Poultry mites enjoy feasting on the blood, feathers, skin and scales of your chickens. Heavy infestations can take over your entire flock, predisposing them to infection, stunt their growth and decrease egg production. There are several simple ways to naturally treat mites at home.
Note: Poultry mites can only survive on the blood of chickens. They can bite you and irritate your skin, but they cannot survive on humans.
- How do Chickens Get Mites?
- What are the Signs of Mites in Chickens?
- 1. Add These to Chicken Dust Bathing Spots
- 2. Dawn Dish Soap
- 3. Apple Cider Vinegar
- 4. Garlic
- 5. Regular Coop Cleaning
- Deep Cleaning of Chicken Coop and Entire Flock
- Conclusion: 5 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Mites on Chickens-Naturally
How do Chickens Get Mites?
Chickens can get mites several different ways. The most common ways are by coming into contact with wild birds, rodents or infected bedding. Mites are very contagious and can spread throughout a flock quickly. If one chicken is infected, the whole flock and coop needs to be treated.
What are the Signs of Mites in Chickens?
- Chickens that are infested with mites may have a pale comb due to the mites sucking their blood.
- If you part their feathers, you may notice tiny little brown or red specks, especially near the vent and neck.
- You may notice mites on the underside of the roosting bars at night.
- You may notice tiny brown or red specks in the nesting boxes.
- It can lead to decreased egg production.
- Decrease in appetite.
- Lighter feathered chickens may look dirty. This is due to mites and its droppings. Mites can latch on to the base of chicken feathers.
1. Add These to Chicken Dust Bathing Spots
Add some diatomaceous earth to your chicken’s dust bathing area. They will love to roll around in it and will kill a wide variety of parasites, including mites. It can be found in your local feed store, or you can purchase it for less through Amazon.
Diatomaceous earth, DE, is a fine powdery looking substance. It is made from sea dwelling algae, diatomites, which are fossilized mineral deposits.
To humans and pets it feels soft and powdery. But to insects it is very sharp. It works by getting under their wings, drying them out and killing them.
Diatomaceous earth will kill a wide variety of parasites!
BUGS/INSECTS THAT DIATOMACEOUS EARTH KILLS
|FUNGUS GNAT||CODDLING MOTH|
Wood ash is the powdery substance that is left over after burning wood. After this has completely cooled, add this to your chicken’s dust bathing area.
Your chickens will enjoy flinging the wood ash up and dusting their entire body in this. Wood ash works like diatomaceous earth and it will suffocate and kill any mites that come into contact with it.
Wood ash contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. If your chickens happen to consume some of it while dust bathing, it is safe. In fact, it can help to increase their laying.
There are numerous benefits of using dried herbs around your chickens, including killing mites, lice and other parasites. Add some dried herbs to your chicken’s dust bathing area and also sprinkle some in their nesting boxes! It not only kills the parasites, but will make them smell better too.
For more information on how you can use herbs around your chickens, read my article 5 .Important Ways To Use Herbs Around Your Chickens
|HERBS THAT KILL|
2. Dawn Dish Soap
Lather Mites in Soapy Water with Dawn Dish Soap
If the weather is warm, this method can be used:
- Use a small tub and fill it with room temperature water.
- Add 1 TBS of Dawn Dish Soap
- Put on a pair of latex gloves and agitate the water enough for it to form loads of bubbles.
- Gently place your chicken in the water and hold it there for a good 20 minutes.
- Use your gloved hands and gently rub the soap all over the chicken, avoiding its head.
- Give special attention to the vent and neck area. Mites are frequently found here.
- Use a cup and room temperature clean water to rinse off the soap.
- Towel dry and let your chicken completely dry off in the warm sun.
Dawn Dish Soap Spray
During cooler weather, you can use a spray bottle filled with 10 oz of water and 1 tsp of Dawn Dish Soap. Spray down each chicken, pulling back the feathers to expose the base of the feathers.
If you are battling an infestation, you will need to do this to each individual chicken on a daily basis. Spray them down daily for 2 weeks and then you can cut back to every other day for the next 2 weeks.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar or ACV has been used over the centuries both medicinally and therapeutically. There are countless benefits of using ACV around your chickens, including mite elimination and control.
For more ways (other than mite control) you can use apple cider vinegar to benefit your chickens, read my article 12 Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar Around Your Chicken Coop- How to Make Your Chickens Happy, Healthy and More Productive
Add Apple Cider Vinegar to Drinking Water
To control mites in chickens add 1 TBS apple cider vinegar to each gallon of your chickens water. You can safely do this for one week out of each month. I also offer my chickens regular water, without the ACV in it.
Make sure that you only use ACV in plastic waterers because the metal waterers will rust.
If your chickens have an active infestation of mites and it’s warm outside, you can do an apple cider vinegar water soak.
- Fill a dish tub with room temperature water and add 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar for each gallon of water. Fill the tub up high enough to reach your chickens back when it is squatting.
- Put on a pair of latex gloves for the next part.
- Gently place the infested chicken in the water for 20-30 minutes and gently rub at the base of all its feathers. You will want to especially pay attention to the area around your chicken’s vent and neck area. These are common areas for mites to gather because it is more moist.
- Use a cup to pour the water over your chickens back, trying your best to avoid its head.
- Towel dry your chicken.
- If it is a hot day, you can let your chicken continue to dry off in the warm sun.
- Don’t be alarmed if your chicken heads for the dirt for a nice dust bath! This is ok. This is their natural way of cleaning themselves from parasites. Just make sure that the dust bathing spot is clean and prepared with additional additives to kill mites, such as wood ash or diatomaceous earth.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Water Spray
Fill a spray bottle with equal amounts of ACV and water. This method is good to use to prevent mites from getting out of control or during the cooler weather when it isn’t practical to dip your chicken in a tub of water.
Fortunately mite infestations are more likely to occur during the warmer weather.
This can be sprayed directly on the skin and feathers of your chickens. Make sure you pull the feathers back and spray at the base of them. This is wear mites frequently are found.
Mites like to hide around the vent and neck area because it is warmer and more moist here.
Use this solution to also spray your chicken nesting boxes, coop walls and the roosting bars.
Garlic contains about 33 different sulfur compounds and mites cannot tolerate it. So using garlic to kill or keep mites at bay has been shown to be highly effective.
For bad mite infestations, you will need to diligently treat for one month.
Garlic Oil Spray
- Fill a spray bottle with 10 oz of water and 1 TBS of garlic juice. You can find this at any grocery store. To help the spray smell better, add 1 tsp of lavender or cinnamon.
- Spray liberally on your chicken, making sure you pull back its feathers so the spray reaches the base of the feathers and skin. Pay close attention to the vent and neck areas where mites tend to migrate.
- Do this every single day for up to two weeks, then you can cut back to every other day for the next two weeks.
- Spray down the coop walls and nesting boxes with this schedule as well.
Crushed Garlic in Drinking Water
Add 3-4 cloves of crushed garlic for each gallon of your chicken’s water. Replenish the water with fresh water(without garlic) after 2 days. This can be done 2 times a week for mite prevention.
5. Regular Coop Cleaning
Regular coop cleaning is the number one way to cut down on the chances of a mite infestation. With a clean coop, you are less likely to have rodents visiting and bringing mites into your coop.
Regular cleaning the nest boxes and coop also helps to stop the bedding from becoming infe18sted with mites.
Spray Roosting Bar Down
Keep a bottle of ACV and water handy and make it a routine to do a weekly spray down of your roosting bars. Make sure you spray the underside of the roosting bars as well.
Spray Down the Nesting Boxes
Use the apple cider vinegar spray and spray down the walls and boxes of your nesting boxes weekly for mite prevention. Add natural herbs that deter mites, such as lavender, mint, cinnamon, lemon balm, basil, nutmeg or thyme.
These not only will deter mites, lice, fleas and mosquitos, but it will smell nice too!
Spray Walls of Coop Down
Use the solution to spray down the walls of your coop. This will also help to deter mites as well as many other parasites.
If you want, you can add several drops of an essential oil, such as lavender or mint to give the coop a nice, fresh smell and help to deter several parasites, including chicken mites.
Deep Cleaning of Chicken Coop and Entire Flock
Taking steps to avoid mite infestation is the best way to go. Once a coop is infested with mites, it can take several months for mites to die off completely.
Mites can live without a host (chicken blood) up to 6 months so it is important to do a deep cleaning of both the chicken coop and the entire flock when one does occur.
According to the CDC, many Salmonella Outbreaks Linked to Backyard Poultry and you should take precautions when handling chickens or are cleaning your chicken coop.
Steps to Deep Clean a Chicken Coop
- Remove all bedding from the chicken coop.
- Power wash the entire coop. This includes roosting bars, nesting boxes, walls and floor.
- Use a scrub brush to loosen up any grime and do one last spray to remove it.
- Dilute 1 TBS of ACV in 1 gallon of water and spray this in the nesting boxes, roosting bars (underside of bars too), walls and floor.
- Allow to air dry.
- Add fresh, clean bedding to the coop and nesting boxes.
Remember to always wear protective gear when cleaning a chicken coop. There are many diseases that can be passed from chickens to humans, especially when cleaning your chicken coop! Read my article for more information: Can Cleaning a Chicken Coop Make You Sick? (9 Tips).
Conclusion: 5 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Mites on Chickens-Naturally
Mite prevention can save flock owners a lot of work because once an infestation occurs, you have to be very diligent with daily cleaning for several months to make sure that it doesn’t reoccur.
There are several natural home remedies to get rid of and prevent chicken mites including using the following both in the coop and on your chickens:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Diatomaceous Earth
- Wood Ash
- Dawn Dish Soap
- Natural Herbs