Mite infestation but chicks are still hatching?!

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by keridawn, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. keridawn

    keridawn Hatching

    Jun 19, 2019
    Hi, I'm completely new to raising chickens so bear with me. I had a wild hen that was laying eggs in my garage closet go broody on me, she was sitting on nothing for 6 days and I bought her some fertilized eggs. She is on day 24 today and yesterday some eggs were still hatching. She also pooped in her nest (very runny) and soiled a lot of her eggs. I watched one of those eggs hatch yesterday! I also noticed her nest is quite infested with mites or fleas, not sure what they are. They are crawling all over her and baby chicks. I REALLY need to clean the nest and put down some DE, but I'm worried some of the eggs are still going to hatch and I don't want to disturb them or her as there are lots of baby chicks hanging out under her but I'm worried she and her chicks are going to die soon if I don't deal with this mess! Here are my questions:
    1. should I do the float test on the remaining eggs? A lot of them are covered in poop, will the float test remove the protective bloom and make the poop go into the embryo?
    2. Should I have a dust bath ready for them for when she finally leaves the nest? It has been 3 days that she has not gotten up to poop so I'm a bit worried for her health!
    3. Is Diatomaceous Earth safe for chicks? Do I have to put it on them directly?
    4. My chicken is feral so I'm not sure I will be able to touch her, she is especially protective right now, for example when I tried to reach into the nest to remove some broken shells she pecked at me, I haven't been able to remove them. Should I attempt to dust it on her or maybe make her a dust bath with it in it? Should I just mix the DE with regular dirt or sand?
    5. How long do you think I have before she and her babies start dying? It is day 2-3 of hatching and the infestation is pretty bad. Her bedding right now is burlap and grass (may be grass mites or fleas?) I live in Hawaii and it is hot and humid right now, lots of mosquitos hovering the nest too.
    6. When I kick her and her babies out of the nest, do I need to provide her with a safe place to hang out while I clean her nest? I was thinking my cat carrier might do. But I would also like her to poop. Should I put the chicks in the cat carrier and leave her out and hopefully she does her business? I'm scared if I traumatize her too much she may leave the chicks and not raise them.

    OK those are my main questions for now. I have to go to work today but after work I'm going to rush to the store to get some DE and get this done, I didn't sleep well last night as I've been worried sick about this mite/poopy nest situation and this is my first time doing this so I'm honestly clueless. Any help/advice is GREATLY appreciated!
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    DE is not safe for anyone IMO... Food grade or not.. and VERY ineffective at beating infestations! Especially dangerous to new hatchlings respiratory system.

    Use a permethrin product found in the equine section and... safe, affordable, AND effective... labeled for use in chickens, it also works on mosquitoes and is the very reason I bout it. Sold under many names and in different concentrations.. I prefer ready to use. A soaked cotton swab is good for treating chicks and avoiding eyes.

    Treat the hen after dark using a flashlight. Keeping it dark will keep her as calm as possible and give her a minimal window for reaction. Throw the DE away.. it is especially ineffective in humid environments such as yours and mine. Spray the bedding and nest as well. When you treat the hen... part the feathers just below the vent, under each wing pit, and to the back nape pf the neck since head lice won't go to the body. A small spritz to the skin at those locations is ALL that's required.. not soaking.

    Wear protective glove if you are afraid of her pecking... otherwise handle her as you would any of your other chickens. That's what any broody would do... feral or not.

    If you are able to get poultry nutri drench to include in the chick water... it will help them recover if possible and possibly prevent some passing... it is superior to other vitain supplements in that it contains amino acids. Highly recommended if you can afford it and find it!

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
  3. keridawn

    keridawn Hatching

    Jun 19, 2019

    THANK YOU! I will go to Petco today after work to look for those products and treat her when it gets dark tonight. I hope they can hang in for that long!
    CCUK and EggSighted4Life like this.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Please note that permethrin is not safe for use in cats, is my understanding. But I have used it on my dogs, goats, and chickens including broody hens and chicks.

    You should re treat again in 7-10 days according to directions for the correct species... to get any new hatching parasites and completely interrupt their life cycle. In heavy infestation... a 3rd treatment may be needed... but has not so far here. Please make sure and treat ALL in your flock if you have more birds so they don't become targets.

    If you are able to provide a chick starter feed... that would be awesome. Otherwise, I have to presume that being feral she knows where the good patches of grass and bugs are.

    She is lucky she found you! :thumbsup
    CCUK likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You may not find that at Petco, you need to go to a farm store like Tractor Supply or somewhere that carries stuff for livestock rather than dogs and cats and other household pets.
    EggSighted4Life likes this.

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