How to get rid of Poultry Red Mites

poultry red mites dermanyssus gallinae how to get rid of

Having your chickens deal with a red mite infestation can prove to be very traumatic for them. These parasitic insects can not only spread disease that will result in poor health, weight loss and low egg production for your chickens, but can also cause the death of the birds. They affect chickens due to the fact that they bite and chew their way through their feathers, they suck blood, cause itchiness and even anaemia, which will lead to feather loss and eventually death. Especially if you are located at a farm and are dealing with a large number of birds, poultry mites can cause you a lot of trouble, as they can be easily transmitted from other wild birds flying through the area, and even by rodents. Getting rid of these mites is imperative if you want to keep your birds healthy and make sure they also have a good outturn of eggs.

poultry red mites dermanyssus gallinae how to get rid of

Signs of red mite infestation

You can easily figure out if your chickens are dealing or not with red mites if you observe their behaviour. As the mites usually attack at night, as they stay hidden in the chicken coop during the day, you will notice your hens and roosters being reluctant to enter their coop to sleep. Hens can also stop using their nesting boxes as those can get easily infested as well.
Roosters also normally cause broken feathers, however, the level of feather loss caused by mites will be a lot higher, as you will be able to clearly see the skin due to patches of missing plumage. The skin will also be red and irritated, and the chickens will be scratching in an attempt to remove the mites. Another clear sign of infestation will be the scales on the legs of birds. If they are beginning to lift up and have a paler colour, it is a sign that mite waste is building up underneath them. This will also become painful and debilitating to the birds, and adding this to the constant state of itchiness, their life will become a very stressful one, which will also affect their egg production.
Dirty looking feathers, a pale comb and a sudden decrease in weight are also visual signs that the health of your birds is heavily affected.

How to get rid of red mite infestation

To be able to remove all the threats you will need to apply treatments not only to your birds, but to their coop as well. If you are unable to keep them separated from other wild birds or rodents that come through your yard or near the coop, there is a fair chance that one day, you will have to deal with such an infestation. And be sure to treat the problem as soon as possible, because mites can easily spread from one bird to another.
Once they infest the coop, they will be hiding there during the day, only to come out at night and attack your chickens. Mites are quite small insects, which will be found on the skin of the birds, at the basis of the feathers, and mostly under their wings and near the vent of the bird.  Treatment is imperative if you want to remove the problem and keep your birds safe. You can apply several types of treatments to the birds and to their coop as well, depending on the gravity of the situation.

For treatments on the chicken coop you will need to take time and strip it apart as much as you can. Mites are small creatures which will stay hidden in crack and crevices during day time. After taking it apart, you can use liquid products that will penetrate and eliminate the infestation from every joint, and then, after the coop dries up, you can apply powders that have a long-lasting effect and can be sprinkled on the nesting material as well. You can use such products which have a chemical base, however, it is better to use natural or organic based ones, so that they do not affect your chickens. You can use a pressure hose to wash down the coop as a first measure. It might not eliminate all the mites, but it will do most of the job. Once you are done with the washing of the coop you will be able to see red mites crawling from the cracks they were hiding in. you can wash it again, this time concentrating extra on the cracks. Mixtures of water, cooking oil and washing liquid can be sprayed into the coop as it will suffocate the mites. You can spray them once or twice a week while simultaneously also treating the chickens.
Please note that a single such cleaning may not be enough to rid you of the entire red mite population, although it will definitely cause a drastic reduction. Keep the mites’ life cycle in mind (which takes around 7 days) and re-treat the coop several times at regular intervals until there are truly no more signs of red mites.

After thoroughly cleaning the coop and setting a fresh bedding material, you can add to it some Diatomaceous Earth. It is a non-chemical substance which will help kill the mites by slowly dehydrating them. Place it onto the bedding and also rub it onto the perches of the coop, especially at their ends and undersides. Once mites try to crawl over it at night, in order to get to the chickens, the small fossilised algae within it will pierce their exoskeleton causing mites to dehydrate and die. It is a safe, natural product, that can also be used to treat the birds. You can either rub it on the chickens’ skin and feathers, as it will affect the mites hiding at the base of the feathers. Or you can sprinkle it in the dust bath areas, which you should provide for your birds. A patch of dirt or sand is all they need, as chickens love to bathe in it. You can enhance them with some wood ash or DE, to help keep the birds free of mites. In hot and humid areas or when an extended period of wet weather is taking place, mites flourish, due to the fact that chickens might not have the opportunity to bathe as often as they need to.

Spraying concentrated insecticides for Poultry Mites control:

Concentrated insecticides are the most common used products in fighting insect infestations. They provide the safety that any insect coming into contact with the treated surfaces dies shortly.

Sprayers used for Mites of Poultry control:

The equipment needed for a professional Pest Control Operator depends on the type of pest the treatment is made against, and if the treated surface is indoors or outdoors. Sprayers help in applying products meant to reach difficult places, as well as guaranteeing an economic control of the treatment application.

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Treating the chicken coop is half the solution, as the birds also need to be taken care of at the same time. Apart from the fact that you can also use DE directly applied and rubbed on their feathers, there are some other natural remedies that you can use. Using wood ash to clean a chicken might seem weird, however it is one of the best natural remedies you try. Rub it well into the feathers and onto the skin, while avoiding the eyes and nostrils of the chicken. It will kill the mites on the bird or prevent other mites from crawling onto the chicken at night. Make sure to constantly provide fresh batches of wood ash, wether in the dust baths or in a tub places in their coop, so that the chickens can wash in it when they please.
Making mixtures of water and garlic oil, neem oil, or others such as lavender, cinnamon, spearmint, bay or thyme in a spray bottle and then applying them on the chickens’ feathers is also a way of removing the mites. These mixtures will suffocate them and kill the ones roaming through the feathers of the bird. However, make sure not to apply to much oil, as this can disturb the chickens. And also, be careful when bathing them or when spraying the mixtures onto their feathers, not to get it into their eyes and nostrils.
For scaly leg mites, you can rub petroleum jelly or Vaseline onto their legs, or even antibiotic ointments prescribed by veterinarians. You can also use oils such as those mentioned above, and you will have to apply the treatment for several weeks, every 2-3 days.

Mist Blowers used for Mites of Poultry control:

Mist blowers are also useful for treatment application, as they use a very low volume application rate per unit area / space, that guarantees economic control of pests.

  • eu stihl sprayer sr 200 - 7, small

    SR 200

    €411.23

      Type of Apparatus:

    • Mist Blowers

      Manufacturer:

    • Stihl

      Tank Capacity:

    • 10 litres
  • eu stihl sprayer fogger sr 430 - 8, small

    SR 430

    €431.86

      Type of Apparatus:

    • Mist Blowers

      Manufacturer:

    • Stihl

      Tank Capacity:

    • 14 litres
  • makita sprayer pm7651h - 2, smallFree Shipping

    PM7651H

    €615.56

      Type of Apparatus:

    • Mist Blowers

      Manufacturer:

    • Makita

      Tank Capacity:

    • 15 litres
  • eu solo sprayer 451 - 5, small

    451

    €602.44

      Type of Apparatus:

    • Mist Blowers

      Manufacturer:

    • Solo

      Tank Capacity:

    • 13 litres
  • eu solo sprayer fogger master 452 01 - 1, small

    Master 452-01

    €424.73

      Type of Apparatus:

    • Mist Blowers

      Manufacturer:

    • Solo

      Tank Capacity:

    • 12 litres

It’s important to also know how to prevent such infestations from happening. Good sanitation practices, frequent flock inspections and ample access to dust bathing surfaces can keep your chickens free of red mites. A good feeding plan will also keep your chickens safe, as mites prefer to attack already weaker birds. Keep your coop clean and make sure you check it regularly, feed your chickens properly and make sure to keep in check the contact they have with any other wild birds that might spread these parasites. Details on these and other preventive measures can be found in our article ‘Prevent infestation with Poultry Red Mites’, and make sure to keep in mind that it is always better to prevent such an infestation, than having to deal with it.

Got a question?

  1. Every time I clean my chickens out I start itching really bad in my hair and I noticed on my white tee shirt there were a loads of tiny insects and I brushed my hair on white paper and a lot of mites?came out what are they hope you can help how do I get rid off these

    Kevin campbell -
    Answer
    1. Red poultry mites are not known for burrowing in and infesting human skin, as they usually fall off rapidly. But it’s possible that they may cling to human skin for longer periods and provoke a feeling of itchiness. They are able to get proper nutrition and also can only mate when affecting birds, not humans, but they can cause discomfort until they fall from your skin.
      You can use Neostomosan for fighting the mites inside the chicken coop. The insecticide needs to be applied on every surface inside the coop, and then, the coop needs to be kept shut for 4-6 hours, so that the solution takes effect. Do not keep the birds inside the coop while doing this, and do not apply Neostomosan onto the birds, as for treating them, you will need to resort to a veterinary shop.
      Neostomosan needs to be mixed in water, at a dose of 150 ml dissolved in 10 liters of water, and then applied inside the coop.

      You can find the product here, in our shop:
      http://www.nexles.com/ceva-insecticide-neostomosan-1-liter.html

      Nexles -
      Answer
  2. That’s not true, they can infest humans. I’ve been dealing with this for over 8 months and they prefer females to males. There are many people who have been infested for years, learn the facts.

    Lonny -
    Answer
    1. Red poultry mites are not known for infesting human skin. But it’s possible that they may cling to human skin for longer periods and provoke a feeling of itchiness. We don’t have in our catalogue, a product that can be applied in this situation.

      Nexles -
      Answer

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