Mites - Always an ongoing battle?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by RHRanch, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a large flock of chickens, and one thing that plagues my gals (and roos) are mites (red) . It seems like nothing I do gets rid of them long term. What I mean is, I can dust and spray, and i've even used ivermectin, but just a few weeks later, the mites are back. So I re-treat. Again, and again and again... (not with the ivermectin, but with sevin, pesticide sprays, etc.)

    Some things about my place: Neighbors have about 150+ birds in henhouses all along the fenceline, they never treat for parasites. Could that be a source of ongoing infestation? I free range my birds in that side of the yard, also my pens are on that side, setback 10+ feet.

    I keep my pens clean and spray for pests every 2-3 months with a water-solution sprayer, usually a pyrethrin. When I put in new bedding, i dust it with sevin, and same with nest boxes.

    My henhouse interior is pressed plywood/particle. Its not painted. Should I paint it to reduce crevices? If I am saturating it with pyrethrin ever 2-3 months, could they still be surviving it in some crevices, or are they just bird to bird?

    Oh, I forgot to add that I do not have this problem with my birds that live in the front part of my acreage, on the farthest side away from the rest.

    Suggestions or ideas on how I might get a better control of this? Or why I am not being very sucessful?
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  2. klmclain1

    klmclain1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2011
    Sounds to me like you've answered your own question. Any way you can move them away from the neighbors birds?
  3. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Not really. I can maybe plan future structures farther away, but I am a bit limited as to where I can put them. Do you think that the mites are being brought into contact with my birds from feathers or something? Because I question wheter that is likely or not. Do mites seek out other food sources (travel distances of 10 to 20 feet)? Or could rodents help to transmit them? I know they have problems with rodents, their operation is bigger than mine, and they have mentioned poisoning rodents to me on many occasions. Anyone?
  4. dainerra

    dainerra Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2011
    honestly, I've only had to treat for mites once in all my years of owning chickens. My mom did a few times until she moved the coop to a new location. The area around where they were had the little buggers everywhere. Treated the birds and torched that building. Never had another mite problem. Of course, the chickens avoided that area too. If they were foraging around there, you would see them doing a lot of extra dust bathing afterwards.

    It could be that your neighbors don't have mites. It could be that they do and aren't treating for them. Either way, I'd move the coop to a new location. Be sure to get every single solitary nook and cranny treated. 2 pieces of wood nailed together, going to have to take them apart to be sure that you get any mites living between. Even one mite left alive is going to reinfect the entire coop. That's why a lot of oldtimers would just torch it - easier to build a new one than to disassemble the old one trying to not miss a spot.
  5. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Unfortunately I can't move the henhouse. Maybe I could tear it down and build another in a different location. I know the neighbors have mites and scaly leg mite (I don't know if thats a source of if like u say, my house may have infestations in crevices or what) because i have helped them with the scaly mite on some bantams and I told them to use poultry dust for the body mites, but I am certain that they didn't do that. I don't think they see it as a problem as long st they are getting eggs and are able to sell their grown birds for meat.
  6. Hummelhill

    Hummelhill Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 20, 2010
    Montville, Oh
    I use Eprinex pour on. According to the package insert, in labratory tests it kept animals (cattle) mite free for 8 weeks. Perhaps you could break the cycle by treating your flock every 2 months?
  7. mamabigbird

    mamabigbird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 11, 2010
    Vancouver Island, B.C.,
    I have a similar problem. My coop is unpainted press board and 2x4s. Tree branches for roosts.
    I free range daily but don't have a lot of other chickens nearby. A few neighbors have hens but not lots of them.
    I believe the wild birds are just as bad for bringing new mites into the property.
    I don't get really bad infestations but I also have to use Sevin on a regular basis.
    I haven't had a drop in egg production so I think there is a balance of sorts.
    Bugs just seem to be a natural factor with chickens.
    Your heavy infestation must be related to the large number of fowl nearby.
    Otherwise the hens should be able to "dust bath manage them".
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    If you're dealing with red mites (as opposed to northern fowl mites), then it's not as likely your birds are being reinfected by the neighbor's flock, since red mites tend not to stay on the bird during the day as it roams around the yard. They tend to stay inside the coop.

    The first thing I would do is replace the roosts with new ones. Secondly, I'd treat again for mites, using a different product because mites can build up a resistance if you use the same product over and over. And I would retreat the coop in about a week to get rid of the bugs that have hatched out from eggs not killed by the first treatment.

    I would also probably put a good coat of paint on the interior surfaces of the coop to seal it up, too.
  9. Yonaton

    Yonaton Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2007
    West TN
    They will travel on the grass, wind, other animals, other birds, and your neighbors birds *are* the main culprit in your case, I'd bet money on it. As has been said, paint the coop. Dust the yard and the space/grass between your birds and the neighbors with sevin. Dust your birds again. Dust the bedding. Dust the ground under the coop if possible. This will also be temporary but not nearly as short-term as the pyrethrin, since the rains will wash it into the ground but it will still kill pests for a while somewhat, pyrethrin just makes things turn away for a while but doesn't kill for beans IMO. Then, tell your neighbors to either clean their birds up or report them to your county. Those kinds of pests can eventually become a public menace as they're spread by wild birds (like those useless starlings and cowbirds that travel in flocks from 20 to 100,000+). That means their birds and yours are now also infecting someone elses birds who didn't catch them in time and now spread to *their* neighbors birds who might be like *your* neighbors and not care, ad nausea. See where this can go?
  10. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks everyone. I am on a regular schedule for treatment. What I see as the problem is that I can never get rid of the mites. Is seems I treat and they come back again and again. As for my neighbors, they keep a tidy operation, they just don't really treat for insects/parasites, so I can't really see where reporting them will do any good but get us on bad terms. When I treat, its always thorough and multi-pronged. I use a combination of products. I use the dust, pyrethryin yard/kennel spray, Dust on the birds or actually dips in warm weather. I see lots on here that say they have never had mites or only once, and I just have not had that be the case despite my best efforts.

    Ill try somthing not pyrethrin based for my treatments of the buildings. Can anyone recommend a product?
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011

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