Tag / backyard chickens and mites

Chickens Health Issues

You Might Have Mites on Your Backyard Chickens

The last few times when I have cleaned out the girls’ coop each week, I have discovered a couple of mites in the litter.  I instantly got the heebee jeebees and thought that they were crawling all over me.  Then I thought of the poor girls.  How did they feel?  In the little research that I had done, I knew that most mites like to feed off the chickens at night when the girls are fast asleep.  A bad infestation can kill chickens due to anemia.  So, I decided to do some research and share with you what I learned.  I have blogged about mites in the past but never this quite extensive.  I hope you find this information useful.  Mind you, I have never seen one on my girls, probably due to my regular use preventatives, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have them from time to time. Two types of mites are the most prevalent in North America, the Northern Fowl Mite and the Chicken Mite.  The Northern Fowl Mite is often mistaken for the red mite.  For a few hours after feeding, it will appear red in color.  Otherwise, it is black.  This mite can be found on your chickens anytime of the day, where as the Chicken Mite is nocturnal.  The life cycle of the Northern Fowl Mite is 7 days.  Once eggs are laid, they hatch within 24 hours and the mites are fully grown at 4 days of age.  This is a very rapid cycle that can lead to an infestation of mites with a matter of weeks.  A bad enough mite infestation can lead to pale combs and even feathers can be soiled with mite excrement especially around their vents.