Suspected mite infestation - need help determining how to treat our hens and coop

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Branch Chickens, Dec 13, 2014.

  1. Branch Chickens

    Branch Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    China, Maine
    We have a flock of 10 hens, hatched in late April, and I have had a sense that something was not quite right with them for the past 2 months.
    It started when our EE stopped laying quite suddenly in October. Initially, I suspected that it was due to the shortening of days here in Maine, but since then she has not put on any weight, and she seems out of sorts, eating poorly, and she is shaking her head every few seconds.
    In addition, only 4 of our hens ever started laying, and only one of them is still laying. Again, I attributed that to the decrease in daylight, but now I'm not sure.
    Just today I came across some information that makes me think we may be dealing with Northern Fowl Mites. Poor weight gain (seems that way to me), head shaking, decrease in appetite and egg productions, etc.
    As we have recently moved our flock from their detached outside coop into our barn for the winter, I doubt a major infestation has occurred there, but I am aware that we need to thoroughly clean the coop and treat our hens as well, repeating after 7 days.
    I need to formulate a plan, and I'm looking for advice.
    Right now I'm thinking....
    1. Clean out the coop and nesting boxes, treat everywhere (with what? i'm not sure), replace the bedding, and provide the hens with a kiddie pool/litter box with sand and wood ash for dust bathing (they currently have no winter dust bathing area available)
    2. Treat each of the hens thoroughly (same question of what to use) and place them back in the coop.
    3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 after a week has passed.
    4. Watch flock for signs of improvement/reinfestation.

    I would appreciate any advice that you all can give (including the advice that I am completely crazy and can skip all these steps) as to what I need to do and what I should do it with.

    Right now it seems like there are plenty of people who have treated for mites without ever really seeing them on their hens. I haven't seen any on the hens, but I am pretty sure I found one or two on myself this summer and mistook them for tiny deer ticks. Now I know better.

    Anywho...comments/advice is welcome! I want a healthy, happy flock.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Personally I would just add raw garlic to their diet, two or three cloves per hen per day, crushed or minced freshly and mixed in.

    Easy to add it to coarse grain mix and soak the lot overnight before giving it to them, to get the garlic juice into any hens that don't like the taste initially.

    I used to think it might take a month for the sulfur in the garlic to reach a level that would repel the parasites but new studies on a few species, and personal experience, shows it happens within a matter of hours of the garlic being eaten.

    Works great, but you do have to keep it up for a while, perhaps two weeks. You don't have to do it daily.

    But hey, no toxins being added to their environment or bodies, no withholding period for eggs, no need to move them or treat their perches etc, and it helps a lot of other things as well; can't hurt to try even if you doubt it. I know it works for me. ;)

    Best wishes and good luck.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2014
  3. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    southern Ohio

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