Organic method for treating chicken mite infestation that works

scratch'n'peck

Crowing
Oct 31, 2008
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I discovered that I had a chicken mite infestation (also known as red mite or roost mite.) As with any problem I have these days, I started obsessively searching the internet. I came across information on an insecticide that I haven't heard much about before that has an active ingredient called spinosad. I wasn't necessarily looking for something organic. I just wanted a treatment that was effective but did not pose much risk to my chickens. Actually my first spray down of the coop after cleaning it was with a pyrethrine and piperonyl based flea and tick spray called Sergeant's Silver for cats and dogs. It has the same class of active ingredient that many poultry sprays have. So with any treatment of red mite you must respray the coop 7 days later. I started searching online for another treatment because I wanted to guard against potentially resistant mites. I could have used Sevin ( active ingredient carbaryl), but when I read about spinosad, I thought I would give it a try. I used Captain Jack's for the second spray.

After doing a search here on BYC, I was surprised to find only a hand full threads that mentioned spinosad, and usually the reference was buried deep in the thread. This is an active ingredient that is written up in Mother Earth News and has FDA approval in a veterinary and a human treatment. How can we not know more bout this on BYC?

So I thought I would start a thread to share what I learned from my seemingly endless Googling of spinosad:

- It is the active ingredient in a topical treatment for lice on humans that is FDA approved.

- It is the active ingredient in Comfortis, an FDA approved oral treatment of fleas for cats and dogs.

- It is in agricultural livestock spray approved for use with poultry called Elector PSP, and they even have directions for spraying directly on birds for Northern Fowl Mite.

- There is a published scientific study that shows its effectiveness in treating chicken mite infestation.


Finally, there is an organic alternative to DE for those who want something natural that I can suggest to treat external pests on poultry! DE is fine for prevention, but once there is an infestation, it is not effective. I am especially glad that spinosad has been used directly on chickens for Northern Fowl Mite considering that infestation can kill chickens.

If you have used a product with spinosad, please mention what product you used and how it worked for you.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
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Sep 19, 2009
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I can also do it by providing quality dust baths and allowing birds to shift roosts sites occasionally. Another trick is to have them roost under stars. Low tech and predator concerns elevated but effective.

This approach is more cultural rather than pesticide. Some pesticide component acknowledged with some soil types used as dust bath.
 

scratch'n'peck

Crowing
Oct 31, 2008
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I can also do it by providing quality dust baths and allowing birds to shift roosts sites occasionally. Another trick is to have them roost under stars. Low tech and predator concerns elevated but effective.

This approach is more cultural rather than pesticide. Some pesticide component acknowledged with some soil types used as dust bath.
There are lots of great low tech, cultural and natural ways ways to prevent infestations when there are just a few pests on a bird, and they are always worth mentioning on threads. But there are times when BYC members post about a bird who is seriously infested and is suffering and at risk of dying if infested with Northern Fowl Mite, and they are asking for an organic solution. It is nice to have a suggestion that has been shown to be effective in infestation situations.

Another tip that I learned online to reduce the risk of infestation with Fowl Mite/ Red Mite/ Roost Mite is to set up an early detection system. Red Mites can be tough to detect early so low tech detection involves placing a PVC pipe with a dowel or stick inside placed near the roost. It is supposed to be easier to check even during the day, and you don't have to get out the magnifier glass to look on the birds in the early morning.
 

CrazyTalk

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But there are times when BYC members post about a bird who is seriously infested and is suffering and at risk of dying if infested with Northern Fowl Mite, and they are asking for an organic solution.
This is one of the areas where organic gets tricky (and a bit silly). Spinosad is approved for organic use, but it's actually almost universally synthetic at this point (not that it makes a lick of difference in effectiveness/safety) - but some people seem to have an issue with anything man made.
 

chickengeorgeto

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Dec 25, 2012
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This is one of the areas where organic gets tricky (and a bit silly). Spinosad is approved for organic use, but it's actually almost universally synthetic at this point (not that it makes a lick of difference in effectiveness/safety) - but some people seem to have an issue with anything man made.
I am courses CT, if you buy an organic chicken egg in a Styrofoam carton, fry it up in a stainless steel skillet with a Teflon lining and flip the egg over
with a plastic spatula is that egg still organic?
idunno.gif
wink.png


Oh, BTW CT, Roanoke has been linked to Parkinson's Disease. So it is fair to say that Organic Groceries have a proven link to Parkinson's Disease.
 

tridentk9

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May 2, 2014
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I just read an article on spinosad and red mites this week! I was looking into it for the fruit trees but wanted to check on safety with the dogs and chickens.

Hah- Scratch n Peck we both found the same article!!!
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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There are lots of great low tech, cultural and natural ways ways to prevent infestations when there are just a few pests on a bird, and they are always worth mentioning on threads. But there are times when BYC members post about a bird who is seriously infested and is suffering and at risk of dying if infested with Northern Fowl Mite, and they are asking for an organic solution. It is nice to have a suggestion that has been shown to be effective in infestation situations.

Another tip that I learned online to reduce the risk of infestation with Fowl Mite/ Red Mite/ Roost Mite is to set up an early detection system. Red Mites can be tough to detect early so low tech detection involves placing a PVC pipe with a dowel or stick inside placed near the roost. It is supposed to be easier to check even during the day, and you don't have to get out the magnifier glass to look on the birds in the early morning.
Interesting.......Was this in one of your links in the first post?
Have you tried it?
 
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scratch'n'peck

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Interesting.......Was this in one of your links in the first post?
Have you tried it?
No it wasn't in one of the links above. When I was searching a variety of sites on Red Mite, I came across this idea. I'm sorry I don't remember the exact site. I think it was some European Association of Poultry Producers, because the technique was said to be used in the Netherlands, I think. It didn't really go into any detail, but I remembered it because it was such a simple idea that could be helpful. I have not tried it yet, but I should look around for some spare PVC pipe. I know we have some laying around.
 
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Quote: No, that's fine, just thought I'd ask before digging thru all the links...glad I did ask.
It does sound like a good idea.

I have some 1/2" PVC that would be easy to attach to the bottom of my 2x4 roosts.
I imagine you'd want a dowel that was close to the size of the ID of the pipe...like maybe 3/8"...might have some of that laying around too.
Let's see who is motivated to do this first! ;) tho I don't think I have mites, so your coop would be a better place to experiment cause you've seen them already?
 

CrazyTalk

Songster
5 Years
Jun 10, 2014
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I am courses CT, if you buy an organic chicken egg in a Styrofoam carton, fry it up in a stainless steel skillet with a Teflon lining and flip the egg over
with a plastic spatula is that egg still organic?
idunno.gif
wink.png
Of course it is, but thats very different than the egg being made of "synthetic chemicals" - which spinosad is.

I think most of the organic movement is a whole bunch of silly based on the naturalism fallacy.
 

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