Red mites are some of the most common mites that affect chickens.
Red mites are generally spread by wild birds coming into contact with your chicken coop. They hide in the dark spots of the chicken coop during the day and then come out at night to feed on your feathered friends. They’ll go hide again when the sun comes up.
To identify whether your hens have red mites or not, you’ll have to have a close look at your chickens feathers and skin. If you can see black and red small spots, then these are most likely red mites. The tiny mites vary in appearance, depending on when they last fed – a mite is only red when it has consumed blood recently and changes colour again through black to grey if it has been a while since their last feed. The best time to examine a hen house is at night, when the mites can often be seen with the aid of a torch, both on and off the bird.
How red mites affect your chickens:
If left untreated, the mites can cause your chickens to become anaemic and reduce their egg production. In extreme cases if left untreated, they may even cause death, so quick treatment is necessary!
How to prevent red mites:
Keep the coop clean, and make sure you have a good look in all the dark corners and joins in timber etc. Red mites hide in the corners of your hen house or nest box bedding during the day. If you find any tiny red crawlies then wash your coop thoroughly with high pressure hose or water blaster. Once dry dust with Smite.
If you are introducing new birds to the flock, check them for mites before you put them in your chicken coop to ensure they don’t transfer any mites to your existing feathered friends.
Chickens need an area for dust bathing, even if they’re in a coop full time. This is the best prevention for lice and mites.