Mites on chickens

DeweyLady(z8 TX)September 6, 2005

I have some six-week old Buff Orpingtons that are covered in mites and mite eggs, especially on their necks. Just discovered it today. I dusted them with Seven--may have to do it again when eggs hatched.

My question mites actually hurt my chickens or merely make them miserable?

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Ahh, the ever-popular mites! Charming to find these little wonders crawling on your birds, isn't it? :) *yikes!*

Tiny though they are, mites DO actually hurt the birds. There are several different types of mites, some suck blood directly, others destroy feathers. Birds can and do die of a mite infestation, that's why it's so important to routinely dust your birds for mites and keep checking them in between dustings--especially if your birds free range anre exposed to outside sources for mites such as sparrows, pigeons, etc. Once you dust, often you have to follow it up 7, 10 or 14 days later to kill any mites that have hatched since the first dusting. Also make SURE to dust the birds living quarters, roosts and nests. Otherwise the mites there simply reinfest the birds immediately.

If you click on my 'My Page' link there is tons of chicken info there that may help you, including some on dusting and worming your birds.

Good for you for being alert, catching the problem and taking care of it. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 4:07PM
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DeweyLady(z8 TX)

Thank you, Velvet. Follow up question. Is there a way I can get the millions of eggs off my babies without waiting till they (the mites) hatch? Is there anything I can wash them with? I tried picking some of the clumps off and of course the feathers went with them--plus Miss Buffy got awfully peeved. I get creepy chills just thinking about the multitude of eggs on this one pullet in particular--she seems to be the "runt" and for some reason the eggs are just flowering in unbelievable profusion.

Also, on the package of the Sevin it suggested the powder could be used as a dust bath. Does anybody know of any way I can encourage the chickens to use this as a dust bath? I poured it out into a shallow box early this morning but have seen no chickens venture near, much less wallow in. I'm afraid posting a sign saying "dirt bath" just won't do the trick as this particular flock of mine has been most resistant to learning to read!


    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 5:00PM
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Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

DE, Diatomacious Earth is fossil flour and should take care of the mites organically. We even feed it to our dog to take care of internal parasites.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 5:03PM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

we use diatomacious earth also. your chickens will create their own dust-bath areas - easily spotted bowl-shaped
depressions in bare dirt. we put the DE in their "bowls"
and they do the rest. no mites :)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 6:28PM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

and yes, what velvet said - we also dust their roosting
& nesting quarters.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 6:31PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I did lots of research on DE, I posted the 'good parts' *L* of what I was able to find out on my "My Page" has it's pros and cons. The problem with the dust bath is that not all of the birds may use it, and you still have to treat the living quarters.

You can certainly shampoo your chickens, but the expression, 'mad as a wet hen' DOES have some truth in fact. *L* You can use baby shampoo, it's just as harmless to birds as it is to humans. Bathing is stressfull to chickens though, even if it's done quickly, calmly and well. Have all your equipment ready beforehand, including lots of towels and a hair dryer. If you use a hair dryer keep one hand on the bird at all times to support it and also make sure it isn't getting too hot.

There are various lice/mite sprays and shampoos in pet stores--I haven't used any though.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 10:04PM
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Are you guys talking about the mites that might as well be the equivalent of being attacked by hordes of chiggars? If so, you don't want those puppies running up your arms either!!!!! I would spray my arms with something before I handled anything. Got into those things a couple of times in the fields even though we didn't have chickens. Courtesy of some other birds I guess. Man, they were wicked! Those babies will leave you scarred up.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 10:24PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

No, bird mites are tiny, but what they lack in size they make up for in sheer numbers. *ick!*

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 11:52PM
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Those are the ones I am talking about! They are very tiny like a tiny, tiny, tiny speck of pepper? I have gotten into them before out in our fields and I once got into them in a bird nest a phoebe had built above a light in the barn. You can't possibly get just one on you. You can only get into vast hordes of them. They are vicious little critters!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2005 at 7:45PM
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Pipersville_Carol(z6 Bucks PA)

My chickens had mites. I didn't see the bugs, but the birds were itchy, and every once in awhile I'd feel a bite myself after I'd been in the coop.

Sevin is pretty powerful stuff, isn't it? I used diatomaceous earth, and it seemed to work. Got a big canister off it, picked up each bird and laid her down on a lawn chair, holding both legs, and shook DE all over her, making sure the powder got down to the skin. My hens were pretty mad at me afterwards, but I did it twice and haven't had mites since. I dusted their coop, too.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 5:09PM
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ceresone(missouri ozarks)

Anyone ever use the strips that are available at MMM?they apply to the perches. sounds easier for me than trying to dust 100 chickens one at a time, thats why i'm wondering if the strips work. havent inspected my chickens yet, but i'm suspecting, so i'll check tonight.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 9:00AM
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Bob_Piper(NE Oklahoma)

I used to hear that hanging a banana stalk in the chicken house would repel the little varmints but I don't reckon that supermarkets get bananas on stalks anymore.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2005 at 11:47AM
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