Getting Rid of Mites

By tadpole98 · Jun 6, 2013 · Updated Jun 6, 2013 · ·
  1. tadpole98
    Mites are probably one of the hardest pests to get rid of. If you are determined enough, its possible to completely exterminate all mites and even lice around your coop and on your birds. This year is the first year I have had them this bad. If you touch anything, ANYTHING, you will have mites crawling all over you. I have decided to put an end to it, especially since one of my girls died from an over infestation of mites.

    Q: How do I know they have mites?
    A: Very simple, check around their eyes, vent, back, anywhere. These will be very tiny, so look closely.
    They might also have feather loss, upturned scales (On legs), or even a drop in egg production.

    Q: What's the first thing I should do once I see I have mites?
    A: The first thing I did was I researched what do to. I found that:

    • Birds are major carriers of mites. I had a birds nest in mine, so I immediately removed it. (luckily there were no babies or eggs in it!!)
    • Rabbits are also carriers.. I know, not a big problem for most people. But I have a rabbit who keeps having babies in the coop (what on earth?!) Every 60 days, like a clock. I still don't know what to do about them.
    • DE doesn't work worth a darn (personal experience also)
    • Straw is the prefect place for mites to hid in. Switch to shavings.
    • Nest boxes, roosts, anywhere the chickens commonly are they will be.
    There are a majority of other things too, but the list would go on forever.

    When I was doing this I promised myself I would never go and use chemicals. That means: No 7Dust, no premises spray, ect. I'm doing this all natural.

    Before we were using straw as bedding, we have switched. We also didn't clean the coop out very often because straw is a killer to clean out. Now we clean out the shavings every three weeks. Boy, what a difference, its so much easier to clean! We have a concrete floor in our coop, so we will be installing a drain in soon, so we can wash the coop out.

    We have metal nest boxes with nest box liners, instead of wooden with shavings. This really helps the cleanliness. We have been washing out the nest boxes and liners every three weeks, when we clean coops out. This means taking out the boxes, and washing down with hose and a good scrub. Let dry out, hang back up. Put DE in the bottom of the nest boxes, a very thick layer, and put liners back in.

    Since roosts are another big "Hang out" for mites, we wash those down with a hose, give a good scrubbing, and let dry. (Yes, I have wooden roosts)

    What about the actual chickens?
    I have been using DE for a long time now, and it has done no good at all. We were noticing though, that when my dad goes down to the coop, he didn't get mites. Whereas we did. Why? Garlic! He loves the stuff. We did some googling and turns out something in garlic turns away the mites/lice.
    So today we went out and got big bags of garlic we are going to juice. (If you don't have a juicer, you can just make a tea. Pop them in boiling water and 10 minutes later, you have garlic tea!)
    You don't want to overwhelm their systems, so only give 10% garlic water. For every one cup of garlic make sure you have 9 cups of water. And, since garlic reeks, in my opinion, we also are adding some herbs. Maybe it will make them smell like pot roast? ONLY DO THIS ONCE A WEEK.

    Besides the regular clean outs, and garlic/herb water, we are going to make a garlic and tea tree oil spray. We have a sprayer, but you could use a spray bottle.

    Make your Garlic tea, or juice, and only dilute it with 5 cups instead of 9. Its okay if its strong for this. Put a little bit of tea tree oil in the bottle, shake it up, and spray it on walls, on nest boxes, anything where mites go. Spray where they dust, but just enough to get the smell. Once the chickens are no longer a host, they will go away.

    Anybody notice I didn't say put wood ash or DE in the nest spots? Besides the fact I don't think it works, it gives respiratory problems.

    Thank you for reading. Happy Mite Extermination!

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  1. ellend
    I have only 7 bantams, and have been battling mites for two years; cold here in spring and fall, bitter in winter, so difficult to clean the henhouse. Hot yesterday, so I bathed all the girls; best way to at least radically decrease mite numbers! One sink/bucket of baby-shampoo water, another for rinse. Every other bird, ad shampoo to the rinse water, and dump the the original shampoo bucket and make it the new rinse basin. It went quite quickly. Cleaning the henhouse--not so quickly, LOL!
  2. GardenDave
    I'm having a major mite problem at the moment. At first I thought they were just on the hens and in the coop, so I've dusted the hens and cleaned the coop twice in the last week. Today though I found that the mites are also in large numbers in the gaps where pieces of wood meet on the trellis fence to their enclosure. So far I've been doing it naturally, just scrubbing the coop inside and out, and squashing with my finger any that I can reach, and using gold label 'get rid' for the hens. I'm really hoping the mites on the fence are in just one or two spots as this would be much easier to see to, but I suspect the problem may be harder to get rid of than I am hoping :(
  3. ellend
    Hi again. FINALLY mite-free, although I hate to say that out loud... I finally caved and went to high-power chemicals. DE didn't do do-do. THREE drops of Ivomec pour-on for every (small) bantam, as two wasn't working. Also seven dust on the roost and in the sand. I did this EVERY 7 days for the entire winter and part of the spring until they stayed gone. I also switched to SAND in the coop, no organic materials in the nest box. Had to discard all their eggs, and I feel bad using this stuff on them, but a long miserable life isn't better than a potentially shortened, comfortable one. So far, so good. I did give them ashes in their outdoor dustbath hollows; they seem to like it better than without. I still check them at least weekly. Note; I never did have mites visible in the hutch or on the roost. Only on the birds' vents and abdomens.
  4. ellend
    Oh; forgot to say that ALONG WITH the Ivomec drops at the base of the skull (which caused some permanent feather loss) I ALSO dusted their vents and abdomens with Sevin, along with the roost and sand! And still, every time I took a break to see if they were gone, I had to resume...for MONTHS.
  5. GardenDave
    Good to hear you are now mite free. Unfortunately this is not the case for me. Although I am happy to tell you that my hens do not have mites, their coop and fence do. Yes, I have termites and LOTS of them. They arrived recently but they must be in the millions of numbers, behind every single peace of wood. The hens must have just been grossed out by them and decided to leave the coop, and rightly so. Here is a video I made about them. There is a second part also with an experiment which is a little boring but you might find interesting (if I'm allowed to post links on here).

    Just as a pointer in case you or anybody else ever gets termites, the gold label 'get rid' dust which as far as I can see is very similar to DE, seems to work at either killing termites or moving them elsewhere.

  6. ellend
    GardenDave: Sorry about the termites! The powder you used is the same as DE. It's a diatom. Worked on slugs in my garden, but didn't bother the Northern Fowl Mites in the least.
    Two types of mites: Northern Fowl Mites stay on the birds 24/7, Red mites hide in crevices during the day. Any time your hens try to camp outside of their safe coop, assume mites.
    Don't throw your "found" eggs away! Google "egg float test." You can tell how many days old an egg is, using only a glass of water. Eggs can be at summer room temperature for a couple of weeks and still be good, if they haven't been washed.
    Good luck!

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