Red mite can be a tricky problem to deal with when keeping chickens. Red mites are small parasitic mites that live in your chicken coop in the daytime and feed off the blood of your chickens at night. All types of chicken coops can get red mite however wooden coops tend to suffer from infestations the most.
A beautiful white and ginger chicken searching for some bug in the garden
All Omlet’s Eglu chicken coops are made from plastic which make it very difficult for red mites to make a home. They are quick and easy to clean in the event that there is a Red mite infestation; a quick blast with a pressure washer should do the trick.
Symptoms and Signs of Red Mite
- Drop in egg production
- Pale comb and wattles
- Presence of red or grey mites in the coop or on the bird around the vent area.
Top Tip: When checking your chicken coop for red mites check the perch’s at the end and cracks and crevices. An even easier way to check is to run a white paper towel underneath the perches at night. If there are red mites, at this time they will be on the underside on the perch after feeding on your chickens and you will be able to see red streaks on your paper towel.
Red Mite Treatment
Unfortunately red mite are very persistent and it may take a while to rid your chicken coop of them but with management over time it is possible. If you follow the below steps you should be able to reduce the numbers relatively quickly. The initial clean out will take a few hours for wooden coops. With a plastic coop it will take less time.
- Clean out the coop- get rid of any bedding (dispose of it in a plastic bag in a bin as the red mites will happily find somewhere else to live).
- Strip the coop down. If you have a felt roof you will need to remove this and have your coop re-felted.
- Mix a mite disinfectant detergent (such as Smite Professional Disinfectant 1 Litre Concentrate or Barrier Red Mite X Concentrate - 500ml) with water (using the manufacturer's guidelines). Apply this to the coop ensuring you get it in the cracks and crevices. Leave for 15-20 minutes.
- Use a hose (preferably high pressure) to hose down the house and the parts. Try to get in every nook and cranny of the coop as this is where the mites like to live. Leave for 10-15 minutes to dry. Look at the coop again and you will most probably see more mites, which have been disturbed, crawling out. Pressure hose the coop again. Leave again for 10-15 minutes and look again for red mites. Repeat this process until there are very few mites emerging after each wash.
- Leave the house to thoroughly dry. It's ideal to do the initial clean on a sunny day as the UV can kill some bacteria and will dry the house quicker.
- Put the coop back together and add bedding.
- Sprinkle the whole coop and your chickens with a red mite powder. Ensure you rub the powder onto the perches so any remaining mites will have to crawl through it to reach your chickens. Omlet stocks a large range of red mite powders and diatom powders to deal with red mite infestations.
- Re-apply the red mite powder every couple of days or when it has rubbed of.
- Throughout May to October it is sensible to continue using powder as these hot summer months are when red mite is most common.