Poultry mites in chicken feed?! Please advise

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Life is Good!, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. Life is Good!

    Life is Good! Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,051
    53
    181
    Apr 14, 2011
    suburbia Chicagoland
    I've been battling poultry mites since March. It's been a cold, wet spring; a cool, damp summer; and heading into the same for fall (in N. IL). I've seven dusted, I've replaced bedding so much so that my 4 pallet compost bins are now 8 pallet compost bins. I've sprayed, dusted and pestered my girls to no end about mites. But at long last, I think I've figured out the source of the problem....

    The mites seem to be in the feed! Anyone else see this before?

    I buy feed from Farm&Fleet, only keeping what I use in the current month on hand. I have the following:
    Nutrena All Flock, 16%
    Nutrena Meat Bird, 22%
    Agrimaster Scratch grains (for making fermented feed)

    There are chipmunks and mice in the barn - it's a barn! The mites are the incredibly small, nearly clear or slightly white, incredibly fast moving variety. So after I dig a scoop into the feed, the mites are at my elbow by the 20steps to the coop. And when I say at my elbow - there's over 75 mites on my arm!!! This is beyond creepy, there's mites just all over the feed.

    Should I freeze the bags of feed to kill off the mites? I typically just open the bags of feed and scoop directly from the bag for feeding. I also divide the feed into 5gal buckets (1/2 bag per bucket) and store sealed tight in the barn - and also in the coop. ALL locations of feed show mites, which to me means the feed bag is the source of the infestation. I typically do not wash the buckets between refills....think the eggs are in the dust in the bottom of the bucket? If that were so, why are there mites in the bags? Bags are not stored with the buckets....

    Could I put seven dust in with the feed or would that hurt the hens? (External use only, right?) Yes, I've tried DE in with the feed also - no help there.

    Should I seven dust the bins, wait 7 days, reapply, wait another 7 days, wash out and then refill the buckets? Would a good dose of bleach kill these little buggers so the wait time is eliminated?

    Should I just get rid of ALL feed, put feed somewhere else for a month and then try again?

    Could the chipmunks/mice also be carriers of the mites?

    Just when you think you've got a good grip on being a chicken keeper, life throws you a curve ball......six years of chicken keeping and I was confident in my management of the flock. Bad roo? Check. Bumblefoot? Check. Broody hens? Check. Pecking order problems? Check. Meat bird flock? Check. But this is more than I can figure out....

    Thank you for your help! This one has me stumped.....
     
  2. Sarevan

    Sarevan Chillin' With My Peeps

    448
    43
    103
    Sep 30, 2013
    White Swan, WA
    That is horrible infestation of creepy crawlies!

    I was having a problem with sand flea type bugs, they even attacked us for meals. I got fed up and went and bought a big spray container of outdoor bug killer. Mites, lice, ticks, fleas, flies, roaches, wasps, were all listed on the label. I sprayed around the run, coop, house, garage, wellhouse, sheds, all walkways.Kicked the girls out of one run/coop and sprayed the heck out of it including the dirt. Making sure I got roosts, nesting boxes and all crevices, gaps I could find. (found mites hiding in a section of roost) I let it dry and airout before moving the hens back in. Don't spray waterers or water sources can contaminate them.

    Grit, and oyster shell bags I put in containers and put them in the old chest freezer. Feed I keep seperate in the house (porch) so wasn't contaminated. Freezing the pests worked kept it in there for 2 days. You should be able to freeze feed, but as there is some moisture in the feed (small amount) you may have to watch for mold if you bring it out in the containers into outside temperatures in the closed containers.

    Wildlife do bring in parasites, mice, rats, squirrels, birds all carry something. Wild quail were getting into the run picking up feed or things the hens left behind. They left mites for our girls to pick up.

    Since I sprayed I don't have a problem other than mosquitoes. Creepy crawlie population took a big dive after being treated. Will do it again before seasons change to prevent the indoor migration.

    Good luck beating the pests!
     
  3. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    817
    74
    111
    Jul 13, 2014
    Dateland Arizona
    Pesticides I wouldnt recomend using they can and will kill your chickens I have seen it happen to a friend if mine. He sprayed his yard for ticks and lost his whole flock of 50 chickens and 20 geese and ducks. I suggest asking your feed company if they have had any problems with mites and if so I would chang where you get your feed until they get that issue fixed. Chipmonks and mice also are hosts to mites, ticks, ect and I would recomend securing your barn to keep them out. My chickens tare apart anything that goes into there coop or run or if they see prey while free ranging so I dont keep any poisons for pests on my property they do the work for me.
     
  4. Sarevan

    Sarevan Chillin' With My Peeps

    448
    43
    103
    Sep 30, 2013
    White Swan, WA
    I agree Papas Chickens, that pesticides are dangerous to chickens. Eating a treated bug can cause poisoning. The spray I used in coop run area is safe for use around them. I didnt say that in my post! Sorry!

    However I don't free range and the other pesticide I used could poison them as with the weed killer that I use down the lenght of our driveway. Free ranging where I live would make the chickens fast food for the wide variety of predators we have. When we do take them for supervised walks it is into the area that hasn't been treated, they go insane for bugs and weeds.

    The thread starter Life is Good, should also contact the feed store tell them of the suspicions of the feed bringing in the parasites. They may have been infested after "chick days" and not aware there is a problem. Possibly not enough or any complaints of the infestation of the feed. It would be good for them to open a bag or two to check for infestation. Heck buy a bag and open it in store inspect it with them watching.
     
  5. Papas Chickens

    Papas Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    817
    74
    111
    Jul 13, 2014
    Dateland Arizona
    What pestacide did you use in your coop and run I would like to do some reserch on it and possibly get some for my yard to help with my tick issue.
     
  6. Sarevan

    Sarevan Chillin' With My Peeps

    448
    43
    103
    Sep 30, 2013
    White Swan, WA
    I found this at Coastal Farm & Ranch, Insectrin X concentrate 10% permethrin. You need to mix it. Measuring is done by squeezing bottle to get amount into chamber attached to bottle. Can be sprayed on chickens too besides coop & run. Made by Chem Tech4515 Fleur Drive Des Moines IA.

    Happy with it and bottle has enough to do a fairly large building or several applications to a small flock if stored properly.


    The one I used around the house was Home Defense, can't think of maker. Nephew took it to spray his place and it hasn't come back. Don't think it will seeing it has been over a month.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by