Chook Chat

Spring is in the air and with it comes warmer weather, a time when mites are most active and can harm our chooks so now is the time for a Spring clean and chicken mites treatment. 

Mites are one of the main pests that our backyard chooks face. A mite infestation can quick get a hold in your coop and on your chooks as they bite, chew and suck causing not only discomfort but also feather loss, loss of egg production, anemia and death…. so prevention is the best cure!

Here are a few strategies for chicken mites treatment and how to make a natural coop cleaner.

 

Leg Mites 

The scaly leg mite burrows under the scales of a chook’s leg and feeds on keratin. It exudes a greyish waste which pushes the scales outwards and opens the leg flesh to infection causing constant pain and possibly lameness.

Scaly leg mites are virtually microscopic. If untreated, legs and feet will become very knobbly and sore. They can crack and bleed and eventually will cause lameness. 

To treat scaly leg mites on a chook, paint their legs, or dip legs into  vegetable or any edible oil.  If mites are present, treat weekly to eradicate, then monthly as a preventative measure. 

 

Red Mites 

At the same time check them for body red mites. Red mites, apart from being very annoying and itchy, if untreated, will cause anemia and ultimately death. Wild birds coming in contact with the coop is the most common way red mites can be transferred – a good reason to fully enclose your coop. 

A monthly inspection of your flock is good practice. You could do this around each full moon when you give them their Super Mash.

It is easy to check your flock at night time when they are relaxed and easy to handle on their roosts. Use a strong torch to inspect around their vent between their legs and under wings. Dust birds with Pestene (a natural sulphur and rotenone powder), or fine food grade Diatomaceous Earth. Be sure to wear goggles, gloves and a face mask to avoid getting dust into your lungs or eyes. 

 

Then, you need to tackle the coop, roosts and nesting boxes. 

If there is a visible infestation of mites – they gather in nooks and crannies and under dried blobs of poop, you may need to clean then spray the roost and perches and nesting boxes with Pyrethrum. It has relatively low toxicity, is totally biodegradable and  available from garden centres. Do this on a sunny breezy day when chooks are out of the coop. Allow plenty of time for everything to dry out before they reenter. 

 

Natural Coop Cleaner

As a general coop cleaner we make this terrific sweet smelling, natural cleaning spray.

To a large jar, add the peels of 1 lemon or some lemon oil, a big handful of fresh thyme, a couple of squashed cloves of garlic and white vinegar to cover the solids. Let the jar sit for 1-3 weeks, shaking the contents every few days until the mixture is fragrant and the vinegar scent is gone. Strain. 

Alternatively use the peels of 1 orange, a couple of cinnamon sticks, and a couple of fresh vanilla beans OR lime,  lavender, and mint (which helps to repel mice who don’t like mint) OR  pine and cinnamon.

Spray perches, nesting boxes, nooks and crannies with your spray. Scrub and scrape with a stiff brush and paint scraper,  respray to rinse off solids.

 

Nesting Boxes

Replace nesting material with dry pine or casuarina needles, wood shavings or other fill with solid stems that don’t house mites. Add stripped rosemary leaves or lavender, oregano, or any of the mint family to nesting boxes and the coop floor to deter bugs. Great also to sprinkle a handful of Diatomaceous Earth around the box and through the nesting material to prevent mites and lice.

 

Diatomaceous Earth

As a chicken mites treatment sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on the coop floor, in nesting boxes and dust bathing areas. 

Care should be taken to avoid getting DE dust into your lungs or eyes. When handling protect yourself with goggles and a face mask.

More info on DE here

 

Super Mash

Provide your flock with a monthly supplement of Super Mash containing garlic and sulphur as a chicken mites treatment. It is a great preventative because mites are repelled by the garlic and sulphur.

So keep Super Mash up to your chooks!

Super Mash is a monthly treatment to help keep chickens healthy. It’s a natural antiparasitic that contains ACV, nutrients and probiotics to boost and re-vitalise your chickens in a natural way.

Find out more, order online and check for a stockist near you at https://naturalchickenhealth.com.au/

 

Natural Chicken Health – Super Mash is a natural feed supplement to help keep your chooks healthy all year round.

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