Poultry Problems: What Are Red Mites? How Do You Stop Them?Print
Is your chicken coop crawling with red mites?
Are you sure?
Red mites create havoc in the feathered flock’s life. Due to this, they are the most feared parasites in a poultry farming community.
However, due to their nocturnal nature, most mites evade detection until the deed is done. You don’t want this to happen on your farm. Do you?
That is why we make advice you to keep your guard on in terms of parasitic activity. But before we tell you how to identify their intrusion, let’s learn some basic facts about our enemy.
Know Your Enemy: What Are Red Mites?
Chicken mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) are ectoparasites that latch on to your feathery friend’s body and then feast on their blood. It is interesting to note that, the mites are actually black and gray in colour. However, once they have been properly fed, their bodies will turn red in colour. This shift in outer appearance is the reason why they are commonly known as ‘red’ poultry mites.
They are tiny creatures that are active at night and hide during daylight. Thus they are able to live undetected for a long period of time in the nooks and crannies of your barn. Until which your flock has gotten sick and weak due to their constant blood-sucking.
The Signs: How Do You Know Red Mites Are Attacking Your Chicken?
The meddlesome mites may lead a sneaky lifestyle but they can’t be ignored by a vigilant poultry breeder. Therefore, we suggest that you stay on high alert as soon as summer season rolls in.
Here are a few tell-tale signs of the red mite infestation:
- A drastic drop in egg production among the brooding hens
- Pale colored wattles and comb
- Restlessness among the flock that results in severe feather-pecking
- Anaemia i.e. loss of red blood cells in the chicken’s blood.
- Triggers a disruptive sleeping schedule
Apart from that, you can see the slow-moving insects residing in closed-off corners on the vents and the chicken coop. Not to forget their blood-sucking bodies crawling on your cherished coop residents.
The Fight: How Do You Stop Red Mites?
1. Spring Cleaning
Firstly, you need to thoroughly clean every inch of your bran. This specifically includes the bedding, roosts, vents, and other crannies of your hen’s home.Dispose-off everything from felt to hay that may become mite homes when you are clearing the area.
Frequently place fresh bedding in the barn to prevent invasion.
2. Hose Off
Use a high-powered hose to wash out the creep critters off the coop. The hosing will irritate the mites and will force them to come out of their hiding. You need to consistently hose the area until the mites decrease in numbers.
3. Powder Power
In the end, you need to use red mite removal powders, detergents, and other precautionary measures that kill the mites. Sprinkle the powder everywhere in the cooping area, on perches and cervices. Ensure that you use chicken-friendly brands that are harmless to the hens. But deadly do the mites.
Is Your Chicken Coop Infested with Red Mites?
Yes? Then there is no time to waste. You need to wipe those parasites off the feathery backs as soon as you can.