Mites killing my chickens, please help!!!!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by georgieboy11, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. georgieboy11

    georgieboy11 Songster

    Jan 12, 2018
    About a few weeks ago I noticed my favorite 3 year old rooster George (a bantam D uccle) acting very sad, tired, and losing weight. It was extremely cold outside so i brought him in the garage with a heat light, I thought he was just cold so I let him be for a couple days. I picked him up and was looking him over and noticed scabs on his comb and on his missing eye hole (when he was a chick he got an infection in his eye and lost his eye) I saw little red mites crawling all over the scab on his eye hole and I was shocked. He had mites all over his ears, and all around his neck. He was covered in eggs too. I started searching all over google and immediately gave him a bath with dog flea and tick shampoo and dusted him with diatomaceous earth. I continued to dust him with it for two weeks and it seemed for a while like he was getting better and he even crowed for the first time in a long time (he hadn't crowed since we got a new rooster). It even seemed like the mites had gone away and he was better for a while until he suddenly got worse two days ago. He stopped eating and drinking and wouldnt move, I brought him in my house and warmed him up by the heater and got him to eat a little and drink some water with poultry vitamins in them. He started perking up and walking around and clucking at me. the next day the same thing happened so I brought him back inside and got him to drink and eat and then I noticed the mites hadnt gone away they just moved to his vent so i dusted his butt with DE. Later in the day he started having diarrhea. I woke up this morning and went to check on him and he was laying down and wouldnt move or open his eye but he was still alive and breathing. I made him a vet appointment and while I waited until it was time to take him to the vet he woke up and started standing and when it came time to take him to the vet he completely crashed and wouldnt stand or open his eye or move. On the way to the vet he started trying to flap his wings a few times and kept moving his head and neck like he couldn't control it. The vet said his heart beat was under 100 bpm when it was supposed to be over 200 bpm. He said the mites were definitely contributing to making him sick but it could be something as well and whatever it was was effecting his brain which is why he was moving weirdly. He was going on to tell me how it was too late and there's nothing he could do when George started freaking out and then dropped dead right there on the vet table. Im still crying from it he was like my best friend and he was just the sweetest chicken ever. I got home and checked my other chickens to make sure they didn't have mites as bad as he does but sure thing they all have them and one rooster Bruce has them bad around his vent. Please help me get rid of these mites!!!! The vet said something about a deworming shot to get rid of them and im willing to give them all shots myself if I have to.
    CapricornFarm likes this.
  2. apryl29

    apryl29 Free Ranging

    May 8, 2017
    NE Ohio
    This is a link to a thread I made about mites. One of the replies has a link about identifying what kind of mites they are which will help you find out how to kill them.
    I used poultry dust on the birds and Permethrin 10% spray on the coop. Good luck! I hope he gets better.
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    When one has mites, they all have mites. Treating one bird will not do the job. You've got to treat every single bird in the flock. Then you've got to clean out all the bedding and spray down the whole coop with pyrethrum, paying special attention to the little nooks and crannies. Then repeat treatment again on all the birds in two weeks. You are not the only one to have lost birds to mites this winter. Mites are a very common problem in winter, when the birds are spending more time inside the coop and dust bathing isn't always possible thanks to weather.
  4. Abriana

    Abriana Mocha Frappuccino

    Apr 26, 2017
    Fools Gold or Swan Pond
    I’m so sorry for your loss :hugs
    georgieboy11 likes this.
  5. LJoWilly

    LJoWilly Songster

    Oct 28, 2016
    So sorry for your loss, RIP George..
  6. Peter.J

    Peter.J Chirping

    Dec 14, 2017
    New Mexico
    Sorry about your loss, seems like you really loved him.

    Dust baths are pretty key for mite control from what i understand. I put the ashes from our fireplace into the chicken run dirt where they dust bathe; the ash is supposed to really deter mites, and the chickens actually like to eat little bits of coal...
    21hens-incharge and apryl29 like this.
  7. CapricornFarm

    CapricornFarm Purrfect!

    May 8, 2017
    Southern Virginia
    I am sorry you lost your roo. I hope you can save the rest of them.
  8. Latestarter

    Latestarter Free Ranging

    Mar 18, 2014
    North East Texas
    Sorry for your loss. Greetings and welcome to BYC. It's a shame that your present issue brought you to us, and you are going to have some work to do to correct your present situation. Once you have mites, it is NOT as simple as dusting the birds, or giving them a shot. The mites have infested their bedding and the coop and it will need to be completely cleaned and sanitized to kill any mites/eggs there as well as on the birds themselves.

    Are you sure these are mites and not lice? Typically, lice are visible while normally mites are darned near microscopic... Lice are typically brownish in color while mites are normally translucent. Lice lay egg clusters at the root of feathers that are generally visible and look like clusters of small rice grains around the base of the feather shaft.

    Either way, the solution is the same. You can use pyrethrum/pyrethrin initially on both the birds and the coop, as previously stated, to kill both, whichever is the real issue.

    You can add DE to the coop litter to help control "bugs" keeping in mind that it does not work when wet, and kills all bugs, good and bad. It works by being very sharp and scratches the waxy coating on the exoskeleton of bugs causing them to dehydrate and dry out/die. If you use DE, please ensure you are using food grade, and that you (and your birds) avoid breathing the dust.

    Some have also used Sevin dust, though it is NOT labeled for this use. There are mixed emotions with its use, some claiming it's a deadly poison (to pets/animals other than insects) while others claim it does no harm. It is a poison, though it breaks down relatively fast in the environment, and it does kill insects. If you have/like bees, be very careful with its use.

    Some dust their birds with pet (dog/cat) flea kill powder and it is also purported to work. Pay particular attention to ensure it (whatever you're using) gets down to the root of the feathers (skin contact) and pay particular attention to vent and leg/arm pit areas as well as the back of the neck.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes for you. Please browse around and make yourself at home. There's a wealth of good info here on the site.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Crowing

    Feb 14, 2014
    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    I am so sorry that your cockerel died. I would agree with the vet that, whilst an infestation of mites or lice can be troublesome, there is usually an underlying cause of illness and the parasites then take advantage of their inability to dust bath and preen. I wonder if your boy had Marek's disease which affects the neurological system. It is a common disease caused by a virus that frequently affects adolescent birds but can affect older (or younger) ones
    It is important to treat the coop as well as all the chickens and whilst DE may help to keep them at bay, it is not generally effective at treating an infestation.
    It would help to know where in the world you are so that we can suggest a brand/ product that is available and effective in your location. Permethrin is an effective chemical for external parasites and comes in powder or spray form. If they are lice, they are usually straw coloured and live on the chicken. Mites are tiny and red and live and breed in the coop but climb onto the chickens to suck their blood when they are roosting... hence the red colour. All bedding needs to be removed from the coop and all cracks and crevices thoroughly treated as that is where they hide and breed.
    I would imagine that the vet is suggesting you use Ivermectin but this will not kill eggs/larvae in the coop just the mites that suck their blood and they can live months between feeds of blood. I'm not sure Ivermectin is effective against lice so, as apryl29 says, it is important to identify which parasite you are dealing with first. You will usually have to retreat after 7-10 days to kill newly hatched nits
  10. Latestarter

    Latestarter Free Ranging

    Mar 18, 2014
    North East Texas
    As an aside, have you ever heard of "shake & bake"? Where the food coating is placed inside a plastic bag, you add the meat, close the bag and shake to coat the meat evenly? Some folks use this principle when dusting their birds. They place the powdered dusting material inside a large plastic bag, then place the bird in the bag, closing it right below the head area (hold it closed with your fingers, not TOO tight), then "shake" the bird in the bag to fully dust/coat the bird with the material. I've never tried this myself, but have heard that it works quite well.

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