infestation of mites and maybe lice....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickquestions, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. chickquestions

    chickquestions New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Dec 1, 2015
    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.
     
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    A lot will depend on what you are comfortable doing...

    There are those that will use pesticides and those that will not, those that condemn this or that and those that don't...

    With that said, I can tell you want works for me, it might not be what you want to do and others will do it differently and disagree, but again it's what I do and what works for me...

    As a preventative measure I have 'No Pest Strips' hanging in the coop at all times and they are changed out every 3-4 months... Depending on coop size you might need to cut one down or use more than one...

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hot-Shot-Kills-Flying-Crawling-Insects-No-Pest-Strip-2-2.29-Oz/12166874

    If I have an outbreak (rare unless I don't change out the strips) I will dust all my birds with Sevin dust, under the wings and on the back, I do this by hanging them upside down and dusting with the shaker, while fluffing some feathers... Some disagree with this method of application but again it works for me...

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/GardenTech-Sevin-5-Dust-Shaker-Bottle-3pk/21179262

    If you have an infestation, it might be advisable to clear everything out of the coop and clean away, I have never had to do this using my other methods but some people have resorted to this... The only thing I clean well if there is an outbreak is the nesting boxes, mine can easily be taken out, cleaned and disinfected, if they can't be taken out and disinfected easily it might pay to clean it out entirely, close one off at a time and put a small chunk of the 'No Pest Strip' in there overnight, about a 1" section of the strip cut off should suffice and allow you to do multiple boxes at once with only one strip purchase... Let it air out for several hours before adding in new bedding and letting the birds use it again...

    Another option would be to get some permethrins or pyrethrins based insect spray and when the chickens are out for the day, spray it inside the coop, and let air out before the birds return...

    A small amount of DE in the nesting boxes, in the sand and in any cracks and crevices might also help as a future preventative...
     
  3. chickquestions

    chickquestions New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Dec 1, 2015
    Hi Meep Beep,
    I am assuming that none of these things hurt the chickens, right? The Sevin Dust, will this help with the infestation some of them have on their backs? Would you get rid of the nests of the swallows? The barn is old and leaks,though in the chicken area, it is mostly dry but the smell of ammonia worries me too. I'll for sure get these things tomorrow. Thank you for your help.
     
  4. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps


    They are pesticides, there is always a risk when using them so I can't and won't claim they are harmless as very few things are truly harmless... But, on that I personally believe that the level of risk is acceptable and minimal to have a mite free coop... For those against pesticides I'm sure their opinions will differ

    When dusting down the birds with Sevin, do it outdoors as the dust is a lung irritant to both you and the birds... Also if you do it as I do when hanging the bird upside down by the legs, don't linger around as the birds do have a harder time breathing when hung upside down, a few minutes isn't going to kill them but it can stress them if you dilly-dally around... I also wear a dust mask when I have done it as I have over 100 birds and a lot of dust gets on me...

    It will kill the mites dead, it's a dust bath with a little pesticide added and should rid the bird of any mites in short...

    Personally no because I like barn swallows as they keep the bug population down... They will also return to the same location and will use that same nest generation after generation so unlike many birds that nest is a true home to the family... I also allow the bats to populate the barn loft for the same reasons...

    If you can smell ammonia you have a little problem and you need to correct it ASAP as the 'danger' level of ammonia for lung health in poultry is at the same level you can smell... So if you can smell it, it's too high...

    If the litter is getting wet that is likely a big contributor and you should consider addressing how to keep the water out of the litter area... If the chicken area isn't all that big you might be able to setup one of those tarp based temporary car ports or a party tent to divert the water away from the litter... I have a few of the car ports in my barn loft to keep the bat poop off stuff... Or even a blue tarp that funnels any leaking water away to a bucket or barrel or what not...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by