Lessons learned in my battle with mites

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by SIMZ, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today I'm giving up my dream of ever having a mite-free flock of chickens. [​IMG]

    We've dabbled in this mite battle with Northern Fowl Mite for about two years, but fully engaged the battle about a year ago. I've gone through more cans of Sevin and Poultry dust than I care to calculate. I've put it in their numerous dust baths, along with wood ash. I've fed them Feather Fixer feed. I've bathed them, dusted them, and most recently sprayed them with Poultry Protector (don't even ask how much I've spent on that). I've cleaned and dusted the coop (or cleaned and sprayed with Permethrin concentrate spray). Yes, I've repeated all of these things - every few days for several times. Yes, even the nest boxes & under the roosts! Yes, I pull out every single chicken every two weeks to check and spray with poultry protector. I even pull the roosters and anyone that had even one mite out a few times a week to spray until I see none from a vent and wing check.

    And yet the mites are always there - always on at least one chicken. (No, I haven't put garlic in the water, used DE, or placed a gargoyle at the entrance of the coop, but that's about all I haven't tried.)

    Today I was doing a rooster check and was pleased that he only had a few mites around his vent. That's when I noticed that he had a huge mob of scabs & mites on his chest.....and his neck.....and even his leg.
    Apparently, my religious use of Poultry Protector has simply caused the mites to infest unsprayed areas of the chickens. [​IMG]

    Not one to give up easily, I pretty much drenched the guy in Poultry Protector. Then I decided to just give him a thorough bath using Dawn soap. I soaked and rinsed all the way up to the tip top of his neck, and this was not a quick bath....it was a good scrubbing, soaking bath. Then I started to dry him with the hair dryer and noticed a mite still crawling on him. I would have never noticed it if I hadn't been using my headlamp and carefully inspecting him. I sprayed every mite I saw for about the next 20 minutes......I found them crawling on his neck, the very top of his neck, under his wings, on his leg, on his wings again, and several on his back, even one trying to escape on his wattle. Once he was dry I thoroughly dusted him with Sevin - but I'm guessing the mites are still crawling.

    So, here are my conclusions:

    - Chickens have mites and mine are simply always going to have them.

    - Poultry Protector works if you don't have mites

    - "Good" chicken owners can still have mites. I can't think someone with 25 chickens could do much more than we have to try to eliminate mites & keep things clean and still have "free range" chickens.

    - I love my chickens, but they have disgusting bugs that could possibly infest my house. GROSS. I just took another big step towards the farmer mentality with my beloved chickens.

    - I have now probably created a strain of insecticide and drowning resistant "Super Mites" in my flock. Surely only the strongest of the strong survived today on that rooster today.

    - Finally, I may not be able to kill every last mite, but I can manage them. I will continue to do weekly dustings or sprayings on my flock and pay special attention to my roosters. It has to be better to have several mites instead of several thousand. I've seen what a severe mite infestation can do and its my responsibility to keep them as healthy and comfortable as I can.

    Thanks for reading!
     
    4 people like this.
  2. WthrLady

    WthrLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DE doesn't keep them away. I thought it kept them away if you started clean. Nope, i think we have scaly leg mites.


    I am about to do battle with the monsters this weekend.

    Baths and seven. Olive oil and vaseline. I THINK that they came from the giant masses of wild birds visiting when they aren't out.

    Mites gross me out, but think it's part of the game.
     
  3. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    You could always use ivermectin pour on, or preferably eprinex on your birds. Spray the inside of your coop with liquid sevin or malathion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  4. WthrLady

    WthrLady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's my spring cleaning plan. We will FINALLY hit 32' on saturday. We've been below 0 with wind chills of -20 to -30 for weeks. Lol.
     
  5. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never tried that because I thought I couldn't use the eggs or the meat if I did. Is that correct?
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    Wild birds will bring mites, but Ivermectin on each bird, and either carbaryl or pyrethrin in the coop will wipe them out. Repeat infestations will occur, but I have zero tolerance for the little beasts. mary
     
  7. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
    3 people like this.
  8. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow...great info! Thank you! Do I retreat with Eprinex or just once and I'm done?
     
  9. johnderosa1

    johnderosa1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It will help but re infestation is always a risk. Northern fowl mites are likely to be outside your coop, on your clothes and I am afraid to say on your body (even in your ears) repeat applications a likely to be needed ALONG with treating your clothes each time you enter, treating around the coop and showering immediately after entering the coop. I would also add some hot shot no pest strips to your regimen - they are not labeled for this type of use but the active ingredient is often used in commercial poultry operation and sprayed directly on the birds. If your birds stay outside for most of the day leaving one in the coop for a few days may be ok. Please read the label carefully and by no means leave it in for more than a few days - prolonged exposure could kill them. Best bet would be if you could rotate your birds between 2 coops and treat the unoccupied coop a week or two and then switch. Do this a few times along with the pour on + other measures and good luck. Do not underestimate your ability to be the source of the infestation....
     
  10. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the info, johnderosa1. We do have 2 coops and could easily lock down and fumigate one while the chickens stayed in the other.

    The "gross" factor just increased ten fold! It makes me want to use the Eprinex on myself, too. Although, I know it's true...and all you need is 1 tiny mite to start it all over again.
     

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