Chickens are prone to suffering from red mites. In fact, it is probably one of the more common parasite issues among chickens around the world. On this page, we want to talk to you a little bit about red mites in chickens and how you can deal with the problem.
What are Red Mites in Chickens?
Red mites are a small parasitic creature. They are well-known for feasting upon the blood of chickens (or poultry in general), which seems to be their preferred food.
However, they can also impact pretty much any mammal. This includes humans. This is something that you probably do not want to come close to.
If your chicken coop has become infested with red mites, it can be incredibly difficult to see. This is because they are exceedingly small creatures.
They only come out at night too.
This means that unless you know what you are looking for, it can be difficult to know that they are there.
What are the Signs of Red Mites in Chickens?
Thankfully, once you know what you are looking for, it can be easy to spot whether your chickens have become the victims of a red mite infestation.
While red mites can feed anywhere on a chicken’s body, they are more likely to do it on their legs and feet.
Quite often, the very first sign that your chickens have been infested with red mites is if you notice small scabs on their feet and legs.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that your chicken has 100% been bitten by red mites, but if it is something that has happened with multiple chickens, then there is a strong chance that this is the case.
You may also start to notice that your chickens are not producing eggs as regularly as they did in the past. In fact, during a large red mite infestation, your chicken may produce no eggs at all.
When the infestation really starts to take hold, the comb and the wattle of the chicken will start to fade in color. The chickens will also start to suffer from anemia.
The latter is something that can lead to death if it is not dealt with properly.
The problem for you is that red mites hide incredibly well. When they are not tucking into chicken blood, they will be hiding in the wood cracks of the chicken coop.
They are so small that it is unlikely that you will notice they are there. However, if the red mite infestation is serious, then you will start to notice dead mites around the chicken coop.
You may also notice the mites in the feathers of chicken, so this may be the first place that you will want to look if you suspect red mites in chickens.
If you notice any of the following in your coop, then it could indicate that something is wrong:
- Lower egg production
- Early death for chickens
- Blood spots on eggs
How to Deal With the Red Mites?
Ideally, you would prevent the red mite infestation before it has taken hold. However, we know that this is not always going to be possible.
A lot of people do not actually know about red mites in chickens until there are actually red mites in chickens.
The entire chicken coop will need to be cleaned out and disinfected. When we say the entire chicken coop, we mean the entire chicken coop.
This is going to take a few hours. You will need to remove all of the bedding in the coop. This will need to be replaced. You will also need to ensure that the felt of the roof is removed and replaced too.
Quite often, you will find that red mites will reside there.
The entire coop will need to be hosed down. Since red mites tend to live in the crevices of the wood, you will need to pay special attention to those.
You will need to use a red mite disinfectant to kill off anything that you miss.
It will take a while for the chicken coop to dry after this. Once you have replaced the bedding, you will need to sprinkle some red mite powder into the coop.
It is recommended that you do this every couple of days to help to keep the red mite infestation at bay.
Preventing the Red Mite Infestation
Prevention is always going to be better than the cure.
Most people suggest that every couple of weeks you should be giving the chicken coop a complete clean, much in the same way that we mentioned previously.
While this will not prevent red mites from appearing in the coop, it will help to eliminate them before they become too much of an issue.
It is also worth noting that red mites cannot survive above 131 Fahrenheit (55 degrees Celsius).
There are some chicken owners that will regularly heat their coop up to this temperature.
Of course, make sure that your chickens are not in the coop when you do this, and make sure that the coop has completely cooled down once you have heated it up.
The heat can not only kill the red mites, but it could also kill the chickens too.
It is also worth thinking hard about where you get your chickens from. Red mites are often introduced to chicken coops when new chickens are brought into the fold. By from reputable breeders, and the risk will go all the way down.
You will also want to treat the walls of the coop with silica powder. You can also spread red mite powder around the chicken coop, which should help a little bit more.
Red mites are the bane of any chicken owner’s existence. This includes both domestic and commercial chicken owners.
If you do notice that there is any problem with your chicken coop, then you need to ensure that the problem is dealt with swiftly.
If you do not, then it won’t be difficult for the problem to start getting out of control. This can result in the death of your chickens and a far lower egg production.
Obviously, neither of these are going to be good. Whenever you go to check on your chickens, you should always be looking for the symptoms of red mites too.