I recently got some 8 week old chicks silkie chicks shipped to me. They were healthy except one problem. They came full of mites! I decided to do some research of my own on these pests and I'd like to share with you what I've learned. Pictured above is the mites that came off my birds photo is taken through a high powered microscope. If you notice in the picture mites have 8 legs you might have to look closely you will see four legs on each side. This is different than lice which have only six legs. In the photos you can see their pitchers which they bite the birds with. The northern foul mite spends it's entire life cycle on the bird. Laying it's eggs at the base of the feather shaft.you can see a example of this in the above photos. The feathers tend to have a grayish or darkened appearance to them when mites are present. Mites are smaller than a pepper flake and at times difficult to see. But you will likely notice the egg sacks and darkened appearance of the base of the feathers when present.
Their are four stages to the life cycle of the mite. They stages are egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The complete life cycle from egg to egg laying female can be a fast as five to seven days! So you see how they can populate very quickly.female mites complete the egg laying process in two days after taking a blood meal from the host. A bird is capable of supporting up to 20,000 mites in just nine weeks after infestations. Did you know mites can remove up to 6% of blood volume a day on the host bird. As you can imagine this can cause severe anemia in the bird even death. What to do if you have mites.? There are several treatment options avaible. You can talk to your vet about prescribing ivermectin which has been successful. You can also use seven dust or poultry powder. You will need to clean out all bedding and house and retreat until the mites are gone. Some use poultry protector, and pyrethrum. Which ever choice you choose it is important to make sure all the mites are gone. Birds should be checked regularly for mites and lice. If you notice them treat immediately. Do not let the infestation get out of control. Mites can do serious harm to your flock and even cause death.some use sprays and powders as prevention. Its a good idea to check your birds often to make sure they are pest free. I hope this article was helpful and thank you for reading.