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#75348 - 04/21/08 12:25 PM Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Bad Seed Girl Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Tennessee
I am helping to raise my Nephews 4-H chickens (black star sex link). My father was supposed to be doing this project with my nephew but he passed away 6 days before the chicks arrived. I was left helping him keep them alive and so far they have thrived. We have 26 hens and a rooster, so much for sexlinking! I live in Middle TN and have just moved the chicks outside to the coop. The chick are now 5 1/2 weeks old. (Yes, we are putting a heat lamp in the coop at night so the chickens are staying in the 70dgr range). My cousin has been all though 4-H and came by to check on the chicks with me. He said I need to put sevin dust out for the chicks to roll in to prevent mites. I try not use chemicals in my yard and around my house because I have a spring fed water source and don't relish the idea of chemicals in my drinking water. Are there any organic remedies to mites? This is just the first of many questions I have about chickens, but I'm taking things one at a time.

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#75349 - 04/21/08 01:25 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Ridekool Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 313
Loc: Canada
I use DE to keep the creepy crawlies away, but I found that it didn't work to kill the buggers if the chickens had them...once I killed them with louse/mite powder DE is great for keeping them at bay.
DE...please don't ask me to spell it frown

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#75350 - 04/21/08 01:57 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Foehn Online   content
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
Diatomaceous Earth

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#75351 - 04/21/08 02:17 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Bad Seed Girl Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Tennessee
Can that be picked up at any farm supply store or Co-op?

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#75352 - 04/21/08 02:59 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
The Diatamaceous Earth (DE) will act as a preventative as long as the chicks don't already have mites. Clean sandbox quartz sand or good clean dirt will act in the same manner (i.e. for them to dust bathe in). You need food grade DE (Codex) and not the regular garden variety DE which is like a chemical. my local Co-op only has the regular garden variety DE, not food grade DE. Others on here say that they can purchase Food Grade DE at their local feed store; I can't-- I order mine online.

If the chicks are infested with mites already, then we can give further advice as needed. If infested, there are other ways of ridding the mites & lice without poisoning your groundwater. Chris

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#75353 - 04/21/08 03:25 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Bad Seed Girl Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Tennessee
Thanks so much Chris, They are not infested yet, my cousin said to use sevin to prevent the mites. I will check with co-op and TSC locally.

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#75354 - 04/21/08 03:59 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Jocelyn Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/02
Posts: 1467
Loc: Canada
Cold, dry wood ash works too. Hardwood ash seems to be the best, so if you have a wood furnace, you're all set.

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#75355 - 04/21/08 04:52 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
Well, you cannot prevent anything you do not have??? That would be a waste of Sevin, and if you have them, it takes something to kill them--right on the bird, because that is the only place they LIVE. Best to inspect the birds for mites, regularly--they may not get them. Mites have to come from mites--other birds, mite eggs left behind from other birds that have them, wild bird feathers that "might" have an egg attached. They do seem to appear magically--but they don't---- there must be a source Dry, dusty bedding makes a difficult place for them to move. Suggestions for dusting places for the birds, is good, their natural behavior to keep comfortable and maybe, Mite-free! Good luck, CJR

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#75356 - 04/21/08 05:22 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
badseedgirl, I dont know what you're using for bedding, but along the same lines as CJR mentioned, dry dusty bedding is best. I clean out my coop weekly, as the chickens are only in there to sleep (yet still manage to make quite a mess). I sprinkly DE on the floor, in the nest boxes, and on the perch. Wear a mask, as it's a very fine powder and can irritate the lungs. I let the dust settle and air out, and then I put in clean shavings on top of it. I haven't had my girls for long, but I do check them regularly for mites. None as of yet. Whether thats due to good hygiene on their part, or keeping the coop clean, or luck, I dont know. You can also mix it in with the dirt or sand in the areas that they dust bathe in. Do a search on here and on Google for DE. Some swear by it, some think its bogus, who knows. I know I don't have mites, and no chemicals either smile

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#75357 - 04/22/08 09:06 AM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
What types of environmental areas or climates would make mites come around? I have never used the DE yet but I did use the advice of putting a sandbox of ash from our woodstove in the coop and I have never seen a mite. I thought there was a possibility of one of our hens having them last winter as her bum was getting kind of bald, so that's when I put the wood ash in the coop and her feathers are growing back.
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#75358 - 04/22/08 10:53 AM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Bad Seed Girl Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Tennessee
we are using pine shavings as floor covering. The chicks have access to the coop, and a fenced run area 24/7. We built the coop under trees so they will have shade for the summer heat.
Our 4-H service is advising us to use a deep shaving method of floor care where you stir and layer the shavings on a weekly basis until you have 12" of floor covering. They have only been outside for about a week, but I have had my nephew stir up the shavings at least once a week.

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#75359 - 04/22/08 11:33 AM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Seedy Seeds Offline
Coop Cleaner

Registered: 08/29/05
Posts: 240
Loc: Massachusetts
whatever happened to cedar shavings ? They are good for killing moths and fleas . Do they harm poultry ?

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#75360 - 04/22/08 12:17 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
I use cedar shavings for my adult birds and well, the chicks being reared by the mother hen outdoors are sleeping in cedar shavings-- they're good but will NOT prevent mites.

I had a mite infestation after a heavy rain spell coupled with a influx of migratory birds. I was using DE and sevin dust in their dust holes, their nest boxes. I did change a few habits like I got rid of all straw as I believe the straw shafts CAN harbor the nasty creatures and I switched to cedar shavings-- finally, after MUCH effort & good advice from my friends on here, I got rid of them. If a place is wet and your birds are outdoors, none of the so-called remedies is going to PREVENT mites if they are "around.". You can only hope that the DE, sevin and what-have-you DISCOURAGES the external parasites by making the environment more inhospitable for them.

The so-called harmful effect some attribute to cedar shavings is NOT true-- just an old wives tale. I use pine shavings with the chicks just because they tend to initially eat some of it.

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#75361 - 04/22/08 02:58 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Bad Seed Girl Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Tennessee
We have a wood burning fireplace and I have an ash bucket full of black walnut ashes. I think I will try that. Now what do I put the ashes in? Do I just sprinkle them in the grass in the run area, in the coop (we don't have nesting boxes yet), both or in a box for them to roll in, what is my next step?

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#75362 - 04/22/08 03:38 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Foehn Online   content
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
A shallow box, or a plastic basin. It doesn't matter as long as its heavy enough not to tip over. I have found that the hens like a mixture of sand, ash and dry dirt. I use this mixture in the winter, a). because the wood ash is freely available then, and b) because there are no dry soil patches to be found outside. I have a little A frame shelter which I leave in one spot and place the basin in. Hens are very smart. They soon become curious about a new object in the yard, and go investigate. When there are no other options about, they quickly take to using the basin.

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#75363 - 04/22/08 05:55 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
One Doodle3 Offline
New Egg

Registered: 04/15/08
Posts: 5
Loc: West Virginia
Just a quick question. Where do you get pine shavings? I've heard of cedar shavings but not pine shavings.

Thanks.

Kaye

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#75364 - 04/22/08 06:30 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
P. Smith1340 Offline
Chicken

Registered: 02/28/08
Posts: 94
Loc: Oregon
My feed store sells them in a bale, or I'm sure you could find them at a pet store (Petco, Petsmart)

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#75365 - 04/22/08 07:20 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
C. G. McCary Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 613
Loc: Alabama
Pine Shavings: Wal-mart will be the least expensive; my Feed Store runs a clsoe second. PetSmart is most expensive.

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#75366 - 04/23/08 05:39 AM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
NW Chix Offline
Chicken

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 93
Loc: Washington
Here they are also called "White Shavings" and you can get them in a plastic-wrapped bale at the local feed and farm stores for about six or seven bucks. If you need a large amount of them and have a dry place for storage, you could have them delivered by the yard.

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#75367 - 04/23/08 08:22 AM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Bad Seed Girl Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Tennessee
Our local TSC sells pine shavings under the term horse bedding.

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#75368 - 04/23/08 10:13 AM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
As far as I'm concerned, the horse bedding from Tractor Supply Company is too dusty. They look like bags of saw dust to me. I used to use Poplar shavings but switched to large pine flake shavings that are available at my local Farmer's Co-op. They're a bit pricy ($7.99 per bale), but they're not nearly as dusty as the horse bedding or the Popular shavings.
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Rhea Dean

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#75369 - 04/23/08 12:40 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Bad Seed Girl Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Tennessee
Quote:
They do seem to appear magically--but they don't--there must be a source. Dry, dusty bedding makes a difficult place for them to move.
So wouldn't the TSC shavings be better for the birds in preventing mites?

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#75370 - 04/23/08 01:42 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
My chickens stay confined in the barn most of the time, so I'm more concerned about the amount of dust. I don't think it's healthy for any animal to live in a dusty environment.

As far as mites, I keep my chickens sprayed on a regular basis, so I don't have much of a problem. I have screens over the windows and screen doors on both ends to allow for ventilation. The screen doors keep the wild birds out, which can be a major source for mites. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
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Rhea Dean

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#75371 - 04/23/08 08:26 PM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Bad Seed Girl Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/18/08
Posts: 25
Loc: Tennessee
Rhea, what do you spray them with?

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#75372 - 04/24/08 04:47 AM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
I sent you a private message. Click on "my profile" at the top of the page to read it and reply to it.
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Rhea Dean

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#75373 - 04/28/08 06:00 AM Re: Organic mite protection, does it exist?
Sally Joe Offline
Feather

Registered: 12/20/06
Posts: 31
Loc: New York
I recently read in a poultry book that using tobacco leaves and/or pennyroyal in your coop and nests helps to keep mites away. You can grow both and use the fresh clippings under whatever you put in the nest boxes and on the floor or you can buy a couple of pouches of chewing tobacco and some dry pennyroyal leaves which should be available in a health food store.

I like do things naturally also so have been using the DE and am now adding the tobacco and pennyroyal. I bought a pennyroyal plant and hope it will grow fast so I can use the fresh clippings. The article said that a small amount of either, will not hurt the chickens even if they eat a little of it.

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