Mountain quail died, the rest now losing feathers; mites? (Pics & Vid)

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by laramie6, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. laramie6

    laramie6 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm trying to figure out if I have mites and, if so, what I should do about it. I'll separate this into two posts...this one will be about whether I have them or not.
    Recently one of my mountain quail died due to unknown causes...I'm having a necropsy done and that will hopefully reveal more information (read more here), but whether it was mites that killed the bird or not, it got me concerned about the health of the rest of my birds which led me to observe that they all peck/nibble at themselves fairly often, usually at least once a minute, and there are lots of loose feathers on the ground. I also have bobwhite quail, coturnix quail and chickens (each in separate pens) and I've noticed them pecking at themselves from time to time as well but not nearly as often as the mountain quail and they don't have nearly as many loose feathers on the ground. So the first thing I'd like to know is how likely it is that I have mites, since I don't want to expose all my birds to toxic chemicals if mites aren't a problem...I'm still not sure if the pecking/loose feathers is just due to natural preening/molting, but given the sudden death of this bird and the symptoms the rest are now exhibiting, I don't want to take any chances.

    So first I looked all over the quail's pen, particularly on any wooden surface, for things that could be mites...and I found a lot of bugs, but I don't know that any of them are actually mites.
    I found some of these little skinny black things in/around their nesting box:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    And then after picking up some loose feathers and bringing them inside I found this small dead bug on a feather:
    [​IMG]

    But more importantly, a small white bug went crawling off of one of the feathers when I put it down. It was too fast to photograph but I have a video of it below.
    I checked the pen some more and found one or two tiny red spider-looking things scurrying very quickly in and out of the cracks in the door:
    [​IMG]

    I also found a larger/fatter red spider-looking thing which is also in the video. Here's a short video of the bugs I found:
    http://www.vimeo.com/laramie2/bugvideo
    (the white bug from the feather is the one crawling across the black folder)

    I don't know if any of those are actually mites or if they're all just normal bugs, so any help on ID'ing them would be great.

    One of the mountain quail in particular has been pecking at itself more than the others and is also noticeably missing a few feathers and has a few loose or at odd angles. I went in and, with a lot of difficulty, managed to catch and hold this quail to try and inspect it for mites. I couldn't really check under the wings or by the vent without him flying away so I just inspected the skin on his head and back but didn't see anything moving. I did see a lot of white flakes that look like dandruff, but that was it:
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    After I let him down I checked my hands and clothes thoroughly but didn't see any bugs there either. If there was a mite infestation wouldn't I have been able to see something or see them on myself after holding the bird for several minutes? I certainly didn't see anything like what's in this video:

    I had read about scaly leg mites as well but I couldn't tell if the quail's feet are supposed to look like this or if the scaliness shown here indicates a leg mite problem:
    [​IMG]

    Finally, the other thing that makes me think I may have mites is that two of my chickens (my two and only easter egger's) are missing a lot of feathers around their throat/neck. Here are pictures:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    ...and close-ups:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I don't know if that's due to mites either. I've raised birds for years but never really thought much about it or considered it to be much of an issue until now :\\
     
  2. laramie6

    laramie6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, now, if it *does* seem likely that I have mites, what should I do? I emptied out the straw from the mountain quail's coop and put down diatomaceous earth on/under the new straw and put some DE in their dust bath area too but if there's an active infestation that doesn't seem like it will be enough.

    I've spent quite a bit of time on this board and on other sites researching this but I'm still at a loss for what method would be best. I have four separate "flocks" in four separate pens/enclosures...there are the chickens in one, the mountain quail in another, coturnix quail in another and bobwhite quail in the last one. The pens/houses are different sizes but the idea is the same for all of them...a sheltered/covered "indoor" area connected to an enclosed outdoor run. The indoor areas have wood floors with straw on top and the outdoor areas are just dirt ground surrounded by wire on all sides. The outdoor areas for the quail pens have a bunch of brush in them as well, whereas the chicken's outdoor area is open with just a roost outside. What would be the safest and most effective way to treat all these areas and all these birds?

    I'd really like to stay away from sevin dust if at all possible...I've read enough warnings to never use it with birds that I'd just rather not take the chance. I've read warnings for all of the other alternatives too but they seem to be slightly safer than the sevin dust. My local farm supply store offers three products:
    Prozap Garden & Poultry Dust: www.jefferslivestock.com/prozap-poultry-garden-dust/camid/liv/cp/LE-S1/
    Gordon's Permethrin 10 Livestock & Premise Spray: www.tractorsupply.com/insecticides/gordon-s-reg-permethrin-10-livestock-premise-spray-8-fl-oz--2212873
    and 8 in 1 Ultracare Mite & Lice Bird Spray: www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752076

    Of these three, which would be the safest/most effective to use in my case?
    For treating the indoor sections of the pens: the indoor areas are pretty enclosed and only have one or two openings that air could get in and out from, so wouldn't filling these areas with a toxic chemical be a bad idea if the birds were then going to go back in there to sleep, eat and drink? Also, would I want to spray the actual straw itself or just the floor underneath the straw? The chickens/quail try and eat everything so I imagine it wouldn't be long before they tried to eat something or other that had been coated in this stuff which I'm worried could kill or seriously harm them.
    For the outdoor sections of the pens: Do I spray the entire ground as well as all the wire and everything else or just parts?
    For the birds themselves: The methods I've seen recommended for treating chickens do not really translate to quail since they're so much harder to catch and hold still. Getting anything under their wings would be particularly hard. What would be the best way to apply any of these things to them, preferably without having to pick them up?

    And finally, when using one of the sprays or the dust on a pen how long do the birds have to stay out of that area before they can use it again? The guy I talked to at the farm supply store said I'd need to let the outdoor run air dry for at least 24 hours after spraying it down with the diluted permethrin and thought I should let the indoor area dry out for at least 48 hours afterward before letting them back in. The problem with that is that I have 70 birds and nowhere else to put them while waiting for the stuff to dry...I could trap them inside while I treat the outside and let it dry but they don't do well when closed in a small area together for any length of time, especially the quail. So how do people usually do this? I can't imagine that everyone has a separate pen that they move all their birds to every time they need to treat the pen for mites...
    Thanks in advance for any help and sorry for the length of this post!
     
  3. chickenbaguette

    chickenbaguette Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do your chickens seem stressed? Are they scratching and pecking at their feathers?

    The little red bug in the picture, I think, is red mite. It causes decrease in egg quality, weight loss and stress behaviour such as scratching and feather pecking. It lives in the chicken house, not the chickens, and comes out at night to drink their blood. It lives inside the wood of your chicken houses, so you need to clean the whole house and spray it with mite killer or fumer, which is safe as long as you keep your birds well away from the wood all day, and you will need to treat ALL the wood around the chickens.

    The DE will also help, but you shouldn't use straw in chicken houses since it can contain harmful spores which can cause respiratory problems.

    Sorry I'm not much help as my chickens live have never had this [​IMG] Good luck, I hope yours get better soon!
     
  4. chickenbaguette

    chickenbaguette Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, missed this out:

    You probably wouldn't be able to see any mites on the chicken if it was red mite, as they live in the house not the chicken and come out at night.


    Quail feet should not have any raised scales or lumps underneath. You're right to suspect it has scaly leg mite, it does, and you should check ALL of your other birds for any sign or lumpiness or raised scales, as it can kill the host bird. Scaly leg mites eat connective tissue and burrow further and further into the leg, and in bad cases it can cause death of toes or limbs.

    To get rid of this mite, you need to block its breathing holes, i.e. the gaps under the scales, once a week to break its reproductive cycle of around 5-10 days. It can take from two weeks to two months to completely eliminate them.

    Treatments:
    - DE will help, again.
    - Smear legs with petroleum jelly, making sure it gets right under the scales. other creams like nappy cream will work too, and it's soothing. All it needs to do is block the gaps.
    - Or: spray with any oil, such as cooking oil.
    - If the bird is showing any irritation or limping slightly, it might be an idea to get some medicated spray which also soothes the legs.
    - Spray all perches with insecticide, keeping the quail out of the house for the day, or if you're worried about the birds coat the perches with oil instead.
     
  5. groundpecker

    groundpecker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Rison, Arkansas
    I use poultry protector if i spot any mites, fleas, lice ect. it is a bit expensive, but it works very well. I would also suggest that you remove the birds from their pen, spraying them as you taken each one out. then clean out the coup, nest boxes, run, and spray the entire area. If you have a severe problem, it might take 2-3 times to eliminate the problem. I hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  6. laramie6

    laramie6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:The chickens seem to be okay...I'll notice them pecking at themselves from time to time but they don't seem too stressed. It's the mountain quail that are pecking/scratching at themselves a lot. My other quail are doing a bit of it as well but not as much.

    Quote:I looked up "red mite" and found a bunch of different kinds of red mites, some that feed only on plants and some that drink blood. It would seem that the "red mite" that most commonly affects poultry is called Dermanyssus gallinae and from the picture on wikipedia it doesn't look much like the little red bugs I found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dermanyssus_gallinae

    If
    they're spider mites, supposedly they only feed on plants and aren't a danger to birds or humans, but I'm certainly no expert on this so I don't know for sure.

    Quote:Unfortunately I don't really have any way of keeping any of my birds away from their pens/houses while I'm spraying them with the insecticides -- the chickens I can see maybe enclosing somewhere in the garage or something for a while, but the quail are wild and very flighty so they're very difficult to catch and I can't think of anything off hand I could keep them in for any length of time that would both keep them from escaping and also from hurting themselves/each other by flying up into the ceiling or walls or fighting each other due to their close quarters. So I'd like to be 100% sure there's a problem before attempting this, since moving them all and treating their pen would be a pretty major undertaking.

    Quote:So you think that quail definitely has scaly leg mites? The foot doesn't look all that abnormal when comparing it to images like these:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    ...but again, I'm no expert. Like I said, I just want to be 100% sure there's a mite problem before attempting what seems likely to be a very long and difficult treatment.

    Quote:When using that product, how long do you have them removed from their pen for? And is it absolutely necessary to have them removed in order to spray the area with it?

    Thanks again for the help, it's greatly appreciated
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  7. laramie6

    laramie6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Bump
     
  8. laramie6

    laramie6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Just found another red bug crawling on the ground inside the quail pen...I caught it in a plastic cup and took a short video of it in case any mite-experts out there think they can ID it:
    www.vimeo.com/laramie1/redbug
     

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