If you own chickens, it’s important to know how to kill chicken mites. These pesky pests can cause significant harm to your birds, and they’re notoriously difficult to eradicate once they take hold in your coop. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get rid of chicken mites and keep your birds healthy and happy. Below, we’ll share some of our top tips for killing chicken mites and preventing them from returning.
What are chicken mites?
Chicken mites (also known as red mites or roost mites) are tiny, blood-sucking parasites that live in chicken coops and on the birds themselves. Unlike lice, which only live on the chickens, mites can survive for long periods of time without a host. They’ll hide in cracks in the coop during the day, and then come out at night to feed on the chickens while they sleep. Mites can cause irritation, anemia, and even death if left untreated.
How do you know if your chickens have mites?
There are a few signs that your chickens may have mites. These include:
- Restlessness at night (since the mites are active then)
- Red or black dots on their skin or feathers (these are the mites themselves, or their feces)
- Weight loss, decreased egg production, or other signs of illness
If you suspect your chickens have mites, a good first step is to inspect them carefully for any signs of infestation. You can also examine your coop for signs of mite activity, such as black or red spots on the walls or nesting boxes.
How do you kill chicken mites?
Clean and disinfect your coop
The first step in killing chicken mites is to thoroughly clean and disinfect your coop. Remove all bedding, nests, and other materials from inside the coop, and scrub the walls, floors, and roof with a strong disinfectant solution. Pay special attention to cracks and crevices where mites may be hiding. Let the coop dry completely before replacing any bedding or nest boxes.
Be sure to repeat this process every few weeks to keep mites from returning.
Treat your birds
There are several products available that can help you treat your birds for mites. These may include powders, sprays, or other topical treatments. Follow the instructions on the label carefully, and be sure to treat all of your birds (even if only one or two appear to be infested).
You may also want to consider giving your birds regular dust baths, which can help keep mites at bay.
Use diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is a natural substance made from the microscopic remains of algae-like plants. It’s often used as an insecticide, and is a popular choice for killing chicken mites. Sprinkle a generous amount of diatomaceous earth throughout your coop, paying special attention to cracks and crevices where mites may be hiding. The sharp edges of the diatomaceous earth will cut the mites and cause them to dehydrate and die.
Apply sticky traps
Sticky traps (also known as glue traps) can be a useful tool in killing chicken mites. These traps are covered in a sticky substance that will trap any mites that come into contact with them. Hang the traps throughout your coop, and be sure to check and replace them regularly.
How do you prevent chicken mites?
Practice good coop hygiene
The best way to prevent chicken mites is to keep your coop clean and dry. Change out bedding regularly, and be sure to remove any wet or soiled material promptly. Inspect your coop regularly for signs of mite activity, and address any problems promptly.
Quarantine new birds
If you’re bringing new birds into your flock, be sure to quarantine them for a few weeks to ensure they’re not carrying any mites or other pests.
Use natural repellants
Some natural substances, such as garlic or peppermint, are thought to repel mites. Consider adding these to your coop or to your birds’ feed to help keep mites at bay.
If you’re dealing with chicken mites, don’t despair. With persistence and careful attention to hygiene, you can get rid of these pesky pests and keep your flock healthy and happy.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What causes chicken mites?
- Can I get chicken mites?
- How long do chicken mites live?
- What other pests are common in chicken coops?
- How do I know if my coop is clean enough?
Chicken mites are typically introduced to a coop through new birds or contaminated materials. They can also be spread by wild birds or rodents.
While chicken mites don’t typically feed on humans, they can still cause irritation and discomfort if they come into contact with your skin. Avoid handling infested birds or materials, and be sure to wear gloves and protective clothing if you need to clean out a mite-infested coop.
Chicken mites can live for up to a year without a host. This makes them difficult to eradicate, as they can hide in the coop and then re-infest your birds at a later date.
In addition to chicken mites, coops may be infested with lice, fleas, ticks, or other pests. The best way to prevent these pests is to keep your coop clean and dry, and to inspect your birds and their living areas regularly.
If you’re not sure whether your coop is clean enough, try the white sock test. Wear a pair of white socks and walk around inside your coop. If your socks stay clean, your coop is probably free of mites and other pests. If you see black or red spots on your socks, it’s time to do some more cleaning.
Brown, L. (2011). Chicken mites: Prevention and treatment. Backyard Poultry, 6(3), 38-39.
Maciorowski, K. G. (2012). Understanding ectoparasites in backyard chickens. Poultry Science, 91(4), 870-876.
Smith, M. L. (2019). Chicken mites: How to prevent and get rid of them. Hobby Farms. Retrieved from https://www.hobbyfarms.com/chicken-mites-and-how-to-get-rid-of-them-2/