Red mites live in the nooks and crannies of chicken houses, feeding on chickens at night. Once again this year looks to be offering optimal conditions for red mite development. Owners of affected chickens may notice that their chickens look pale, and/or hunched and listless; they may experience a drop in egg production; affected chickens may also show an increase in grooming and a reluctance in going to roost at night. A heavy red mite infestation can be fatal. Only in the most extreme infestations will red mite be detected on the chicken. To identify the parasite the crevices of the hen house should be examined, ideally with a torch at night. Effective control of the mite involves thorough cleaning of the hen house.
Permethrin powders and sprays can be used to help kill mites in the house. Diatomaceous earth products can also help reduce mite burden, they can be used in the house and applied directly to the birds. For optimal red mite management medicating the birds will kill mites that have been missed by the environmental treatments. If you are concerned that your poultry may be affected by a red mite infestation please do not hesitate to contact the surgery for advise and recommendations of the most effective treatments available.