Mites in chicken feed?


In the Brooder
Mar 30, 2016
I found clusters of tiny brown bugs in my chicken feed container (see photo). It's supposed to be a pest proof container, so I'm assuming they were already in the feed when I bought it. What are they and what should I do? I dumped the rest of the feed. And I cleaned the container out with bleach water. Are they harmful to my chickens?


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There are several dozen types of bugs that love grains and feeds. Mites and weevils being among them. One thing they all point to is a bag of feed that is either old or has been exposed to moisture. Chances are it won't hurt your chickens but vitamins degrade over time or exposure to elements. I would return it if you can and get a new bag of feed.

Edited to fix auto correct error.
Those are mites and sad to say this but every bag of feed sold in the USA will have eggs for bran bugs, weevils and mites in them, it is simply a fact of life. They hatch out in warm temperatures and moisture doesn't need to be present except in the form of humid air. Feed that has bugs isn't bad for chickens unless there is an off odor (which will be ammonia) if that is the case it is best to use it in the compost heap or feed it to your hogs (who can consume it without issues arising.
Very true aart, to identify any mite species you have to have a microscope. In the 17 years I was with the USDA I never didn't find bug eggs in the grains, feed mills, graneries that I was called to inspect. They are just a fact of life and only the worst of the poisons (phosgene is the normal fumigant) will kill them and even then the eggs will persist.
I noticed the same thing recently, and I thought it was in the feed when I bought it which was a little aggravating because the feed I buy is expensive. We live in Fla., so humidity is a definite life-style. LOL. But we keep the feed in the bag inside a galvanized trash can with a lid, and they still get to it somehow. The ones i get are about 1/32" and brown, sort of like a cross between a roach and ant. I am not too worried since bugs are kinda natural for chickens, and the feed isn't moldy, so I'm not concerned. Hope this helps.
I haven't ever seen them in feed here, and am very careful about checking the mill dates on feed that I bring home. I would think that feed that's actually crawling with hatched critters is a bit too old!
We figured it out, they were getting into the feed at the feed store. My husband talked to them about it and they have changed the way they are storing the feed. I checked a batch today and did not see any bugs. Thanks for all the input!
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