Are your flocks looking a little itchy? Perhaps their feathers are being ruffled for no apparent reason.
Chicken mites and lice are annoying, bothersome problems to have with your backyard flock, and they should be dealt with quickly as they can spread to all the other feathered friends.
For the fastest way to eliminate these pests, examine our guide. For more comprehensive information, we chatted with Claire Bickle, gardening and poultry specialist, to get the tough realities about how to get rid of these chicken mites, should they become a problem with your chickens.
Let’s begin with some common FAQs about these parasites:
What’s the difference between lice and chicken mites?
Well, both are extremely annoying and rather small. The difference between the two is that chicken mites survive by feeding on your chickens’ blood. Some survive on the chickens, and 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 lives on chicken.
Both lice and chicken 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 chicken mites are usually transmitted by wild birds that bring the parasites 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 dogs or cats?
There’s no definite answer as to whether lice or chicken mites will transfer from chickens to other animals.
Evidence recommends that the animals like to hang out with other mammals, so it’s worth examining your animals to see whether they’ve got a chicken mite or lice problem.
If they do, check out their bedding and their fur; if you presume any activity, give them a good cleaning and a warm bath.
Ok, now let’s get into the various types of lice and chicken mites that can impact your flock.
1. Red Mites (also called ‘Chicken Mites’)
Red chicken 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 chicken 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:
Chicken mites can cause your chickens to become anemic 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 mites can be transferred. Taking measures to prevent birds from sitting in 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 chicken mites to your existing feathered good friends.
How to deal with Red chicken 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 chicken mites, however, it will be well worth it!
Make sure you treat your chickens at night, as this is when the mites will emerge from the coop and become active.
You can provide dust of Pestene (a sulfur and rotenone powder), which must dehydrate the mites and effectively kill them (this is likewise safe for 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, too; do not conserve it for the garden compost.
When the cage has been scrubbed tidy, spray it with a high-pressure hose, guaranteeing that you will 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, give 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, they do not get damp—they will not be as effective. It is recommended that you wear gloves and dust masks; these powders are not poisonous, but they are strong and may cause you to sneeze!
Coopex, Pestene, and Hydrated Lime are some other coop treatment options.
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 in 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 anemia 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.
Deal with the chickens again a few days later to remove any remaining 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 by 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 chicken’s plume shaft.
They have to do with 1-6mm in size, and typically a mustard color– 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 behavioral 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 to keep 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 chicken 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, that your chickens’ respiratory systems aren’t inflamed).
This should cure the issue. Again, ensure they have an area to dust and bathe in!
Preventing lice and chicken mites:
Capturing a mite or lice problem early is crucial to easy prevention– however, with a little patience and effort you can deal with lice and chicken mites 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 chicken mites 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 chicken mites.