chicken coop mites!!!!!

beeliz(2)October 3, 2007

ARGH! yesturday I went to do my regular coop clean,and I had all these tiny mites on my arms...I saw them on some eggs...I'm SO upset about this,what do I do> Do I empty out the whole coop then powder? Please,someone help!!!

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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Yeah, mites are creepy. :( You feel all disgusted and itchy after you find the little devils...

Not to worry, though. You need to spray or dust both the chickens AND their living quarters. I've got instructions for the various methods on my chicken info site, here:

Since you currently have an outbreak that you need to quell, I would go with the chemical mite treatments--Adams spray or Sevin dust--rather than DE. You need to be sure and knock down the mite infestation, and for me DE isn't a 'for sure & fast' enough bet.

DO TREAT ALL YOUR BIRDS, right away. And their living quarters, otherwise it's like taking a shower and putting dirty clothes back on. Treat right away, as mite infestations can kill, it's a serious problem. While you are at it, I'd check their poops for signs of worms, and maybe worm them as well as I've noticed that a lot of time, mites and worms can go hand in hand. Mites are an external parasite, worms are internal.

When I spray my coop, I muck it out (rack out the litter and bedding) first and empty the nests. You want to be sure and get the spray into all the nooks and crannies where mites hide during the day.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 3, 2007 at 4:11PM
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thanks Velvet,I appreciate your help :)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 2:49PM
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ok,now I've done the dirty work (how awful it was too)I emptied the litter and discarded everything that was wooden because they were all over the wooden roosts. then I put down that powder stuff which my awsome neighbour gave me,and put in new litter shavings. Will this be ok? and now I just wait to see if any more come out? This may have been one of the worst experiences ever!!! I feel DIRTY! anyways one question...can these mites infest peoples homes? I'm really worried about that,they were all over me when I was doing the cleaning. So I just would like to know what I do next,and can they infest my family? thanks :)

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 6:08PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Exactly what 'powder stuff' was it? You need to be VERY sure about what you are using to make sure it isn't toxic to the birds, and to you! If you used powdered Sevin it's OK.

You DID dust the birds too, right? If you didn't go dust those birds right now. Wear gloves and eye protection, plus long sleeves to protect yourself from the poison. You need to work that dust right down to their skin, which means massaging it deep into their feathers, everywhere--get personal and intimate, which will properly outrage your birds. :) It's better to do it right just once, than do it halfway and have to do it again. I do my birds right at dusk, when they have gone into the coop and are easy to catch and dust, plus they then settle down for the night with the Sevin on them, and since mites are mostly nocturnal it puts a good whammy on the mites.

Yeah, I agree with the 'dirty' feeling, and I'll toss in 'creepy and itchy' as well. Ugh. Mites can infest your home, but since it's not their preferred living quarters (they want to be right there with their food source, the chickens), they usually don't. They may crawl on you but you aren't their food source, either.

Just keep things clean and you shouldn't have a problem. Everyone freaks out and gets disgusted when they see these things and feels the way you do, welcome to the club. :(

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 8:04PM
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Velvet, hi again! I did dust them tonight at their "bedtime" with a natural product that I got from the co-op..can't remember the name(I'll tell you in the am)...anyways,it's completely non poisonous. and they let me totally rub them down,I was so impressed with them!! anyways,I used a more potent powder for the coop that I sprinkled on the floor then in the cracks ect under the new shavings. I really hope this works..I'm so depressed about this outbreak...what do you think cause it to happen? I'm SO routine with their daily cleaning ect. I also hope it doesn't infest our home :(

    Bookmark   October 4, 2007 at 9:05PM
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Hey this sounds dreadful! Velvet, how often does this happen? Any advise on prevention? Sorry this has happened to you Beeliz. Kate

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 3:45AM
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beeliz(2) I'm really getting frustrated! I did eliminate the mits from the birds and the coop..whew! this morning I found a couple mites on the bin that I keep my woodshavings in..I keep the bin outside the coop. do I have to throw it all away including the bin to be safe? or can I powder the bin with the shavings in it to kill them all? PLease help! frustrated beeliz :(

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 9:04AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

beeliz, what exactly did you use?

farmwife, mites are an external parasite that most birds have a few of here and there most of the time. They are able to keep them under control by dustbathing and preening, and by being healthy. Mites and worms are carried in by wild birds, are already in the ground (earthworms can be a source of roundworms), can be tracked in from the dirt on peoples' shoes, etc. There really isn't any way to completely eliminate the possibility of parasites.

A mite outbreak can occur when the natural checks and balances are upset for some reason, or when the bird is suffering an illness and opportunistic things like mites explode out of control.

All you can do is to keep your birds as healthy as possible, provide plenty of opportunity for dustbaths and keep their living quarters clean. When outbreaks occur you need to treat ALL the birds, their living quarters--everything. I've got instructions on the various methods here on my chicken info site:

To clean the coop, I also got myself a little portable, hand-held steam cleaner made by Scunci, like this one:

I take it right out into the coop and use it to blast steam into the nooks and crannies of the coop, nests, etc. It doesn't soak the wood and make a mess, plus it softens and blasts away any stuck-on chicken poop where mites could hide. Steam is non-toxic and mites can't build a resistance to it like they can to poisons. :) I'm really happy with the results I get from the thing. YOU CAN'T STOP THERE, THOUGH--I follow the steam cleaning up with either the Adams spray or the powdered Sevin, although if I use Sevin I have to wait a day for the coop to thoroughly dry out, just to be safe. If you don't follow up with some kind of mite treatment, likely you'll just have more mites in a week or two, since you can't steam clean chickens!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 5:27PM
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Velvet,your website is really helpful and well done! I used dry-kill powder for the coop and the roosts ect...and the powder for them was a product that is completely non toxic but effectively kills mites,fleas ect on all animals from kittens to horses. It was expensive and I used the whole container on the 10 days I'll use something else for sevin. I hope my co-op carries it. anyways today everything looks good still...fingers crossed,and I'll do the follw up treatment 10 days after the day I did it right? For the bin of shavings I have I put the dri-kill in there as well..just to kill off whatever little buggers were hiding in there too. Is that ok? thanks velvet

    Bookmark   October 8, 2007 at 9:27AM
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We too have a major infestation of mites in our chicken barn. We did not clue in early enough and sadly have lost two beautiful brahmas, a rooster and his beautiful lady, who my daughter showed provincially. We are very sad and scared for the rest of the residents of the barn. We have done the first treatment of Eprinex for all the residents and have dusted everyone with diatomaceous earth and the runs as well as their perches. Unfortunately we cannot get any of the other recommended sprays at either of our farm stores to do the cracks and crevices in the barn but I think I may be able to get sevin powder and will check later this aft. Will also use the heat gun (paint stripper thing) later this afternoon. We are still finding a few mites on the other birds but they remain healthy and busy and eating well. We have had birds in that barn for 10-12 years and have never seen mites before. There were millions (not kidding!) on the little rooster when we realized why he was ill. If you have any other suggestions we both would really appreciate hearing from you. Thanks and blessings...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 11:22AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I've seen the Adams Flea And Tick Mist at grocery stores, Target, pet stores, etc. It's made for cats & dogs and is fairly common here in the states...but when you said you had trouble getting stuff like that I knew before I even clicked on your profile that it would say 'Canada'. :( Do your birds have access to dry dirt or sand to dust bathe in? I know it's tough this time of year to keep someplace dry enough for them to dust bathe...

Sorry you lost your birds, it is AMAZING how swiftly mites can overtake a bird who might be weakened just a bit by something.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 4:58AM
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It's so true all birds love to dust bathe. I drop two big shovels full of dirt in three different places around their yard and mix a couple handful of Seven dust in each and mix well. Perfect recipe for those little buggers. Then the birds can bathe all they want. Every spring and fall I strip down their coop and start over with everything clean and dusted. I've also seen the smaller wild birds dusting themselves!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 6:49AM
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VELVET said, 'I've noticed that a lot of time, mites and worms can go hand in hand.' ...and I didn't even know that worms had hands! Dang, ya learn something new every day on the GW.

As a reminder if you do dust and worm at the same time, discard the eggs for two weeks to avoid ingesting the wormer. A good schedule is to dust and worm about evey six months, I do mine in June and December every year.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 3:59PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

OK, Missy Smarty Pants! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   April 9, 2010 at 5:56AM
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Ever try Diatomaceous Earth [DE]??? Clean everything (at least empty)and start over fresh and dust the area with DE, add some to the sand/dust bath, and about 2% to the feed.If infested real bad, mix some lyme dip and mist everything down. You can dunk the chickens in it also, but it's a little hard to cover everything. Also, if infested real bad, they may be too weak to handle the sulpher experience.

The DE should take care of things over a short time though.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 6:47PM
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