Red mite alert!

As the weather warms up, poultry keepers need to be on the lookout for signs of red mite.

These tiny but pesky parasites live in the nooks and crannies of the coop, coming out at night to feed on hens as they roost. Not only do they make birds feel itchy, uncomfortable, and stressed, a bad infestation can also lead to anaemia.

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Smallholder Poultry
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Red mites are actually pale brown in colour but turn red when they’ve been feeding on hens’ blood.

Prevention is better than cure:

  • Clean out your hen house as often as possible
  • Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth powder in the coop and/or into dust bathing spots. This is a natural substance that helps keep them at bay
  • If you buy new birds, always keep them separate from your existing flock until you are sure they are not affected

If you do find an infestation of red mite, it’s important to act quickly as it will only get worse and it can be tricky to get rid of them altogether.

Our advice for dealing with red mite infestation:

  • Remove all bedding and clean out the house as thoroughly as you can. If you can detach the nest boxes or roof then do so, so that every square inch can be cleaned.
  • Treat every part of the coop with an appropriate product. Your local feed merchant should be able to advise. Read and follow the instructions fully.
  • Use a pressure washer and thoroughly wash the product away.
  • Leave the house open/dismantled to dry.
  • Dust surfaces with Diatomaceous Earth powder before adding any bedding and reintroducing your birds.

During this process you are very likely to get mites on yourself, so wear overalls or old clothing that can be washed immediately afterwards.

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