post #11 of 11
Hi Pokema,
Some of the symptoms you're describing your chickens are just normal seasonal changes. The reason the feathers look terrible and the combs are pale is because they are molting. During this time their feathers fall out either very gradually or in some birds more dramatically and are replaced by new feathers. When they are molting their combs get very pale and shriveled looking and they do not like to be picked up because it is painful for them due to the quills sticking out all over the place. They probably also feel cranky – – this must all be brought on by hormonal changes in the bird so I think us ladies can relate to that – – LOL! :-) In addition they also stop laying, and aside from maybe the occasional egg, won't start again until early spring, unless you have special grow lights on them. They start laying in response to the days getting longer.
I had great success with CimeXa dust (non-toxic-- works by drying), doing tons of laundry, showering before bed (wash hair well!), and change clothes after handling birds, putting clothes in wash or at least in hot dryer for 25 minutes. I also put all bedding in hot dryer every morning. Puff CimeXadust all around under furniture, under couch cushions, (Buy a little bulb puffer) and you should be able to get it under control within a couple of weeks.
DE doesn't work on active infestations so don't waste your time. Got my supplies at www.doyourownpestcontrol.com they have more good suggestions for getting rid if bird mites there.
To get rid of the mites on the birds I used Garden Star poultry and garden dust. Two applications one week apart did the trick. Once the mite season starts up again in the spring I'm going to dust them occasionally just to keep it under control.

I should add, for anyone who thinks we Pokema and I are nutty and imagining this-- my daughter and I both were able to catch mites crawling on us in bed on pieces of scotch tape. We then photographed them through a magnifying glass and emailed the photos to an etymologist for identification. Positive ID-- Western Fowl Mite. This was after showering and getting into bed, so they were in our beds! Not everyone reacts to the bits, which is why the person who's not being bit sometimes starts thinking their family member is a hypochondriac. Same thing happens with bedbugs. Not everyone reacts to the bites-- or sometimes the mites just don't like to bite the other people. They love me and my kids, but not my husband. Too hairy, most likely!; )
Edited by Porch Chickens - 12/7/15 at 5:15pm