Chicken Mites

Question
She is acting normally and the rest of the flock is fine but this looks horrible!

Answer
This looks like it could be mites. Some are so tiny you really need a microscope to see. I would suggest a pyrethrin spray.

Poor thing! Her skin looks really irritated. Mites can get down into the skin. When they bite it’s irritating, but they can leave an itchiness behind, like a mosquito bite for us.

If they are on her, they are in the chicken environment. It would be good to do a thorough cleaning of the coop.

Remove all shavings or straw and dust and spray down all wooden surfaces, including perches, nests, walls.

The pyrethrin spray I have is concentrated and must be thinned to the strength for chickens and their environment.

Follow the directions on the product you buy and repeat as needed. Pyrethrin is made from flowers, so its a natural product.

Be careful not to spray in eyes or mouth. If you need to treat her head use a cotton swab. I would spray the rest of the flock as well. If one has a bad infestation all may be affected.

To know if this is mites for sure, take the chicken to the vet. He can do a scraping and look under the microscope.

For some reason this chicken seems to be in a weaker state than the others. It might do her some good to be in a separate cage or pen with conditioning feed, extra vitamins, minerals, some fruits and fresh veggies, and possibly a heat lamp till she grows her feathers back.

Mites are easy to get rid of, as above. I hope this helps.

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Chicken with Red Lice

by anup shahi
(kathmandu,nepal)

Question:
Chicken with Red Louse: I am seeing something strange like red lice on my chicken.

She is scratching with her beak...and it is also transferred to humans and it itches ....so what is the medicine for these strange insects?

Answer:
This sounds like a parasite called “Red Mite”. If the infestation is serious enough for the mites to be transferring to humans, your chickens are at risk.

Mites live on blood from a chicken, and don’t really like living on people. Too many can actually kill a chicken due to too much blood loss.

A quick and easy solution at home is to bathe the chicken. Mites are a kind of insect, similar to fleas, and lice.

Leaving a shampoo or soap on the chicken for 10 to 15 minutes should kill most of the mites without any medication and should help the chicken feel much better.

You will need to keep the chicken out of the area that you keep it in until you can thoroughly clean and treat it for mites.

Red Mites like to live in wood, when not living on a chicken or other bird. There are several products that could be used to kill the mites in the environment and on the chicken.

Pyrethrin products are made from plants, so are usually safe for you, the chicken, and the environment, when used as directed.

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Chicken mites? Spray

by Zach
(New City)

Question
Chicken mites? Spray: I bought 8 in 1 ULTRA CARE pyrethrin spray to kill mites. I sprayed the chicken and its coop.

I don’t think that I sprayed all feathers with mites but I sprayed the tail, wings, and back. I also sprayed the coop sides (but not the bottom where the chicken sits) many times.

The only problem is that it smells like the spray so is that harmful? It also tells me to spray no more than twice a week.

I don’t think I sprayed and killed all of the mites on the chicken so should I still follow this rule?

Answer
Pyrethrins are made from plants and not considered harmful when used according to directions.

Using the spray on chickens and their environment is usually what is recommended. It’s a good idea to thoroughly treat a chicken with the first treatment, but even if you missed a few spots I would still follow the directions.

Over dosing probably won’t kill a chicken, but could make it sick.

The smell of the spray should be safe and will help make it an unfriendly place for the mites, as long as it doesn’t bother the chickens and cause any breathing problems.

Try to air out the coop during the day. Any spray that is safe to spray directly on the chicken is safe to spray on the floor.

The floor is the most likely place for there to be mite eggs and larvae as well as cracks in the floor and walls of the coop.

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Sick Rhode Island red hen

by Carol
(Independence, ky)

Question
Sick Rhode Island red hen: Our hen started loosing feathers on her wings and throat area about 6 weeks ago.

She stopped laying eggs, now it appears she is having some sort of respiratory issue. She seems to have labored breathing and has a cough.

She is eating and walking around in chicken coop. She looks pathetic but I don't have the heart to kill her.

Yet, I don't want my other hens to get sick. We are meticulous with keeping their bedding clean and dry.

Answer
This hen should be on her own somewhere where she is safe and she can’t infect other chickens. The feather loss can be parasites and so can the cough and labored breathing.

There is a mite that infests the air sacks and causes these respiratory difficulties and another mite that digs into the skin at the base of feathers and causes much discomfort and ultimately feather loss.

I prefer Ivermectin as a good broad spectrum anti-parasitic. Your vet could give you the proper dosing for chickens.

It can be given orally, injected or used topically, killing most internal and external parasites.

Keeping bedding clean and dry is good, but mites can lurk in the cracks and crevices of chicken coops, some only come out at night.

I like to sprinkle new bedding with Diatomacious Earth. It’s dirt from fossilized organic matter that helps with internal and external parasites.

I also like to spray down the coop and perches, at least once a month, with a Pyrethrin (made from flowers) spray that is safe on animals and their environment.

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Mites and vitamins

Question
Mites and vitamins: After I sprayed the chicken and coop with pyrethrin spray to kill mites, the next day, the mites were back!

I had to spray it again every day now. Is that a problem? What should I do? Since I have no place near me that sells chicken medicine, I am planning to give the hen human chewy vitamins crushed up in the water. Is that OK? and will that help it?

Answer
I would not suggest giving human vitamins to a chicken. Chicken vitamins are readily available at the feed store and are not expensive.

Vitamin over doses can be as dangerous and deficiencies.

You may be dealing with some kind of insect that isn’t a mite, although pyrethrins usually kill a good variety of insect type pests, as well as mites, fleas and lice.

Spraying the environment is not enough. A thorough clean out of all coop bedding and litter is important, as well as treating the chickens.

If the infestation is serious, you may have to bathe the chickens to help them get rid of these dangerous parasites.

Mites, if left to breed and multiply, can cause serious health problems for chickens. Sometimes they can be brought into the environment by wild birds.

If you continue to have a serious mite problem, you might consider using Diatomaceous Earth (food grade) sprinkled on the floor of the coop and into the shavings or litter.

DE is a fine powder that is actually good for chickens and it kills insects, bugs and mites, without any toxins.

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No Eggs Feet Turned Gray

Question:
No Eggs Feet Turned Gray: I have a one year old Rhode Island Red hen. In the past month and a half she has stopped laying eggs and her feet have turned from orange to gray.

She seems healthy, eats well, and has no other symptoms that I can see. I have three other hens and they are healthy.

Answer:
Feet turning gray could be the beginning of leg mite infestation. These mites burrow under the leg scales, into the tissue underneath. There they feed and breed.

As the infestation continues the leg scales die, become thick and gray, and lift away from the legs.

I prefer to use Ivermectin for this problem. I use the injectable form, withdrawn from the bottle with a needled syringe, but applied from the syringe after removing the needle. Generally one application is plenty to kill all the mites on that chicken.

You will need to thoroughly clean and treat the coop as well, paying special attention to perches/roosts and wooden areas near or on the floor of the coop.

Pyrethrin products work well on both the chickens and the coop, diluted and sprayed according to the directions on the product.

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Bugs in my coop

Question
Bugs in my coop: I've had chickens for many years and have never had any parasite issues, till now.

I cleaned the coop yesterday and when I went in today to collect eggs I came out with 10 or so small black/brown bugs on my boots and pants.

They are bigger than a dog flea and they bite. I panicked and checked my chickens and don’t see any bugs on them. I also have a broody girl whose first egg just hatched.

I bought some diatomaceous earth and sprinkled it everywhere (not to close to the mom and chick) I have searched on line and can not find any thing like them.. any help would be great, thanks

Answer
Parasites would actually be living on the chickens or inside them. From your description, I don’t recognize what kind of bugs these might be.

The DE should help dehydrate them, especially if living in the floor litter of the coop. I would recommend dusting the entire coop, nests too, removing the mom and chick to let the dust settle.

DE can cause a little irritation if inhaled, but it’s not toxic. If the bugs are biting you they may be biting the chickens, so staying on top of this, possibly using a pyrethrin spray, if the DE doesn’t get rid of them, should work and not harm the chickens.

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Red Bottom and Chest

by Jane
(West Yorkshire)

Question:
Red Bottom and Chest: Please could you advise me, just noticed one of our bluebells has a red bottom and chest, she has lost her feathers from these sore looking areas.

She is otherwise really well, active, happy in the group, laying (I think), eating well.

The other 7 chickens seem fine and are showing no symptoms. Fed on layers pellets, mixed grain, veggie scraps.

Have recently been foraging on the allotment. I have looked for mites and lice.... not seen any, but I feel itchy now just thinking about it, having just been handling her to take pics!

Could anyone please advise? She has not been spending time in the nest box, brooding or being pecked at. She is about one year old, free range.

Answer:
This chicken may be pulling at her own feathers and skin due to mites imbedded in the base of the feathers.

You can check with your local feed store for the best product to treat the chickens and the environment.

Most mites are too small to be seen easily, especially if they are under the skin.

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Itching chicken

by Paul

Question
Itching chicken: When my chicken is walking she is scratching herself with both legs I have 4 hens only 1 is doing this have you any ideas?

Answer
She could just have dry skin, which might mean she doesn’t get enough good fat in her diet.

Chicken feeds with rancid animal fats can actually have a toxic reaction which might cause allergy like itchy skin. She could have external parasites.

There are poultry fleas, ticks and lice that can be very irritating to a chicken. Your feed store should have a few products to help.

Chickens love to take dust baths, when they are able. The dry soil can help with parasites.

If this is a parasite infestation, all you chickens are at risk and your coop needs a good cleaning and dusting with appropriate products found at most feed stores.

If you like to avoid chemicals on your chickens and in their environment, you might want to look into Diatomaceous Earth.

There are poultry shampoos, designed for show poultry, but lathering her up well and letting the shampoo stand for about 10 minutes, before rinsing her, should kill off most external parasites.

This won’t help with re-infestation from the environment.

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Silkie Bantam With White Crust

by Yvonne Cook
(Weston Super Mare)

Question
Silkie Bantam With White Crust: I have three bantams.

Two are fine and show no signs of any ailment, but one has a really bad white like crust on feet and the backs of legs,that you can snap off, although most of it is attatched to her and looks sore.

She is a bit wobbley on her feet. It looks like she may have had it a while, I'm not sure what it could be.

I did consider mites etc,,, but then why are my others showing no sign of it..not sure what to treat it as...

It would be great if you could shed some light on this for me.

Answer:
This sounds like what they call scaly leg, which is caused by mites. The other birds may be infected also, but may not yet be showing the full scale signs or may be more immune to them.

There are numerous home remedy treatments for this, although I will tell you ahead of time that I have never had this problem and never tried these remedies.

The least toxic, but the one that takes the longest is covering the legs with vaseline, which smothers the mites. From what I've heard you have to really be diligent for this method to work.

A quicker method would be to mix raw linseed oil and kerosene (parafin) into a 50/50 mixture and dip the birds legs into this.

This should kill the mites right off and you should see a vast improvement in a few treatments.

I would treat all three birds because the chances are that they are all infected but just not all showing the signs yet.

I would also recommend a good cleaning of the coop or pen and a good dusting of diatamaceous earth to prevent the mites from continuing to infect the birds.

Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.

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