Poultry mites or red mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) are a blood-sucking ectoparasite which feeds on chickens, leading to decreased egg production, anaemia, and eventual death if left untreated. As a result, early detection and treatment is vital.
Red mites are becoming increasingly common in Europe, causing significant problems for UK poultry keepers and farmers, especially during the warmer summer months when mite numbers increase more rapidly.
Signs that you may have a mite infestation include:
Birds losing condition
Birds being restless at night
Combs and wattles becoming paler through anaemia
Blood spots on eggs
Grey ash-like deposits around perch ends - the mites' waste matter.
Detection and treatment
Poultry mites can be difficult to detect as they are very small (approx 0.7mm) and tend to hide in cracks and crevices in chicken coops and hen-houses, only coming out to feed for a few hours each night. Mites are easier to spot first thing in morning when they are still full of their blood feed from the night before, giving them a reddish colour which quickly fades to grey/white colour during the day.
Hen houses should ideally be inspected at night with a torch, using a sheet of plain paper to swipe between cracks and crevices to pick up traces of blood. Groups of mites can often be found in perch sockets. It is also advisable to check under birds wings on a weekly basis to maintain control. If you do discover mites, then we recommend that you clean and treat hen-houses and birds immediately before the infestation becomes more widespread.
Poultry mite products
The Poultry Keeper brand is the most popular in the UK and contains a comprehensive range of poultry mite treatments including red mite powder, poultry mite sprays and fumigation devices. Please see below for more information on all our products.
The Natural Poultry Mite Killer is fast-acting aerosol that can be used as both a space and surface spray for carrying out a red mite treatment to chicken houses. Contains natural pyrethrum which is highly effective against poultry mites as well as a wide range of other flying and crawling insects.