How to dust for mites?


Mar 12, 2019
North Carolina
I was cleaning the coop yesterday and found mites and nits on my poor Silkie pullet’s head. I have diatomaceous earth to use for dusting, but I don’t know where to dust. I know it can cause respiratory issues so I want to be safe. I don’t see many mites on any of my other birds; I think it must have come home with Gypsie (the pullet). They are all on/near her head and she stays by herself a lot; I noticed it while trimming the feathers around her eyes. Also, there are nits all around her earlobes, and I’m not sure how to get them off.
We read about white vinegar, as well..?
Thanks in advance :(


Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
central Wisconsin
DE does nothing. Get either a poultry dust or spray. If they have lice you generally need to help them remove the egg clusters in my experiences.

I would dust or spray them, I personally prefer the dust, than a week later do it again and see if you can remove the nits with your fingers. Dust them weekly for 3-4 weeks to break the life cycle.

Silkies are notorious for external parasites so plan on dusting or spraying as needed or on a schedule.


Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
My Coop
My Coop
Try over the counter lice shampoo for people. If you want to bathe your birds, every over-the-counter (OTC) treatment for head lice contains either pyrethrins (Rid or Triple X) or permethrin (Nix). They are effective treatment. Both only kill live pests, not the pests eggs. You can also spray the birds with permethrin. If you do use permethrin dust, wear a dust mask. I put the dust in the nest boxes. If it's cold out it may not be wise to spray the birds. Get under the wings and around the vent area good. It usually takes more than one treatment about a week apart because it does not kill the mite eggs. I sprayed inside of the coops, every crack and crevice, on and under the roosts, ceiling, walls, floors, anywhere the mites can hide. The bonus is there is no egg withdrawal period. Last year I had a severe infestation and thought the birds were molting but when they didn't seem to be getting their feathers back I investigated further and found they were covered with mites. ASAP I sprayed the inside of their coop thoroughly. I sprayed the birds and some gave baths too. It helped but I used flea shampoo so it didn't get rid of them all but helped. If I ever need to bathe them again I will use the OTC shampoos. I use a gallon sprayer I have several coops. Since recently I had a a couple of birds in a coop that had a few on them I'm again on my weekly spraying regimen and I will be sorting birds out to put in the breeding coops and pens and if there are any pests I don't want to introduce them from one coop to another.
I have tried a lot of different things including DE and the birds still had the mites then I tried the permethrin. It works. It may take a few days but you should notice an improvement. If you have a TSC they carry the permethrin dust, the premixed spray bottles and the concentrate. Good luck...
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