Can you give your chickens a preventative mite dust bath?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MAchicken105, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. MAchicken105

    MAchicken105 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I was curious, can you regularly give your flock a dust bath just as a preventative? If so, which products would you recommend and how often should you administer? Not sure if this is a good idea or not, but I give my dogs a monthly frontline treatment to prevent ticks and fleas so logically I'm thinking I could do the same for my chickens? Good idea or bad idea? Thanks! :)
     
  2. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens dust bath in dirt.With nice dry dirt,rhey usually dig in it and do thwir own thing.Ashes also are good.There are a few things I like to put in thw dusting spots. Like diatamcious earth Grade A. I spread that all over the coop,even the roosts,nestboxes and even cracks.That is my treatment.I use goggles and gloves,and a mask should be used,not good for the lungs.

    When mt chickens begin going up things get dusty,so I have a window,and leave the large coop door opened so things dust and air out and things arent so bad.
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Providing a good dust bath area is important to control external parasites.

    I don't see a problem with giving birds a routine dusting with a good pyrethrin based poultry dust or spray, 2-4 times a year should be sufficient unless you are having a problem.

    I do dust my bantam hens when they are brooding eggs yearly as parasites can get out of control because they aren't dust bathing as much.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    IMO, dusting for mites or lice when there are no mites or lice around is like taking an antibiotic so you don't get pneumonia. Those Frontline products are systemic. There are systemic miticides that can be used off label for chickens, but I would never choose to treat with anything unless there is actually a problem to treat. By treating when there is not an actual problem, you may be breeding a super bug that is resistant to any product you might actually NEED in the future. However, you can apply some permethrin powder, or even a bit of DE in the coop before putting the bedding down. I dust around the perimeter of my coop before laying new bedding, and wipe down the ends of the roosts, especially getting some in the crack where roost meets the wall. An other favorite spot for mites to hang out is the nest box. A very light dusting under a deep layer of bedding can be helpful.

    IMO, deep composting litter in the coop and run will go a long way to eliminating mite issues. You can also use aromatic herbs in the nest boxes and in the coop/run: Lemon balm, Citronella, Oregano, Mint, Bee Balm, Garlic scapes/leaves.

    Give your flock plenty of dust bathing opportunities and they will eradicate any stray parasites before you ever have a problem worth treating.
     
  5. MAchicken105

    MAchicken105 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That makes a lot of sense, glad I asked. I was planning on doing DE under coop bedding and around coop, in run and in their dust bath area (we are building a sandbox) but seems like many people on here say it's pretty useless so I was torn. I'm guessing it won't hurt to do it anyways. The thought of mites just really freak me out and I was hoping to do as much to prevent them as possible.

    I'm very interested in the deep composting in the run, as a deterrent - didn't think this would be helpful. I'm curious how that would deter mites? Wouldn't extra waste, food scraps etc attract "bugs" even when churned up once in a while? I was planing on cleaning out my run and coop every few weeks to deter mites but you're saying compositing inside would be more helpful if definitely do that instead.

    My run is 10x12 I'll have 6 chickens in it, if that info helps. I'd also do the deep litter method in in the coop if that is also a deterrent. My coop is board and batten hand made, and I plan on caulking the inside tiny cracks and painting the inside(non toxic paint). I'm leaving the outside "natural" with a clear waterproof sealant on the outside. Hoping this will help deter mites as well.

    On a sepreate issue would you guys mind taking a look at my coop ventilation and give me some advice? There is a large vent in the front of the coop and I'm concerned it's too low. I don't want the chickens to get a draft in the cold New England Winters. There are 2 windows on one side that I'd close during winter time. So my questions are is this enough ventilation and is it properly placed? If not, how could I fix it? I was thinking putting some holes in the roof overhang...anyways here are some pics. Tell me what you guys think. And sorry for the laundry list of questions and topic jumping.
     
  6. MAchicken105

    MAchicken105 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  7. MAchicken105

    MAchicken105 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. MAchicken105

    MAchicken105 Chillin' With My Peeps

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  9. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    I'm basically gonna agree with Lazy Gardener. With the exception... I think DE is harmful to breath for the chickens, humans and any other animals. I MIGHT consider putting it under bedding around my coop but I will NEVER put it in my dirt baths. Plus it has questionable effectiveness is you do have an actual problem.

    Also, the parasites you encounter may vary depending on your area and climate. And may even change seasonally.

    Permethrin is the synthetic version of the Pyrethrin that's mentioned. I use them as needed but have seen studies showing that mites and such can ALSO develop a resistance to that product.

    Frontline worked really well when I needed to use for my dogs. But if you don't have a heavy infestation, you might consider not treating as often. I only had to use it when my mom would visit usually once with plenty of vacuuming and laundering bedding before any stray eggs might hatch. On the other hand... you might consider trying to treat with the permethrin spray instead, as it also works for (about 35 days) fleas and ticks, mosquitoes and more... And MUCH cheaper than the frontline... well, I have 3 full size dogs to treat. Still 1 month is $45 verses more than a year worth of treatment with permethrin for probably $7.

    Main problem I see with your venting is that it's too low. Should be closer to the peak. Your plan for holes in the roof overhang is probably good. If you do more than half inch, cover with hardware cloth.

    Best wishes!
     
  10. Stephine

    Stephine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Deep litter works to fight mites because there are organisms growing in it that keep them in check. A clean environment is not necessarily a healthy environment because you disturb a natural balance which often gives the "bad guys " the upper hand. You want a well balanced ecosystem in your run.
    If you want a preventative I wouldn't go with DE because it is bad for their lungs (and yours!), but wood ash in their dustbath bin and a little bit of elemental sulfur.
    There is also an enzyme spray called Poultry Protect that you can spray on your birds if you want to work each one over. My hens aren't too keen on being handled so I spare them that exercise.
    But you can also spray it on the roost and in the nest boxes and all the nooks and crannies in the coop.
     

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