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(25 Posts)
maristella Sun 02-Sep-12 16:29:47

I've just returned from holiday to find that our hens are infested with mites angry sad

The mites are black/grey and crawled onto my hand when I was collecting the eggs.

We have cleaned out the house and sprayed it, also spraying the dustpan and brush we used etc (but won't use that again if there any signs of mites on it)

We'll need to catch and powder the hens, but will do that later when they are a bit more submissive.

Does anyone have any advice please? Do they bite humans?

TunipTheVegemal Sun 02-Sep-12 18:11:12

Oh no! shock

I've heard that it has been a super-bad year for mites. Lots of chickenkeepers who have never had them before have got them.

I can't offer any advice because I've never had them but I remember reading that they might hop onto a human and have an experimental nibble but they won't infest you.

What sort of coop have you got? Is it wooden or plastic?

mummymeister Sun 02-Sep-12 22:52:33

mites are a nightmare this year. they are the devil to get rid of so hit them with everything all at once and hit them as hard as you can. try and identify what they are and then get the appropriate treatment for them. good luck - have kept chooks for over 10 years and have never known a year like it for mites and bugs.

maristella Tue 04-Sep-12 22:27:29

Please help, the mites are in my house sad

maristella - probably red mite. They will not feed on you or breed so do not worry, really. The best stuff to get rid of them is Ficam W.

TunipTheVegemal Tue 11-Sep-12 09:14:58

Maristella, I've just read (in the Haynes Chicken Manual) that the ones that crawl up your arm are likely to be northern fowl mite rather than red mite. Not that it makes a difference, the treatment is the same.

25chickens Wed 12-Sep-12 10:23:07

maristella, the best thing to get rid of mites is diatomaceous earth. You'll find it on eBay. You don't need to get it directly onto the mite, you place it where the mites will walk through it. They don't like to light so they come out at night to feed on your chickens. Sprinkle the DE liberally over the nesting boxes and the roosting bars. I also sprinkle it all around the inside edges of the coop and throw a bit of it at the roof for good measure.
All of the insecticides available for red mite will work but only if you manage to get it onto the mite, which is very difficult when they hide in every nook and cranny - and there are thousands of the critters to try to find! DE is placed in their path, they crawl over it and it dehydrates them. The mites have to get the chickens so if you place DE in their path, they WILL crawl over it and they will die.
DE has the added advantage of keeping the fly population down too smile
Leave it around all the time, I do and I haven't had mites in years.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 10:35:31

I use DE and haven't yet had a mite problem. Get it in a puffer bottle and you can puff it into crevices more easily and also on your chickens.
One of my old ones also had lice when I first got her and the DE got rid of them.

DE is not effective against red mite - it can be used as part of your husbandry regime and keeps down normal chicken mites.

25chickens Wed 12-Sep-12 23:03:12

Sorry MissBeehivingUnderTheMistletoe I'm going to have to beg to differ. I cleared a red mite infestation using nothing but DE. I discovered red mite on the morning of the day I had arranged to collect some rescue chickens - only to be told they had red mite! A double whammy. I had already covered the coop in DE after the discovery of the morning, I re-applied it to the roosting bars every evening for a week and the red mite are no more.

maristella Wed 12-Sep-12 23:09:52

They are devils!! Have DE powdered the hens, coop and run. I think 2 of my hens are still infested, so I'll powder them again (myself this time!)

I was trying to figure out how they would be on my face and hairline each night, and I think they are flicked onto me when the hens flap when I'm putting them in for the night.

They have nipped me! I have a few tiny bites on me, defo not flea bites as I'm allergic to them. I felt something on my neck earlier and found a mite, and I now have a tiny bite there! This is horrendous sad

25 chickens happy to disagree smile When you have a RM infestation actually on the house (RM don't stay on the chicken - they live in the housing and appear at night to feed] DE will not not clear it in IME. It acts as a deterrant during cooler weather but when the mites breed in large numbers it doesn't help. If it is RM they will be in the housing, at the end of the perches, sometimes and if there are there is significant numbers they leave a powdery type residue

With nomal chicken mites the powdering is better but it's such a faff to so all of my chickens and I can't show them if they have mites I use Frontline/Ivermectin/Ephrinex.

TunipTheVegemal Thu 13-Sep-12 06:58:59

Is what you are calling normal chicken mite the northern fowl mite or is there a third sort?

There are 4 types of lice - Yellow Body Louse, Red Mite, Northern Fowl and Scaley Leg. The yellow body louse lays eggs at the base of the feathers around the vent and lives on the bird. With NF mite the birds looks dirty IYNWIM?

Yellow body louse isthe most common sort lice and what call the normal. Hickey mite. Easy to get rid of fortunately smile

hickey ? Normal chicken mite

25chickens Fri 14-Sep-12 09:35:53

maristella are you sure it's red mite you have in the coop?
As MissBeehivingUnderTheMistletoe says, red mite don't live on the birds, they hide in nooks and crannies and come out at night to feed. If you can see evidence of them actually on the birds it's probably a louse infestation. The DE will still work on them but you have to powder the birds too, especially around the vent and neck area and under the wings.
The DE works by breaking down the shell of the mites/louse which causes them to dehydrate and die. Obviously this is not an instant cure because you have to wait for each individual critter to walk through the DE. I'd say we had a medium infestation of RM, in the summer (so they're breeding well and active) and it took days to clear it, but less than a week. I was very vigilant, I kept those perches and nesting boxes well powdered!
Hope you're seeing some improvement by now smile

maristella Fri 14-Sep-12 17:27:17

The mites are sort of grey (kind of black and white), some are big and red.

This is totally awful. No improvement. After putting the hens in last night I took my jumper off and removed the mites from it. After taking off about 40 I gave up and stuck it in the wash sad I'm really not sure what to do next. Going to clean and powder again. It's really hard to properly powder our hens because they are just so flappy!

Frontline/Ivermectin the birds and see if that helps. All you need is a couple of drops on the shoulders of each bird.

Is there any powdery residue in the housing?

maristella Sat 15-Sep-12 10:04:01

Is it a frontline treatment specifically for chickens?

No - just the normal cat/dog one - 2/3 drops. Egg withdrawal is 7 days

maristella Sat 15-Sep-12 14:15:56

Ah ok, I had been searching for a chicken product smile

Does it kill mites and lice?

Yes - ivermectin does worms as well smile

Grockle Tue 25-Sep-12 15:58:48

How do you get hold of Ivermectin/ frontline? Our vet said it would £40 to see a chicken to prescribe it. Is there another way?

I buy mine on online (google pet medicine and loads of suppliers come up - Pets at home do frontline) - you don't need a prescription for it. Ivermectin is not licensed for poultry (food producing) but vets prescribe it off licence for domestic chickens. As it's used for pigeons (harkermectin) and guinea pigs (ivermectin) you can buy it without a prescription. 3/4 drops between shoulders.

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