
2. Northern Fowl Mites
Northern Fowl mites are comparable to the Red mite, in that they eat your chickens’ skin. Unlike the Red mite, the Northern Fowl invests its whole life on the chickens. This indicates that the negative impacts of the mites will be much faster, so it’s really crucial to treat them as quickly as they’re discovered.
How they impact your chickens:
The Northern Fowl mite will also cause anaemia in your chickens by feeding upon them, and if unattended will cause death.
How to avoid Northern Fowl mites:
Keep the cage clean, and avoid wild birds and rodents from penetrating the cage and spreading the mites. Clean up spilled feed and anything that might bring in undesirable weird crawlies!
How to deal with Northern Fowl mites:
Right away treat your chickens with a safe insecticide– attempt diatomaceous earth, absorbacide or Pestene. A couple of days later on, deal with the chickens once again– this will get any staying eggs and mites. If none of these insecticides work, contact your vet who might have the ability to recommend you another poultry insecticide.
3. Scaly Leg Mites
These critters are so small that they can not be seen with the human eye– however, they can easily be spotted by the results they leave on your hens.
How they affect your chickens:
Scaly Leg mites weasel their way into your chickens scales on their feet, where they feed and likewise leave droppings. This will make your chickens legs appear crusty and scabby– and if left unattended will infect the remainder of the flock and trigger them terrific discomfort. If left without treatment for a very long time, they may cause death.
How to avoid Scaly Leg mites:
Keep the coop spotless. Likewise quarantine any new birds you may be contributing to your flock, and ensure they aren’t currently affected with the mites– otherwise they might infect your chickens.
How to treat Scaly Leg mites:
Offer your chickens a good bath in a tub of lukewarm water, and carefully tidy them. After they’ve dried off, dust their whole body with some Pestene or diatomaceous earth.
You will also require to give the coop an extensive cleansing. Remember to dust the coop with Pestene or diatomaceous earth.
Different types of lice:
1. ‘Shaft louse’
There is one primary type of lice that affects our poultry, typically referred to as ‘shaft louse’ as they rest on the chickens plume shaft. They have to do with 1-6mm in size, and typically a mustard colour– they likewise move fast. You should not have any difficulty identifying lice on your chickens.
How they impact your chickens:
As mentioned earlier, shaft louse feed upon the scales and feather particles of your chickens. If left neglected, they will cause a variety of issues in your poor birds, such as feather pecking (you’d be pecking your plumes too if you were being bitten!), weight reduction, skin irritation, a pale comb, along with behavioural modifications i.e. listless nature and a drop in egg laying production.
How to avoid Shaft Louse:
Ensure your chickens have access to a dust bathing area– this is the most reliable approach they have of keeping parasites off themselves. Also watch out for any wild birds that have contact with your chickens or the cage– this is how the lice (and mites) are normally sent.
How to deal with Shaft Louse:.
Dust them with a pestene powder or diatomaceous earth if you’ve found lice on your chickens. Likewise, dust the coop thoroughly (make sure when doing this, so your chickens respiratory systems aren’t inflamed). This should cure the issue. Again, ensure they have an area to dust bathe in!
Preventing lice and mites:
Capturing a mite or lice problem early is the crucial to an easy prevention– however, with a little patience and effort you can deal with lice and termites yourself.
Crucial suggestions and pointers to keep in mind:
- Keep the cage tidy, and make sure you get all the dark corners and hidden areas.
- Quarantine new birds and check them for any termites prior to presenting them to the flock.
- Pestene/diatomaceous earth/other safe insecticides are your finest buddies!
Chickens require an area for dust bathing, even if they’re in a cage always. This is the very best prevention for lice and mites.