Question of the Week
Answer: The northern fowl mite (Ornithonyssus sylviarum) and the chicken or roost mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) are the two main mites of concern affecting poultry in the U.S. Northern fowl mites spend their entire life cycle on the birds and gather around the vent area on hens. Chicken mites spend part of their life in cracks and crevices near the roost and nesting boxes and feed on the birds only at night. They scatter over the bird's body.
Cultural practices are emphasized in preventing infestation of northern fowl mites. These controls include assuring that new arrivals to the flock are mite-free and that the housing has been cleaned, assuring that any equipment, worker clothing, etc. brought to the house is mite-free, and excluding wild birds and rodents which carry the mites. Birds should be monitored for the presence of northern fowl mite and treated before heavy infestation occurs.
The same controls are recommended for preventing chicken mites; however, more thorough cleaning of the house in needed. Chicken mites can live for months in protected cracks.
Please see ATTRA's Poultry Equipment for Alternative Production. The section on roosts discusses the use of pyrethrum or its components, known as pyrethrins, for treating the bird and mineral oils for treating the roosts. You could also treat the house with a hot water pressure spray to kill chicken mites.
Also, you may want to add diatomaceous earth and pyrethrum to the dustbaths.
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