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    • CommentAuthorPenny N
    • CommentTimeAug 14th, 2008 12:10pm (Aug 14th 2008)
     
    We all know about them but does ANYBODY really know how to get rid of them!!?
    I returned from a business trip after the only hot week we've had this summer and was appalled to discover both hen houses full of Red Mite. In fact I felt them before I saw them after sticking my head in the back of the house to check that it had been cleaned in my absence. Within 5 minutes my scalp was alive!
    I threw all bedding out of the houses, removed perches and scrubbed everything I could reach with a diluted solution of Jeyes Fluid. I then sprayed it with Poultry Shield. My husband put Red Mite powder on the birds. Three weeks later and although the colony is much reduced they still keep reappearing and only one hen is laying. The red colour has all but disappeared from the comb of Hazel, the cream legbar and she looks pale (if that doesn't sound ridiculous). I therefore assume she's now anaemic.
    Have had a second go at scrubbing out with more Jeyes Fluid but am becoming very depressed at what else to do.
    Any miracle cures out there would be gratefull received.
    Thanks
    Penny
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeAug 14th, 2008 12:38pm (Aug 14th 2008) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Hi Penny,

    I can actually help with this question!

    Occasionally we used to suffer terribly with red mite, and often you don't know you've got a problem until it's too late. We'd dread wiping our hand on the underside of the perches in the coop in a morning and see there are smears of blood - the sure sign of red mite...

    I tried a few different things with mixed results - first of all I tried a pesticide suitable for horses and chickens (!) which I can't remember the name of, but it was a pain to use as you had to spray all the nooks and crannys of the coop, then all over the hens too, and it was quite a nasty chemical which you invariably ended up breathing and getting all over you, so I really didn't want to carry on using that.

    Then I tried the blowtorch method which is basically you cook the little buggers (the mites not the hens!) by giving the coop a good blowing with one of those paint-remover heat-gun things - you have to be careful not to scorch your coop though! It's actually quite effective as the heat penetrates the mite's hiding places.

    Lastly, I found a fantastic solution which is easy to use, and non-harmful to the hens (they can even eat it with no ill-effect!) - it's called Diatomaceous Earth and it's basically a chalk-like powder which is made up of tiny sharp crystals which are statically attracted towards the exoskeleton of the mite's body and eggs and pierce them when they come in contact - so the mite dries out from the inside and dies. As it's a purely physical method of control, the mites can't develop resistance to it as they can with pesticides.

    It's fantastic stuff and you just liberally sprinkle it around the coop (you can even let the hens dust-bathe in it). The act of the mite coming out from it's hiding place to feed means it will get the DE on it which should eradicate the infestation pretty quickly.

    The only thing you need to be careful of is not breathing in the dust from the DE as it isn't good for you, but other than that it's safe and easy to use.

    I don't know what area you live in but I did find DE for sale on ebay in 200g bags - I'm sure a quick google search will return a supplier in your area.

    Anyway, hope this helps and good luck with the fight against red mite - I'm sure you can win the war!
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeAug 14th, 2008 4:31pm (Aug 14th 2008)
     
    Can vets save a chicken with Red Mite?
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeAug 14th, 2008 4:42pm (Aug 14th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    They'll probably recommend you buy something along the lines of Deosect horse/chicken spray pesticide (that's what they did with us).

    Although it's usually not life-threatening, severe red-mite infestations can leave chickens anaemic and more susceptible to disease.

    I would suggest you control the infestation as well you can (ie: more Jeyes / pesticide) until you can get hold of some DE.

    If you have an ill hen then try feeding her scrambled egg - and live yoghurt is supposed to be good for them too.

    Let us know how you get on, and good luck.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeAug 14th, 2008 6:08pm (Aug 14th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    The DE is fantastic - definitely advise putting it in their dust bathing spot as then they are sure to cover themselves in it and will be well protected. It's safe for the chickens to eat, and also helps fight off other parasites as well as red mites. All round good stuff! :thumbup:

    Severe infestations of red mites will result in a drop in egg production because the little boogers are sucking the energy from the hens, and like you said the chickens' combs will turn pale. If left untreated red mites can result in death.

    Like my dad said, we've had problems with red mites in the past, but the DE has cleared that up - good luck with your red mite problem and i hope your girls perk up again soon! :heart:
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeAug 14th, 2008 6:11pm (Aug 14th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Oooh, also, one way to check for red mites is to rub your fingers on the underneath of the perches. If your fingers come away red with blood that's a sure sign that the mites are back!

    We use that method every few weeks to check that we're all clear ;)
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeAug 14th, 2008 6:13pm (Aug 14th 2008)
     
    DE works in human houses as well. I sprinkle it around the edge of each room to keep fleas away. I don't know where you live Penny, but it seems its available in the UK and also in the USA, where I live.
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeAug 14th, 2008 8:53pm (Aug 14th 2008) edited
     
    Isn't it time this thread went off topic?
    It is soooo depressing
    and it's making me itchy
    I daredn't run my fingers under any of my perches ..... yeee-uuuck

    :turkeydance: stamp on 'em, that'll see 'em off.

    Not having any chicks of my own helps a lot.....
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeAug 15th, 2008 9:41am (Aug 15th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Lol Ollie! It's horrible when you first notice them because you can't help but itch afterwards whether you have them on you or not.

    You know if they've fed recently because they are red from the blood. If they haven't eaten for a while they are a grey colour.

    And (this is the worst bit) the nasty little things are about the size of a pinhead, and can live on human hosts...

    I remember once we were in Edinburgh on a little trip and I felt an itching on my side, I lifted my top up and there was a very red and content mite sucking happily away. Eeeeeeewwww!!!

    Only way to kill 'em if you find any on yourself is to crack em between two fingernails.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTori
    • CommentTimeAug 15th, 2008 10:34am (Aug 15th 2008)
     
    uuurrgghhhh thats more than enough info nneeeiiiiiilll .... i dunt feelz so goooddd :ack2::nopity::blink::fierce: but dont worry as i will include some of my favourite smiley thingys ::: :bear::chinchilla::frog3::frog1::cat2::chicken::fish::sun::milly_hen::elvis::ebay::sheep::turkeydance::weather_hot::zzzzz-chick::cookie::_popcorntub::_pecking::rat:
    • CommentAuthorPenny N
    • CommentTimeAug 15th, 2008 11:57am (Aug 15th 2008)
     
    Thank you ALL so much for this helpful advice. I didn't know about Diatom but since reading that so many of you have found it to be effective I've Googled it and have now have it on order.
    My husband meantime is off to get creosote. I know you can't buy it any more (thanks to the European beaurocrats) but my brother-in-law is a farmer and has some in a barn. So this week-end we'll be creosoting one house - the hens will have to all sleep in the other house until it's safe for their return and then we'll do the other house. By that time I should have taken delivery of my DE and I can stop itching! Hopefully. I'll let you know how I get on.
    Penny
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 3:41pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    Where do they come from? I think there was something like that on the windowsill in my living room last week under a stone ornament. I think I cleaned them all up but didn't realise what they were. Could they be the same and if so could they have fallen off and be living in the carpet? (just worried about the cats and rats now!)
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 5:42pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    :shocked:I feel itchy...
    •  
      CommentAuthorAce
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 5:53pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    So do i.
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 6:47pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    I don't think we have them here...
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 6:55pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    So why are you itching....?
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 7:11pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    Dang - how did you KNOW that? (Where's the Vanillacon for *looks fearfully over her shoulder*?)
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 7:19pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    :go:I can SEEEEEEEE YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 7:22pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    Seems like it. :blink:
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeAug 17th, 2008 7:24pm (Aug 17th 2008)
     
    Don't look behind you whatever you do...
    • CommentAuthorLynnW
    • CommentTimeAug 18th, 2008 6:58am (Aug 18th 2008)
     
    Posted By: DianeonWhidbeyI don't think we have them here...


    Yes we do have them here too, Diane. There are lots of things you have to keep an eye out for when you have farm animals.....I'm itching now too..:willy_nilly:
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeAug 18th, 2008 3:21pm (Aug 18th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I think their main way of spreading is via contact with wild birds, so I suppose anywhere birds can go (which is pretty much everywhere eh!)
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeAug 19th, 2008 8:08am (Aug 19th 2008)
     
    I've never heard of 'em and I've got tons of wild yard birds... Maybe all my slugs eat them.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeAug 19th, 2008 10:56am (Aug 19th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Yes, we used to get lots more mite infestations when the chucks free-ranged because the wild birds would pass 'em on...
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeAug 19th, 2008 2:16pm (Aug 19th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    You wouldn't see them Diane, they're usually grey/red and the size of a pinprick and like to hide during the day in cracks/crevices in wood...

    Poultry usually catch them from contact with wild birds, but they can catch them for the earth (the mites eggs can be dormant for many months before hatching). It can be caught from infected bedding (straw for instance) but wild birds are the main culprit.

    I think they are pretty much world-wide as their population can explode given favourable (warm) conditions.

    By the way, I found some statistics from Newcastle University that stated that red mite was prevalent in 87.5% of commercial poultry premises. :(
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeAug 19th, 2008 8:41pm (Aug 19th 2008)
     
    Oh that's great. Just great. :(
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeAug 19th, 2008 9:27pm (Aug 19th 2008)
     
    How's yer itch, chicken? :whistle:
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeAug 20th, 2008 4:52am (Aug 20th 2008) edited
     
    Its doing good. Thanks :hyper_chick::_present:
    • CommentAuthorPenny N
    • CommentTimeAug 20th, 2008 1:22pm (Aug 20th 2008)
     
    Am still waiting for the DE to arrive! Meantime we 'chickened out' (sorry!) of using the creosote in the hope the Diatom will do the trick. I keep scrubbing the perches with Poultry Shield and spraying around the house but I can find (and feel) at least a handful of the little beggars every time I open the house. Only one hen laying and then infrequently and Hazel, although very lively, still has a pale pink comb.
    I'm interested to hear that red mites come from wild birds. I did wonder where they came from in the first place. I also wondered how poultry farmers avoid getting them and even worse, deal with them if and when they do get an infestation.
    Incidentally, if Diatrom is a powder, how do I treat the sides and ceiling of the hen house? I have seen red mite in crevices along the top of the roof so they get everywhere. They also jump! God I'm itching while I'm writing....
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeAug 20th, 2008 1:28pm (Aug 20th 2008) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Penny, put the DE in their sleeping material and in the chicken's dust bathing area. Then, when the mites crawl out from their hiding places to feed (yack! :fierce: )they will come into contact with the powder either from the hens themselves or the bedding, and will die.

    Good luck!
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeAug 20th, 2008 8:51pm (Aug 20th 2008)
     
    I also take a spoon and just fling it at the places I want it to lodge. And I definitely put it around the edge of the room where the problem is.
    •  
      CommentAuthornancy
    • CommentTimeAug 27th, 2008 5:13pm (Aug 27th 2008)
     
    Penny why dont you just buy an extra large bag of DE and sprinkle it in every corner of the coop. Or better yet, throw it everywhere like a snow storm:) This red mite thing is really making me uncomfortable. I think I might have encountered these little bugger when the pigeon family moved to my porch. But the bugs I saw were grey, perhaps they did not fed yet?:O
    • CommentAuthorFeatherman
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd, 2008 9:03pm (Sep 2nd 2008)
     
    Hi Guys, just thought I'd stick my two-pennyworth in: We've been battling red mite for a couple of weeks or so now - every time I think we've got them on the run they're back again. Been searching the web like mad (which is how I found this site) and came across something that might be very significant - for me anyway. Felt roof's are supposed to be impossible to clean out properly. Now our coop has a couple of mdf roof sections which are covered in roofing felt: I guess this must be what they mean by a felt roof... If it ever stops raining I'm thinking of taking one section off and trying to rip the felt stuff off to see what I can find.... will update here if and when I do.
    btw, and rather off topic: If anyone is from around Bromley in Kent, we have a (new) website chickens4all.co.uk meant to help local owners get in contact etc - we don't sell anything so hopefully no competition with these guys but if you live nearby then please get in touch.
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd, 2008 11:07pm (Sep 2nd 2008)
     
    These are nasty little blighters aren't they (the mites, not Featherman LOL!!!) I'm sure everyone will be pleased if you keep them updated. I suppose the mites can get in the felt and breed quite happily so it does seem logical. Is there an alternative to felt?
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd, 2008 5:13am (Sep 3rd 2008)
     
    I think red mites may become a leader in bringing folks to the site Neil. There's an up side to everything it seems...
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd, 2008 5:13am (Sep 3rd 2008)
     
    Metal is an alternative to felt. :D
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd, 2008 4:11pm (Sep 3rd 2008)
     
    Blooming hot though. Ours is wood, with felt overlay covered with soundproofing.
    • CommentAuthorFeatherman
    • CommentTimeSep 9th, 2008 5:59pm (Sep 9th 2008)
     
    Not much of an update, as its still raining most of the time; seem to have got them on the run, they like to group in the same places for some unknown reason, so now I know eher most of them are I can do selective culls more easily. Also, regarding squashing them - when they are red (and full of blood) they squash easily and are easier to see. When they are brown they seem to be tough little blighters and I have seem some survive a crushing between two fingers - so in the morning is the best time for decimation (can you tell there is a war going on here ?). Does anyone know if the winter cold affects them?
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeSep 9th, 2008 7:09pm (Sep 9th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: FeathermanDoes anyone know if the winter cold affects them?

    Nope, they're hardy little boogers. Can survive in very cold & very hot temperatures. Ain't they lovely? :P
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeSep 9th, 2008 7:54pm (Sep 9th 2008)
     
    Why not give up with the hens and just have mites as pets?
    They would need a feed now and then though.....
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeSep 10th, 2008 10:33am (Sep 10th 2008) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Ugh! That time when baby Milly came up for a cuddle and you could *see* all the mites crawling in her feathers. I seriously felt sick :ack2:

    Mites make me shudder...
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeSep 10th, 2008 10:55am (Sep 10th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    the ideal crushing method is between two thumbnails...
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeSep 10th, 2008 9:27pm (Sep 10th 2008)
     
    I used to do that with cat fleas.
    •  
      CommentAuthorTori
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2008 12:53pm (Sep 14th 2008)
     
    :beurk::tongue::icon_ninja::_oh::ack2::ack2::ack2:
    •  
      CommentAuthorAce
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2008 12:54pm (Sep 14th 2008)
     
    :iagree:
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2008 1:18pm (Sep 14th 2008)
     
    I drop the fleas in water. Cruel but less :_puke: than squishing them...
    •  
      CommentAuthorAce
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2008 1:20pm (Sep 14th 2008)
     
    I think that is a better idea. ;)
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2008 7:21pm (Sep 14th 2008)
     
    Does that work? Or do you need soap in the water? I think you may have just been taking your fleas for a little swim, CC...
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2008 8:04pm (Sep 14th 2008)
     
    I agree there. Have found fleas can survive dunking in water. A drop of suds in it is a good idea.
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeSep 14th, 2008 9:31pm (Sep 14th 2008)
     
    Dunking, yes. Total immersion overnight, no. And then down the plug'ole...
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeSep 15th, 2008 12:01am (Sep 15th 2008)
     
    THey can paddle to the side and jump out! Besides which, fleas lay eggs in the carpets and that's where they keep coming back from.
    • CommentAuthorPenny N
    • CommentTimeSep 15th, 2008 12:49pm (Sep 15th 2008)
     
    Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou..... to everybody who recommended Diamotaceous Earth (DE - Diamot). Had to wait ages to get it as supplier 'lost' my first order but it absolutely did the trick!! The colour returned to Hazel's comb and she's showed her gratitude by producing her lovely turquoise eggs every 2 days. Even one of the Brahmas has started laying. I am now super-vigilent about checking daily for any return of the Red Mite and making sure bedding is scrupulously clean and house sprayed with Poultry Shield weekly. I put the Diamot on the straw and even along the perches. It workks - and my head has stopped itching!! Many, many thanks.
    Penny
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeSep 15th, 2008 1:10pm (Sep 15th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: Penny NThankyou, thankyou, thankyou..... to everybody who recommended Diamotaceous Earth (DE - Diamot). Had to wait ages to get it as supplier 'lost' my first order but it absolutely did the trick!! The colour returned to Hazel's comb and she's showed her gratitude by producing her lovely turquoise eggs every 2 days. Even one of the Brahmas has started laying. I am now super-vigilent about checking daily for any return of the Red Mite and making sure bedding is scrupulously clean and house sprayed with Poultry Shield weekly. I put the Diamot on the straw and even along the perches. It workks - and my head has stopped itching!! Many, many thanks.
    Penny


    Penny, so glad it has worked!! That's great that Hazel has perked up and started laying again :boogie:
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeSep 15th, 2008 9:51pm (Sep 15th 2008)
     
    I just LOVE Hen Cam. That's great news Penny! :heart:
    •  
      CommentAuthorKateb
    • CommentTimeSep 15th, 2008 10:26pm (Sep 15th 2008)
     
    I suppose its what its here for - we just join in for the chat!

    That's such good news Penny - if ever I hear about red mite I'll be able to tell people where to find the solution. Your hens must be so grateful!
    •  
      CommentAuthorDianeonWhidbey
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2008 4:51am (Sep 16th 2008)
     
    Its here because Neil got drunk at the pub one night :loco:
    •  
      CommentAuthorJonny
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2008 5:39am (Sep 16th 2008)
     
    Guinness will do that to yah! :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorchief chicken
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2008 4:36pm (Sep 16th 2008)
     
    EVERY time...:drunk:
    •  
      CommentAuthorAce
    • CommentTimeSep 16th, 2008 7:12pm (Sep 16th 2008)
     
    :cheers2:
    • CommentAuthorBishBashBosh
    • CommentTimeAug 29th, 2009 2:06pm (Aug 29th 2009)
     
    If anyone finds this topic in an urgent search like I did then I can tell you that Scats sell Diatom (DE) for about £17 for a 2kg tub :)

    Thanks for the tip Neil!