Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chicken Mites the not so glamorous side of chicken care.

Ok Folks-- just warning you in advance- this is not a post for those wanting to see chickens frolicking in beds of clover, or chickens basking and napping in the sun in the shape of a heart.
Ok Just one.


Now it's time to be a grown up adult who is a responsible chicken keeper.

It's time to check your chickens for mites, ticks, worms.

There are several different types of mites/lice, but the most common ones have tell tale signs that are easily visible by inspecting the bird.

So lets all buck up and take a look at some good ol' chicken mite infestations.

Chicken with mites infestation on comb


Chicken feet with excessive 'crusty' looking scales are a sign of mites.


This is a close up of the chicken lice/mite eggs-- it looks like pretty gross.



These are the atrocious offenders in all their nasty glory. 


Feather mites leave behind what looks like mold on chicken feathers.



I won't post a picture here because honestly-- it's too gross.

But the big and most important place to check it the chicken's vent... *butt* this is where the mites will be most obvious since it's where the ticks and mites seem to thrive. 

I dusted my girls buts just this afternoon with an old salt shaker full of diatomaceous earth.  I got quite a work out chasing down chickens and sprinkling powder on em.


I personally like to treat minor infestations with Food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) which has less than 5% silicon. . This is a must have for any chicken coop. Dusted directly onto the chicken it will kill mites, ticks, and other nasty critters.

It's a bit hard to find Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth.
D&B Supply sells 50lb Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) for $31.99, which should last you about a year.



I also keep the ticks away and the smell of chicken poo to a minimum by dusting areas inside the coop, roost areas, and dust bath areas.


If you find that your chickens have a particularly nasty infestation nothing works better than good ol' Dawn dish liquid and Neosporin, followed up with regular a regular daily dusting of diatomaceous earth.

Then I came inside and washed my hands---- then I took a shower .... twice.

You chickens will love you for caring for them-- and honestly it's a easy measure for the gorgeous and delicious eggs, pest control and entertainment we receive.




How can you tell the difference between mites and lice?
Table 1. Comparison chart to distinguish between lice and mites.
Lice Mites
Size 2-3 millimeters long 1 millimeter diameter (ground pepper)
Speed Fast-moving Slow-moving
Color Straw-colored (light brown) Dark reddish black
Egg location Base of feather shaft Along feather shaft
Egg color White White or off-white
Best detection time Daytime Nighttime or Daytime
Location Lives only on host Lives on host and in environment



If your flock does have a serious infestation download this pdf guide here on how to treat your flock.
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