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Red Mite Control - How to Get Rid of Red Mites

In recent years, keeping chickens at home seems to have been growing in popularity. Keeping poultry has many benefits but they do require care and attention, whether your flock is large or small. Protection against foxes and other predators always has to be at the forefront of any budding chicken keeper but there are also the dangers of red poultry mites.

Categories of Mite Control Products
Tell-Tale signs of a Red Mite Infestation
A red mite infestation can occur at any time, due to the fact that they are known to travel with wild birds. If these mites gain access to the chicken coop, the population can increase drastically within a few days depending on the number of chickens. Once in residence, adult mites can live up to a year feeding off your birds, continuously multiplying.
Heavy infestations can cause noticeable changes in your chickens making an infestation easy to notice despite the mites' small size of less than 1mm. The birds will become flighty, prone to feather pecking, suffer from poor weight gain and will noticeably reduce their egg production rate. In severe cases, birds have been known to die from the predation of the mites, but they can also infest the respiratory tracks of the chickens causing suffocation.
Red Poultry Mites are not exclusive to birds, they are more than happy to feast on any intruding human. An infestation can be noticed earlier if you find yourself agitated and itching after cleaning out your coop. The mites can also still be attached to you so make sure you do not spread the infestation into your home.

Treating a Red Mite Infestation
As mentioned earlier, before entering a coop that needs treatment it is advisable to wear Protective Clothing to prevent the mites affecting you and potentially spreading the infestation further. Any disposable overalls worn must be disposed of in an external bin after treatment.
Before any insecticides are used, the living area of the birds must be thoroughly cleaned. Birds, eggs and any food or water must be removed, and bedding disposed of. The most effective form of cleaning would be by power washing and/or steam cleaning both inside and outside of the house structure.
Only products cleared for use in animal houses must be used, Pest Control Supplies offers a wide range of approved products.
The chicken house can be fully fumigated, killing the majority of live mites in the enclosure, using a permethrin based smoke or fog. Powders and sprays must be inserted into all cracks and crevices within the coop, and sprayed onto any surfaces where mites will come into contact. Some powders can be directly applied to the birds in infested houses, for example the desiccant diatomaceous earth, which will kill any mites harbouring within the feathers.
For large scale treatments in a professional capacity, the highly effective Perbio Choc is possibly one of the strongest oil based ready to use insecticides available for Red Poultry Mite treatment. It should also be noted that intensively reared poultry can also be host to the less common European Fowl Mite. The main difference being that they live on the body of the host and not within the structure of the house, therefore the control strategy should focus solely on the birds themselves.

Keeping your Chickens Safe from Predators
Foxes are the biggest predator of chickens but other animals and pets in the local area can also cause harm, for example cats. Have a look at our other How To Guides for hints and tips about keeping these specific pests away from your coop.
The best way to protect your brood would be to fully secure the area in which the chickens are kept. Electrical fencing, wire mesh and fixing wooden boards to the bottom of fencing are the most popular forms of prevention, averting climbing or digging by local predators. It is also recommended to shut your chickens away at night within a secure coop.
Just like any other beloved pet in the household, care and vigilance over your flock will help them live a happy and healthy life.