Anyone used bio-controls for parasites?

gallorojo

Songster
10 Years
Oct 15, 2009
910
62
158
Southfarthing
Hello, I was wondering if anyone had ever tried releasing predatory mites to kill the mites and lice that chickens get. I work as a grower, and I understand how bio-controls work, and where to get them, etc. I know they work on plants, and many of the predatory mites are generalists, they will eat anything they can kill. Has anyone actually tried this? I can find some papers online indicating that research has been done on this, and there is certainly some potential there, it seems. Anyone able to add anything?
 

thebritt

Songster
10 Years
Mar 5, 2009
1,574
3
161
Humboldt County
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I sure would like to hear anything about this as well!
 

BoerneChickens

Songster
9 Years
Mar 3, 2010
260
13
119
Boerne, TX
I'm new to chickens (still waiting for my first chicks to arrive actually) but I have read that if you mix some Diotomacious Earth into an area that they use to dust themselves that it will kill mites and lice. Have you tried that? I am interested to know if it really works.
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chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
I don't think there are any predatory insects that prey on the lice or mites on chickens--I think the birds themselves would be the bio-control. DE, and even dust itself, does help dessicate them, but I would not rely on it to get rid of an active infestation. Healthy birds and a clean, dry coop are the best preventatives.
 

gallorojo

Songster
10 Years
Oct 15, 2009
910
62
158
Southfarthing
I have tried DE, ashes, etc, with limited success. I would rather NOT treat the laying hens with chemicals if possible. There is research out there showing that some predatory mites, such as Hypoaspis aculeifer WILL eat poultry mites. I know from my experience that these mites will eat thrips, so, why not lice as well? Just wondered if anybody else had trialed...I will do it regardless, as it won't hurt anything to try!!!
 

BoerneChickens

Songster
9 Years
Mar 3, 2010
260
13
119
Boerne, TX
Quote:
If you start with new chicks and a new coop do you think the DE in the dust bath will be effective to keep them from getting mites? I am hoping that if we take preventive measures (including clean, dry coops) from the start we may be able to avoid getting into an infestation problem. I have to get busy because I just got an email that my first batch of chicks is going to arrive next week!
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Time to start building the coop so they have a place to go by the time they are big enough
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chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
Sure, there are plenty of people here who have had chickens for years, and never had an infestation problem! Prevention is the best cure. You could build them a little "sandbox" to dust bathe in, and put in some DE. But it is always good to keep an eye out, and move FAST when you see a problem, as it can take them down quickly (often in conjunction with some other weakness). Good luck with the chickies, you will just love them!
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BoerneChickens

Songster
9 Years
Mar 3, 2010
260
13
119
Boerne, TX
Quote:
That is what I am doing - I set up a mini-raised garden but am going to fill it with something for them to use as a dust bath. Is sand and DE a good mix for that? That is what I wsa thinking but not sure if play sand is best or maybe other kind of dirt?
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
I like the idea of sand, as they can pick up grit for their gizzard there also. A sand with a range of particle sizes (some fines) would be best, though I'm sure dirt would work just fine if you can keep it dry. There is nothing cuter than a bunch of chickens dust-bathing together! Now I've talked myself into building them one....
 

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