I knew some of my chickens were losing feathers on their backs and I talked with some people who said they must be molting. I thought this was normal. Now I know it's not normal.... I came home to a dead chicken tonight and didn't know the cause... I started looking up mites as my brother, who does not have chickens thought it might be mites. I can't tell you the exact specimen, whether it's red mites or what have you, but I need to do something quick. I have sand on the concrete and turn it over once a week, but have started noticing the smell of ammonia as well. This spring there have also been a multitude of swallows throughout the whole barn which we didn't have last year and their nests are everywhere in the barn and I have to duck sometimes when I go into the barn to feed the chickens. The production has been fluctuating from 12 to 17 eggs per day, we now have 20 chickens left. Can someone tell me what are my steps to rid the mites and should I change from sand to this deep litter with pine shavings? and should I get this ivermectin? and DE and what is "dusting your chickens"? I am new to this and need some assistance. Thank you.