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Monday, October 28, 2013

Poultry mites

Last night Jean was up late washing one of the chickens.

Light Lomi is the last of the 6 Lomans we purchased some years ago. She rarely has a full covering of feathers but recently looked even more ratty than usual. A close inspection found her covered in Tropical Bird Mites. She was brought into the laundry and needed two washings in warm soapy water and then a blow dry before dusting in diatomaceous earth and to bed in an isolation ward.

Light Lomi feeling much better 24 hours after a bath and dusting

Jean then had to shower to get rid of the mites on herself and put her clothes through the wash immediately.

The mites do not survive on humans but they do taste test and can leave you with rashes and itching.

Every now and then when the right weather conditions prevail we get an outbreak of these. They are pervasive and nasty little things and difficult (almost impossible) to get rid of organically once you have them.

Today Jean spent hours hosing out the chook house then treating all the wood with vinegar. When it is dry she will dust the entire place with diatomaceous earth or lime at night so that the chickens also get a dusting.

Our biggest problem is the earthen floors covered in sawdust as the mites migrate to any safe haven. Consideration is now being given to concreting the floor in the chicken house to allow for more thorough cleaning. I'm also thinking about re-doing the nesting boxes to make it easier to clean around them and less attractive to mites. Ongoing maintenance never ends.

We recently lost two broody girls who looked well one day and were dead the next. I wonder now if the mite infestation had anything to do with this?

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