Feather Mites or Feather Pickers

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by mamazoucha, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. mamazoucha

    mamazoucha New Egg

    Nov 29, 2015
    Geneva, Fl
    I am relatively new to having Chickens and I wanted to post out here to see what feedback I get on a little potential henhouse issue. I noticed some of my ladies had some "chewed" up feathers. Could this be feather mites or lice? Could this be some nutritional deficit? Or could this be from feather peckers? I have one hen who seems exceptionally interested in eating feathers at the moment. However, she seems to be the one with the most damage to her feathers as well. Here are a few pictures.[​IMG]






  2. rIrs roost

    rIrs roost Sir Crows A lot

    Aug 20, 2015
    Rockingham NC
  3. chicklover 1998

    chicklover 1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2015
    I don't much about mites(what they look like or what their damage looks like) but that looks like my girls feathers back when I had a feather picker pin less peepers work great to keep that down, however if it is mites I can't be much of a help.
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    IMO it could be feather mites, I didn't think they were common here in the US.

    The white dots down the shaft on one of the pics looks typical - if those are mites, you should be able to scrape a few off and make sure. The raggedy feathers are also typical.

    I have never treated mites, but do know they are more difficult to eradicate than lice. Thought my flock had some once and University folks reported many are resistant to mitocides - But whatever you select to use, you would need to treat all in the flock and repeat treatment at a week or so later and investigate the question of egg withdrawal times. And plan to spray the coop and run areas.

    Likely someone with treatment recommendations will post here, but if not then consider calling your Agriculture Agent for specific advice.
  5. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens


    Feather mites i think are a seperate pest the correct common name of the pest that I feel we are discussing is de-pluming mites. These mites are microscopic and result in the bird pulling its own plumage out because of the discomfort they produce. At least in advanced cases there is normally reding of the skin that accompanies de-pluming mite infestations.


    Here is the scientific name.
    Knemidokoptes gallinae

    This mite is a burrowing mite and that makes it related to the scaly leg mite and i hope that you'll know how small or hard to see scaly leg mites are.

    I suspect quite often that the rooster bears the blame for the damage done by De-pluming mites.

    If you wish to do a visual check for de-pluming mites then you may need an electron microscope. I suspect that they are about as big as the dust mites in our beds, or the eyelash mites living in your eyes or mine.

    I also feel that de-pluming mites are much like the mite that causes mange in dogs.

    If you study the above photo it looks to me like the poor hen in the picture has been pulling on the ends of her tail feathers but that there is little or no damage to her plumage in areas that she can't reach with her own bill.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  6. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master Premium Member Project Manager

    Jan 10, 2013
    Do you think they are the same? I'm not sure. And I think you could see them with a regular 100x scope and not an EM?

    Depluming live inside the shafts and cause intense itching and irritation of the skin. The few sites with feather mites show the mites visible along the quill center of feathers and don't mention the skin irritation?

    Regardless if mites, they are all treated the same way.
    1 person likes this.
  7. harmesonfarm

    harmesonfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2015
    Nanaimo, BC

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by