Friends, fellow BYCers, and countrymen, lend me your ears! PLEASE ADVISE on chicken mite infestation

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chickiyo, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. chickiyo

    chickiyo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 21, 2010
    Hello everybody!

    Today I came back home from college for my week long Thanksgiving break after being away for 3 months. I was shocked to see how much my flock of four hens had changed since I was gone. They had lost a lot of weight, a lot of feathers, egg production was down, and they just generally looked quite more lethargic. My Rhode Island Red was especially bad she had lost a lot of weight and was walking funny with high steps (any input on this? I think she has leg mites or something).

    One google search was all I needed to find that they were probably suffering from chicken mites. Naturally I was incredibly upset over their condition and cross examined my family as to what had been going on. Turns out that while the coop had been cleaned once a week, but they forgot to sprinkle the DE used to keep away mites in the coops. So that hadn't been used in the 3 months since I was gone, so I believe I am dealing with an infestation. I can't see the mites on the skin, but I am not a pro at locating them either and I believe these are the nocturnal kind.

    I have one week to do the best I can to take the edge off of the infestation and to treat the chickens. Today I went out and got pet shampoo which aids skin conditions and relieves itching. I also go Manna Pro Poultry Protector, which is a spray used to protect chickens from fleas mites and ticks. I sprayed the heck out of each chicken with the spray and tomorrow I plan to give them all baths. Has anyone used this poulry protector? Its all-natural/non toxic so its safe for liberal use, I don't want to use harsh chemicals unless this stuff doesnt work or if its absolutely necessary.

    One of my chickens, my RIR has had the worst time of it, she has lost a lot of weight and is very lethargic which is quite unlike her. When I sprayed her she shed a lot of dandruff, and chicken feathers. She has been walking funny, with high steps, for the last couple of days so I think it is leg mites or something. What do you think?

    I'm just about to go out and deep clean the coop. What else do you guys think I should do? How long before the mites are gone and the chickens can get better? Should I feed them any supplements to help out their weakened immune system?


    Please PLEASE give me some advice, even if it is simple and short! I literally have a week to make things right and I could use any advice I can get!
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    I just wrote a post on this, here.

    I routinely sprinkle Sevin 5% garden dust (the other 95% is DE) in a couple of spots in the coop and in the nests, very lightl, and only a few times a ear. I have never seen lice or mites. I'm not silly enough to think they have never had any, but apparently they have never had enough that I could find them. Frankly, your first problem is trying to prevent them with DE, IMO, as it has so little effect that they were able to build up despite it. In my coop there are usually a few months between dustings. Please get some flea and tick spray, poultry dust made with permethrin or pyrethrin, Spinosad -- something that will kill them. Your having a week is a problem because the birds and coop need to be retreated 10 days after the first treatment, as the eggs will not be killed ad will have hatched by then.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2013
  3. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2013
    With your RIR leg mites, clean legs in warm water, gently with a toothbrush to loosen raised scales- these scales will often be dried and stiff/ discolored. Very different from healthy leg skin. Treat with dipping in mineral oil, or rubbing on vaseline to hocks, where feathers start. I've "floured" a bird's leg's afterward with DE inside a large sized, discarded Lawry's garlic salt bottle (well cleaned). They have white "boots" for awhile, but the sticky vasoline or oil doesn't get all over their feathers and they walk more comfortably while being treated. If you have a very flighty RIR, you can try mixing mineral oil/ water in a spray bottle with a fine mist. (Those that work for oiling salads work well.)

    If you do the one chicken, you really should do all of your birds as a preventative, as leg mites are very contagious. Also, wash their roost with a small amount DE and water, then sprinkle some on the roost when dry. Best of luck!
     
  4. chickiyo

    chickiyo Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 21, 2010
    Thanks so much for the advice!

    So I cleared out the hen house and sprayed it with some mite preventative nontoxic spray and then rubbed it down with DE. I gave all four birds a good bath with tea tree oil soap to help moisture and relieve any itchiness because of the mites. I sprayed all of their their legs with a leg mite spray and then rubbed in Neosporin. My RIR has been walking better.

    I plan on spraying their legs and rubbing in neosporin everyday for the next week. After the first week I plan to spray their legs once a week. How does that sound?

    I know a lot of people recommend sevin but I just dont feel comfortable using such harsh chemicals on the birds. So far they look a lot more comfortable with the non toxic treatment I am giving them
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  6. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Not sure if treating one day a week is enough, but it might just be perfectly fine. Might depend on how severe the damage has already been done...you'll have to judge. But I think you did a good job by them, and they are going in a good direction...they are walking better already, so they are beginning to feel better.

    When we first purchased our OEGB roo, we just didn't realize the first few days that he had leg mites. However, once we realized it, we considered the damage fairly bad (his poor legs seemed crusty and stiff, some feet scales raised, feeling somewhat like a tree branch), so, we dipped him daily in mineral oil, rubbed it in, then dusted in DE, and did this for about a month, straight.

    By this time, we started to see the yuck quickly slough off in small yellowish chunks, and knew, he was improving daily. We tried the mineral oil alone first, but, it was oily and messy on his feathers, and he walked awkwardly. He walked so much better when we floured him afterward.

    We still treat him occasionally- just as a preventative. Daily was probably overkill, so, I'm not suggesting that you should necessarily treat as aggressively like we did... but, our boy did heal quickly. We had just felt the poor roo needed aggressive intervention. We have a sunbathing area with DE available to all of our birds, and clean the roosts with DE, and thankfully, none of our other birds ever caught it. We examine their legs at least once a week.

    Sounds like your girls will be better in no time at all!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013

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