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Effectively treating red mites in chickens

Effectively treating red mites in chickens

If you have chickens, you’ll undoubtedly have heard of red mites (also called chicken mites). It’s a tricky problem that can only be controlled with an effective approach that involves implementing multiple measures at the same time. The chickens themselves can even help out with this!

What are red mites?

Red mites are a type of insect that are transmitted to poultry by wild birds (they are sometimes also called bird mites). Adult red mites bite their hosts and drink their blood in order to reproduce. Besides being unpleasant for the chicken, it can also lead to anaemia and disease. Red mites can multiply very rapidly, with adult red mites able to lay about eight eggs a day under favourable conditions.;

The life cycle of red mites consists of three stages – egg, larva and the adult red mite. The eggs are the ‘strongest link’ in the cycle, as they are able to survive winter, while the adult red mites are killed by frost. The larvae don’t yet have a hard shell around their bodies and are therefore relatively vulnerable. If you want to control red mites effectively, you have to address all three stages. Otherwise, the problem will keep coming back. That’s why you need to implement several different measures, both inside the coop and on the chickens themselves.

How do I know if I have red mites?

It can be difficult to tell if there are red mites around chickens. Adult red mites feed only once every six days, and only at night. You don’t see red mites during the daytime, as they’re hidden in cracks and crevices in the coop, avoiding detection by the chickens (chickens will eat mites when they see them). As the mites attack at night, one sign of an infestation is when the chickens no longer want to sit on the perches in the coop.

You can also check for any dark spots in the cracks and crevices in the coop, as those are the places where the mites retreat to during the day and lay their eggs (the dark spots are the eggs). If you can see these dark spots with the naked eye, that means there’s a lot of mites! Blotches of blood on the chicken eggs can also be a sign of mites, as the chicken eggs have rolled over and popped the swollen, blood-filled mites.

The best method for detecting red mites on time is with a red mite test. The tubes, which can be reused for years, are hung from the underside of the perches with zip ties. Red mites use the tubes as nesting sites, as they are in close proximity to their hosts, the chickens, yet safe at the same time because the chickens are unable to get to them. Check the little stick in the tubes daily or weekly for an infestation and to make sure the mites don’t come back.

Five steps to control red mites

A comprehensive approach for red mites in chickens consists of five steps:

  • Hang up red mite tests;
  • Make the chickens unattractive to red mites by giving them a supplement;
  • Properly clean the coop to get rid of red mite eggs;
  • Make the routes from the mites’ hiding places to the chickens impassable;
  • Implement preventive measures to improve your chickens’ resistance.

Step 1 Hang up red mite tests

Hang a red mite test tube under the perches in the coop. It will tell you whether you need to treat for red mites and for how long. Pull the little stick out of the tube to check for red mites.

Step 2: Make the chickens unattractive to red mites

If the red mite test shows the presence of red mites or if you have seen evidence of red mites with your eyes, immediately start mixing Finecto+ Oral into the regular feed. When this supplement is in the chickens’ blood, the chickens will be unattractive to red mites, as the chickens’ blood will become indigestible to the mites. Without blood, it also means that they will no longer be able to lay any eggs. The supplement therefore acts by disrupting the mites’ life and reproductive cycle.

Add Finecto+ Oral to your chickens’ feed for 14 days. Be aware that you will initially see more red mites scurrying around in the coop. As they can no longer feed on the chickens’ blood, they will be hungry and go in search of food even during the day. This is beneficial, as the chickens will eat any mites out in the open and help control them! Finecto+ Oral therefore helps you control the adult red mites.

Step 3: Keep the coop clean

Spray down the coop with lots of water, preferably with a pressure-washer so you can blast away most of the eggs in cracks and crevices. 

Step 4: Use a spray and make perches inaccessible

After allowing the coop to dry thoroughly, spray it down with Finecto+ Protect, making sure to spray the perches and all cracks and crevices, as well as any routes going from the cracks and crevices to the perches. Repeat every two weeks. The spray acts like a layer of sandpaper, with juvenile mites that traverse this surface tearing open their bellies and drying out. Adult mites, however, are not deterred by this layer, which is why it’s important to implement steps 2, 3 and 4 in combination.

Step 5: Increase the chickens’ resistance

Your chickens’ disease resistance is also important. Make a dust bath with fine sand for the chickens to bathe in. The sand particles between the feathers act like a natural barrier against the mites. In addition, also mix Finendo+ Cox & Worm into the feed. This will improve the chickens’ immunity and also fights intestinal bacteria.

Conclusion: Implement a comprehensive approach for red mites

Red mite can unfortunately not be controlled with a single measure. If not all the mites and their life stages are dealt with, the problem will return. That’s why we always recommend using a multi-measure approach like the series of steps above. It also helps to make a dust bath for your chickens, as the sand granules between the feathers help to repel red mites. Red mite eggs are able to survive winter and still hatch a year later – the coast will therefore not be completely clear until every last egg has hatched!

Finecto+ combinationkit for chickens / birds / reptiles
Finecto+ combinationkit for chickens / birds / reptiles
  • Makes the blood and environment unattractive for mites
  • 100% natural, does not contain poison
  • No waiting time. The eggs can still be eaten during and after the treatment
  • If ordered before 16.00, shipped the same day!
  • 300 gram supplement and 1 Liter spray
Finecto Red mite test
Finecto Red mite test
  • Test to check on red mites
  • Tubes which you can place onto the perch
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