Can straw be a source of mites?

mun5

Chirping
Mar 24, 2017
20
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I've been thinking of trying deep litter, but I just read some comments on another thread that straw might be an avenue for a mite infestation. Does anyone know if that is true?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,276
23,508
907
Southeast Louisiana
I've been thinking of trying deep litter, but I just read some comments on another thread that straw might be an avenue for a mite infestation. Does anyone know if that is true?
No, straw is not an avenue for mite infestation. You are not going to bring mites into your flock by bringing in straw from a store.

The type of mites you are talking about are roost mites. The hide during the day and feast on the birds at night. To check for these you need to check at night. They are attracted to the vent area especially because of the moisture. They run from light so you need to check fairly fast with a flashlight. You'll often seeing them run away when you hit them with a flashlight.

During daylight these mites hide from the light. They may hide in cracks in your roosts, nests, or coop walls. They may hide in bedding of many kinds, including straw. It's really hard to control them by painting wood to close up cracks or anything else without using pesticides once they show up. You are welcome to try but it'd still a good idea to check for roost mites every now and then anyway.
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Premium Feather Member
Jul 31, 2018
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I've been thinking of trying deep litter, but I just read some comments on another thread that straw might be an avenue for a mite infestation. Does anyone know if that is true?
It is true. Straw and in particular hay in certain conditiions harbour straw itch mite. Most people with farming experience and keepers of livestock are aware of straw itch mite. It's just not a well undrstod issue in backyard chicken keeping. There are many articles about this mite and on some Spanish and European sites the problem is discussed with regard to chickens.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/straw-itch-mite.75561/
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Sep 22, 2012
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I've been thinking of trying deep litter, but I just read some comments on another thread that straw might be an avenue for a mite infestation. Does anyone know if that is true?
It is. The hollow stems provide good housing for them and in case you buy old bales that were stacked in someones barn/shed for longer, often fleas and other parasites left by cats, mice, rats, possums and other critters, reside comfortably in straw as well.

Hay will often carry spores of fungus/mold that will start to grow the instant the hay gets humid or wet.

Ever since I stopped using straw in my coops the previous parasite problem vanished.
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
5 Years
Apr 13, 2016
3,127
5,145
411
North-Central IL
I got a bale from a farmer friend this fall because I got a puppy and wanted something to put in his doghouse. The inside of the plastic kennel I was using first before I got his dogloo was absolutely teeming with tiny bugs the first time I went to clean it, so I'm pretty sure this straw does indeed have mites. I just spray the walls with permethrin now and dust the straw and base when I add any and it seems to be working out fine. I'm not sure if that kind of mite is bothersome to poultry? I never use straw or hay with my birds, so I'm not that concerned about it. I've kept it in a contractor size garbage bag in my shop this whole time and don't seem to see any bugs migrating out of it so :idunno
 

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