Grey dust in coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by albodean, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. albodean

    albodean Chirping

    Sep 27, 2016
    Hi All,

    I do a full clean on my coop every week as well as shovelling poo out every other day.

    When I do a full clean, which includes getting rid of all the bedding, there is always grey dust on the litter trays. I have read that this could be a sign of red mite, but also that red mite usually aren't around in the colder months. I live in the U.K. so it is quite cold at the moment.

    Does this definitely indicate that I will have a red mite infestation or could it be something else?

    The chickens aren't showing any signs of distress, their combs are still very red and they have no problem going into their coop every night.



  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging 8 Years

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Do you have the ability to get a closeup photo of this "dust"?

    The first thing that comes to mind, especially this time of year in the northern hemisphere, is molting dander. I have it everywhere the chickens congregate. This stuff gets shed as new feathers are growing in, and it's thick on the poop boards under the roosts, it's all along the edges of the run behind the feed sacks my chickens lounge on during the day, it's all over the place.

    I've never heard of red mites shedding a grey dust. But if you have them, you should be able to see them crawling on the perches and up the legs of your chickens once it gets dark. Go out and shine a torch on the perches and see.

    But my money is on the dust being dander.
  3. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Free Ranging 5 Years

    Jun 23, 2013
    The Big Island/Hawaii
  4. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Songster

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    Is the dust just on the litter trays? I have dust all over the coops constantly which is a mix of dander and dirt they've had from dust bathing. I'm constantly brushing it off the walls and windows. I would think that is the same problem you're having. I don't believe it is from mites.

  5. albodean

    albodean Chirping

    Sep 27, 2016
    Thanks for the replies [​IMG]

    They are only 6 months old so I don't think it would be due to molting yet?

    I've only really noticed it on the litter trays/boards when I clean the coop out.

    I tried to get a picture this morning when I was cleaning it but there wasn't enough to get a decent photo. It basically just looks like fine grey ash.

    Thanks again for the replies! - this is the article I read about grey dust possibly being a sign of redmite.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    got chickens=got dust.
    It can be from several sources....dander, bedding, pulverized poops.
    But if you're cleaning that often and thoroughly....might not be any of those.

    I imagine the 'dust' from mites would be their feces.
    Examine your birds and roosts well after dark to look for red mite activity.

    During the day look for cracks and crevices and open them up to see if anything ins in there as suggested in the article you linked.
    "You will often find a grey ash like deposit around perch ends which is where the mites have been and if you lift the perch, you will see clumps of mites."

    ETA: Just had another thought about the origin of the dust.......bird may have carried it inside from dust bathing.
    I would not treat unless I found live bugs, so as to reduce risk of creating resistance to insecticide as well as unnecessary exposure for all involved.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging 6 Years

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Wear a N95 dust mask in that stuff!!! I clean out my coop two or three times per year, with deep bedding, and MIGHT take a swipe at the cobwebs occasionally. It's not the living room! Sorry, chickens are dusty, and so will the coop be most of the time. Too much cleaning out might just be raising more dust; that's how it sounds to me. Mary

  8. albodean

    albodean Chirping

    Sep 27, 2016
    Went out this evening to check for mites and saw absolutely nothing, so I assume it is just a combination of all of your suggestions above! Thanks all for the advice
  9. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Songster

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    We do a complete clean-out twice a year and need to wear dust masks since it's so dusty!
    I believe most of it comes from their dust bath which is a mixture of wood ash and peat moss. I've seen them dust bath then come into the coop and shake-off creating a cloud of dust.

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