Chicken Mites: Types, Treatments, & Prevention

Chicken mites: types, treatment and prevention

External parasites are almost impossible to avoid when rearing chicken. Fortunately, as long as you regularly check health and use preventative measures, you can help keep your flock free from parasites. Mite is one of the most common external parasites in chickens. You need to know how to identify, treat and prevent chicken mites to keep your pet healthy and without any harm. 

How is the chicken mites look like?

How is the chicken mites look like?

Chicken mites are tiny insects, or external parasites, that can live both inside and outside of their host. The general appearance and color of these small parasites varies depending on the type of parasite. The best way to identify different types of external parasites is by the shape, color, or number of legs of the parasite

 Here are three common mites that can affect chickens and what they look like:

 Northern  fowl Mites -

 dark color, yellow if it is young or has not fed recently, eight feet, very small and invisible to the naked eye.

 Red mites-

 oblong shape, red color especially when eating, eight feet
 Mites scaly paw mite - a deadly type of mite, invisible to the naked eye, which is easily recognized by signs and symptoms.
Scaly leg mites - 

type of burrowing mite, invisible to the naked eye, which is easily recognized by signs and symptoms.
Another external parasite that can live in chickens is lice. Lice are larger than mites.  They only have six legs, are longer in shape and are often pale in color
Mites spread to chickens through direct contact. Chickens can be infected by new birds added to the flock with external parasites. They can also carry external parasites from wild birds, which can be a concern for free-ranging flocks or if wild birds have access to the flock's food or enclosure. you. Once chickens have external parasites, they quickly spread throughout the flock.
Mites can live up to three weeks without a host. They can get into the cracks and holes of the chicken house and their equipment will stay in the environment until they can return to the host (chicken). 

Types of chicken mites
The three most common chicken mites to affect chickens are fowl mites, red mites, and scaly leg mites. 

Northern fowl mites feed on chicken blood and usually live in the northern region because they prefer a cooler weather. They can live with chickens and in chicken houses. They are one of the most common external parasites that affect backyard flock.

 Red mite also feeds on chicken blood, but it is more common in warm and humid climates. They are common in the United States and can live on or off chickens.

 Scaly leg mites are burrowing mites that live under the scales on the feet and legs of chickens. They feed on the keratin under the scales and are common.
Fortunately, most chicken mites have a short life cycle. They live, reproduce and die in about a week to 10 days. However, it can be difficult to get rid of them completely because many treatments do not kill the parasite's eggs, which are also called "nits." Treatment can kill all live parasites, but parasites can reappear once the nits hatch. 

Signs that chickens have mites

Signs that chickens have mites

Chicken mites can be difficult to recognize until severe symptoms appear. It is always a good idea to check the health of your flock regularly so that you can catch chicken mites before they become a serious problem.

 Here are some signs to look for that may indicate your flock has external parasites:

  •  Dirty vent feather


  • Pin size holes in flight feathers

  • Reduced egg production


  • Excessive preening


  • Raised scales on legs and feet 

  • Debris under the scales of the legs and feet 
  • Limping

  • Parasites usually congregate at the bottom of the wing follicles 

  • A living parasite

External parasites can cause chickens to preen their feathers more than usual to compensate for the pain they may be suffering from itching feeling, crawling parasites. Egg production can also decrease, or even stop altogether, if external parasites begin to stress the hen.

 The safest way to detect external parasites is to inspect your birds for parasites themselves. Chicken mites are red mites that live in the skin around the chicken's vent in the tail area, under the wings near the armpits, and even in the head feathers of crrested chickens. If you see mites in chickens, you will know that your flocks are infected with parasites and that the insects have migrated to the head of the birds.
External parasites can cause dirty butt feather since the parasite like to live and lay their eggs near places where the chickens are warm and moist. Too many eggs can collect debris and cause feces to stick to chicken litter.
Mites that live under or around the chicken's feather area cause small pinholes to appear in the chicken's flight litter. You can inspect chicken feathers for mite holes by gently spreading the feathers and holding them to a light to look for small holes.
Scaly leg mites can be easily diagnosed by examining your chicken's legs and feet. Scaly leg mites cause scales on the feet and legs of chickens. You may also notice that the scales seem to have compressed the underlying debris or that they shed keratin when the parasite feeds. A sore throat can cause discomfort in the legs and lead to lameness. An infected chicken may also try to "prune" its legs to stop the mite's irritation. 

How to check chicken mites
Chickens mites are very small and often barely be seen with the naked eye. It is often easier to detect the signs of mites because the eggs have developed and the mites are constantly feeding on them, making them appear larger and darker in color. However, once a parasite problem reaches the point of infection, it becomes more dangerous to the health of your flock and is more difficult to treat.
The easiest place to check chickens for external parasites is around the air vents, or between the fallen feathers! Usually you can separate the feathers about 8 inches above the vent and find a clear area of ​​skin where there are no feather marks. Inspect the skin area for crawling parasites.
You can also use the duct tape trick to try to get a sample of external parasites if your bird has them. Use a piece of tape to stick firmly to the bottom of the wing near the air vent. Do not use the tape over the chicken's vents. Gently remove the piece of tape and check it for any bacteria stuck to the tape. If you have a microscope at home, you may find it interesting to examine small insects under the microscope. Examining under a microscope can also help you better identify the types of mites your chickens are dealing with.

 Treatments of chicken mite
If you've discovered that your flock may be infected, you'll want to start treatment right away. The longer the young bacteria are left, the more likely their numbers will grow. Each mite lays eggs that can spawn hundreds of other mites, allowing the parasite population to grow exponentially and causing serious health problems for affected chickens.
Chicken mite treatment can be very close to natural to synthetic drug treatment. In severe cases, treatment will be the best option to treat the parasites as quickly and effectively as possible before they cause further damage to your herd. If you catch chicken mites before they become serious, some simple, natural remedies can effectively get rid of the mites. 

Here are some common treatments for chicken mite:

Diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous earth is made of the hard exoskeleton of diatoms. Diatom exoskeletons cut off external parasites and freeze them, which can be an effective way to kill live chicken mites. However, diatomaceous earth is very fine and dust-like, which can irritate the respiratory system of the treated chicken and the person in charge. If inhaled too much, sharp diatoms can damage the lungs. When spread around the chicken's environment, diatomaceous earth can cause the chicken coop bedding to become dusty. Diatomaceous earth only kills live parasite and does not kill nits.

 Garlic juice

Garlic juice is an effective topical antibiotic treatment that can be effective against mild parasite if used properly and. To create a garlic juice spray treatment treatment, mix 1 ounce of 100% pure garlic juice with 10 ounces of water. You will need to spray the solution on the infected birds every day. Shake the bottle every now and then as you apply the spray to ensure the garlic juice is well mixed. It may take up to three weeks of consistent application to treat chicken mite. 

Permethrin is a common chemical treatment for chicken mites. It can be used in liquid chemical form or in powder form. Permethrin can be applied directly to infected birds and used in the chicken coop. However, Permethrin is toxic to cats. If you have a cat, you will want to be careful not to expose them to chemicals. Permethrin 10% has no downtime for laying hens.

Flea and Ticks sprays and Dips

 However, many flea and tick sprays and dips are not approved for use on food animals, such as chickens. If you are using one of these remedies, it may be a good idea to set up a time to retrieve the eggs. Many flea and tick sprays and dips must be repeated until all the parasite eggs have developed, because the treatment only kills live insects, but not eggs that have not been hatched.


Spinosad is an excellent treatment for chicken mite. Spinosad can be found in branded products such as Elector PSP. It is a good pest treatment to use on food animals (such as chickens) and there is no time for eggs or meat witdrawal. To create a spray, you will need to mix 9 ml of Spinosad per 1 gallon of water. The treatment can be applied directly to the sick birds and can be sprayed around the chicken house without removing the bedding from the chicken house. Just be sure to remove the feed and water from your flock before spreading the treatment around the chicken coop. You cannot use leftover Spinosad solution because it loses its effectiveness as it hardens. The best part about Spinosad is that it kills both live insects and nits, so application is rarely necessary. 

How to apply mite spray

Treatment should be sprayed directly on the skin of the chicken. You'll want to pay special attention to where mites like to congregate, such as around the air vents, under the wings, and on the top of the crested chicken's wings.

 Applying a chicken mite treatment indicator is usually a two-person job. One person should hold the chicken firmly while the other person pours the water. The best way to hold the chicken while soaking is to gently hold both of the chicken's legs and hold the bird in the palm of your hand with the other hand. Then turn the bird so that its back is towards your chest. Once in the flipped position, you can gently hit the bird so that its back is facing up and it is easier for the other person to reach it and apply the mite treatment. Treat areas such as the head and under the wings by gently holding the bird against you while supporting its legs in one hand and its wings in the other. 

The person applying the spray will need to gently separate the feathers so that the water reaches the skin of the chicken directly. When applying the medicine to the chicken's head, be careful not to spray the chicken's eyes, nose, or ears. The same application method can be used when treating chickens with diatomaceous earth.

For solutions that should be injected, such as garlic juice or Spinosad, shake the bottle frequently as you treat each bird in your flock. Shaking the bottle will ensure that the solution is well mixed and does not separate. Spray anywhere that needs to be treated well, but don't put on the chicken. The skin of the chicken should be moist, but the wings should be dry.

 You'll want to treat all the chickens in your flock even if you don't find parasites in any of the birds. You will also need to treat the chicken house and run, because chicken mites can live in the environment for a while. If the coop is not treated quickly, the live viruses can return to the birds and cause them to recover. To heal the coop and run, remove as much waste as possible and remove food and water from your flock.
Apply liberally the mite treatment of your choice to the coop and garden. If the treatment is a drip treatment, allow the coop to dry before adding new bedding and returning your flock's feed and water to the coop. If you are using the Spinosad treatment, just remove the feed and water from the coop.
For any mite treatment except Spinosad, you will need to remove your flock within 5 to 7 days to kill any mites that emerge from the eggs. Sometimes it will be necessary to return to your flock two or three more times after the first treatment to kill any mites that have emerged. It is always a good idea to continue checking chicken mites for two to three weeks after treating your flock so you can catch nits before they become infected again. st sprays





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