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Questions and Answers

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...Poultry - Pests and Predators...

  1. What can be done about problems with Vermin?
  2. How can I get rid of Red Mite?
  3. What are Lice and Body Mites?
  4. How to treat Scaley Leg Mites?

1. What can be done about problems with Vermin? Page Top
Use traps or poisons to catch vermin.
You can also use a professional pest controller or your local authority Environmental Health department may be able to help.
Keep foodstocks in closed containers. Tidy all feeders away at night. You might want to try hanging feeders, storing feed in tight-fitting containers and avoiding spillage.
Keeping a cat will help to keep mice away.
2. How can I get rid of Red Mite? Page Top
Dismantle all removable items from the coop and spray or dust with any of the proprietary treatments available.
Organic treatments are available. Steam clean or carefully blow torch all affected areas.
Replace infested felt on the roof with corrugated bitumen.
Some Vets will prescribe endectocide treatment for all mites/lice including red mite. The medicine is applied as drops to the skin and enters the blood stream and becomes effective when the mites feed.
Test at night by wiping a clean white kitchen towel along the underside of the perches. Any blood streaks will indicate red mite presence.
Infestation may be brought in with new stock or wild birds can infect hens at any time. Vigilance at all times is needed!
Tip: Use a steam cleaner in Chicken Coops. Kills everything (red mites, bugs and germs) without resorting to chemicals.
3. What are Lice and Body Mites? Page Top
Strings of tiny light coloured eggs or clumps that look like grains of rice clinging to feathers are eggs from lice. Lice move and hide quickly but can leave scabs on the skin.
Body mites are tiny red or light brown insects that look like spiders crawling on chickens skin.
Dust your birds with insecticidal powder and clean out coop to discourage the parasites from coming back.
Sprinkle insecticidal powder into all cracks, crevices. Use only a powder approved for poultry.
4. How to treat Scaley Leg Mites? Page Top
If the scales on chickens legs are raised instead of lying smoothy then there are Leg Mites. They burrow under scales. They can be quite painful and cause the chicken to walk stiff legged.
Surgical spirit can be applied by dunking both legs completely in a narrow jar once a week for 3 weeks.
You can also rub the legs with Vaseline or brush perches and legs of all chickens with vegetable oil. Dusting the poultry house with mite powder is also useful to kill mites and lice.
The scales can take up to a year to grow back to normal. Do not pick them off the legs.

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