What to do about feather loss and little red crawling bugs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by really4me, Oct 11, 2015.

  1. really4me

    really4me Out Of The Brooder

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    My Americana quit laying and then after several few weeks I noticed she has lost a lot of neck feathers. On further inspection, I found lots of areas of feathers missing. I thought of molting but then decided to give her a once over. Looking at her more closely, I saw only one little red bug( a mite ?) but that was it. I've used diatom pwd on her and my other girls once a week now for several weeks. I put it up on their roust, I changed the straw and cleaned their nesting boxes letting them dry all day in the sunshine. I don't see the little buggers on her anymore but she still isn't laying but maybe every 4 or 5 days. I've added the diatomaceous powder that's consumable to the feed and put it in their dust bathing areas. Is there anything else that I should be doing? I'm a newby and try to have happy chickens. I was also wondering how important it is to have a dust bath in the winter for them?
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Diatomaceous Earth is not actually good for killing off an active infestation. You're going to need something stronger, like Sevin dust. You'll want to dust the birds, clean out the coop and dust that, and then repeat in a week to kill any that hatched since the first treatment. You could also use something like permethrin, but do not use that if you have cats as it is extremely toxic to them. You're not seeing the mites because they actually live in the coop during the day and only get on the birds at night to feed.

    How old are they? They could also be molting in addition to the mites, which would lead to a drop in egg production.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2015
  3. really4me

    really4me Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, I have a cat. So the Sevin is dusted on the birds like I did the diatom? I have pine shavings so all of it needs to go? Do I need to just dust the wood floors or get the walls too? What a hastel for one mite!
     
  4. really4me

    really4me Out Of The Brooder

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    They are just a year and 1/2
     
  5. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Yep, you would dust the birds, clean all the shavings out of the coop, and then dust the whole coop too since they live in the bedding and under the roosts, in crevasses in the wood etc during the day. At a year and a half old they may be going through their first molt, which could account for some of the feather loss and the drop in egg production along with the mites. You might want to switch them to a higher protein feed like flock raiser or feather fixer for a little bit to help them regrow their feathers.
     
  6. really4me

    really4me Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks a great help, didn't think about it could be 2 different things going on.
     
  7. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    You're welcome :)
     
  8. scottcaddy

    scottcaddy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Do a search on BYC for Red Mite, and see what trouble they can cause.
    Hope you get them under control.
    Scott
     

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