Hi all. I have 2 small chicken coops built for about 6 to 8 in each. Each are in separate parts of the garden, at least 20 or 30 feet apart. After fox trouble I was left with NO chickens. It took a long time to try again as it is very upsetting. This was the third kill and I just wanted to give up. But in may this year the lure of the best tasting eggs and the enjoyment of keeping hens educed me to buying three girls. I have a copper Maran, a white sussex and a Bluebell. They all get along fine and are great as pets and the grandchildren love to help me look after them. I have different breeds, colours because ultimately they are pets. The gorgeous eggs are a welcome by product. About a month ago I notice the girls reluctant to go to roost and the eggs had stopped. I recognised this as a possible red mite problem. I cleared out the coop and sure enough I got that itch, visual proof and red mite was confirmed. I Immediately dusted the girls and moved them to my spare coop which I know is clear. I cleared out the infested coop of its straw etc and covered it with DE. The Chicken in the other coop began to lay again and the eggs are beautifully clean. About 3 days ago I re bedded the infected coop and sprinkled a liberal dusting of DE so I could re home them this weekend (today) I want them in the original coop as it is so much stronger and more room. (fox safer) Now.............The coop has been empty at least 10 days. I read the life cycle of the RM is about 7 days. It has been plastered in DE for a week. When I re bedded I treated it again. Now...............this afternoon I was going to put them back home. I shuffled up the straw and made it nice. Straight away I WAS ITCHING? HOW CAN IT BE? The coop has been empty for 2 weeks..............What are they feeding on? It seems impossible that they are living on nothing? I have covered it with food grade DE.................Does it actually work? We have cats(3) Can they infect them and bring them indoors? What am I doing wrong? I have starved them, poisoned them and they are still there. .