Mites with backyard chickens in lower Hudson Valley NY


Aug 10, 2020
My chickens have mites but it's overwhelming b/c they are backyard chickens and we've taken their woodchips and poop and composted it. Between their coop being in a half wooded backyard and the fact that they free roam where all other wildlife lives -- how does one ever control the chickens from getting mites and getting rid of them permanently.

When I realized my chickens had mites, I assumed that our neighbors did as well and probably the whole neighborhood of chicken owners -- potentially unaware too! I checked my neighbors chickens and they too had mites.

How can this issue ever be controlled and if I don't control it, is the end of the chickens for real?

I'm also interested if I can give my chickens garlic or put a mashed clove(s) of garlic in their water to make them less tasty to the bugs -- has anyone done this?

I pulled some wood ash together and got a bath together for them. How critical is the dust baths to control mites? As a new owner, I did not provide a dust bath through the winter and I'm wondering if this had an impact.

I don't want to use DE b/c of my asthma. Feeling quite overwhelmed. I'm interested in all feedback.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Neither garlic nor wood ash will kill a mite infestation.
Get some permethrin spray.
First figure out what type of mites your birds have.

My Bug Check notes:
Have you checked them over real well for mites and/or lice?

Google images of lice/mites and their eggs before the inspection so you'll know what you're looking for.

Part the feathers right down to the skin around vent, head/neck and under wings.

Best done well after dark with a strong flashlight/headlight, easier to 'catch' bird and also to check for the mites that live in structure and only come out at night to feed off roosting birds.

Wipe a white paper towel along the underside of roost to look for red smears(smashed well fed mites).

Good post about mite ID by Lady McCamley:


Feb 1, 2021
West Tennessee
Aart is correct! I know of nothing as safe and effective as Permethrin for treating a mite infestation! DE is a great tool for prevention. I am aware of breathing issues with my impaired state and suggest a mask when in the coop


Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
My Coop
My Coop
There is some good advice given here. In my opinion DE is pretty much worthless. I know there are people who swear by it and if it works for them that's great but I never had any luck with it. I use permethrin, but you need to treat the birds weekly for 3 or 4 weeks. No insecticide should be used as a prevention because the pests can acquire a resistance to it and then when you really need it, it won't work. I would also treat the coop weekly too for 3 or 4 weeks spraying everywhere every nook and cranny. Permethrin won't kill the mite eggs so repeat weekly applications are necessary to kill the pests eggs as they hatch out. The bonus is that there is no egg withdrawal period so the eggs are safe to eat. You can get the premixed spray or the concentrate.


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