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#15418 - 12/05/04 03:27 PM mites ?
D. Roy Offline

Registered: 10/23/04
Posts: 81
Loc: Louisiana
After handling some of my chickens, I've noticed some very small brown bugs on my arms; mentioned this to wife, who said that she had also gotten some of the bugs on her after fooling with the chickens, but hadn't put 2+2= bugs. Any idea what they are, & how best to treat the free ranging birds?

#15419 - 12/08/04 05:49 PM Re: mites ?
Sunni Ten Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 341
Loc: Colorado
Chickens can be plagued by lice and mites. Both are a nuisance, but fairly easy to get rid of. I've experienced both with my hens several times over the years.
Pick up a chicken and look at her vent area. If you see bugs there (usually light in color), it's lice. Dust her and all the others with the dusting powder you can buy in a feed store. (Directions on the can. It's not hard.) I also put some of the powder in their nesting box. I've found that one dose is all it takes, but you might need to do it again in a few days. Discard all their eggs for about a week after treatment. Replace the bedding in their nesting box.
With mites, you'll find itty bitty tiny dark bugs. They're the ones you probably found on your arms. Gross, but don't worry. You won't become infested with them yourself.
With mites, you'll have to do the same dusting treatment as above. But you'll also have to give your coop a thorough cleaning. Mites tend to live on the chickens at night when they roost. During the day, the mights stay on the perches. If you look at your perches, you'll see huge swarms of them. Ugh. I've taken a bleach/water solution with a sponge and just wiped everything down. Get the walls and nesting boxes as well. Air out the coop before you allow your chickens to return. You might need to repeat the process in a day or so.
Yes, it's a pain, but the problem is treatable.
If the mites get out of hand, your chickens will be miserable. I had a young batch of chicks once in my coop, and I couldn't figure out why they were sleeping in the outside run area instead of in the coop. I finally took a close look at their bedding (they were not yet roosting) and it was covered with mites. Ugh! Poor chickies! I dusted them, cleaned the coop thoroughly, and everything was back to normal.

#15420 - 12/09/04 02:03 PM Re: mites ?

The mites described in the post above are called red mites. They are red in the morning because they have moved to the chickens at night and fed on their blood. Look for them in the cracks and crevises around your roost.
The other kind is the Northern Fowl Mite which lives on the bird and clusters in the soft feathers just beneath the vent. If allowed to infest the bird for a long time there will be a very large, firm clump containing mites of all ages.
Dusting is one way to quickly get rid of the mites that are hatched. A dust containing "Sevin" or carbaryl is the most effective and will kill the bugs overnight a long as you get it right into the clump and down to the skin. The treatment must be repeated in 10 days. In that time any eggs in the clump would have hatched but the mites would not have had time to mature and reproduce, so by dusting again on the 10th day the cycle will be broken. The dust will also kill lice so should be applied to the underside of the wing feathers and neck or hackle feathers. Again re-apply in 10 days. A dusting in the nest boxes, under the straw will prevent the nests from becoming infested.
As Sunni Ten advised, a clean out of the coop should be done when an infestation is found.


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