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  • Red (Black) mites

    Hi everyone,

    Ever come across black mites? I was shutting the girls up last nite and noticed a few little black mites on the outside of the coop. Invested in some new batteries and had a check tonight and it seems that they're all over the inside walls too. I've squashed a few and no blood appears to be coming out of them but it's the start of the evening not the end so it doesn't mean very much.

    I'm going to clean the girls out tomorrow and frontline inside and outside of coop. I've also got a jetwash and some of that disenfectant thats very popular, for horses (can't remember) and comes in a sachet and will use that too.

    (I feel just awful leaving the girls in there over night with those gross mites but don't know what else to do)

    Also, one of my Brown hens has stopped laying and tonight I noticed she's got a runny / bubbley beak. They keep getting drenched and I think she has a cold, what can I do

  • #2
    Red mite does not live outside the coop, only inside. It maybe something else not harmful to hens so inspect in the morning in the (hopefully) sunshine and see what's around. Red mite will be hiding tucked down in cracks and crevices within the house. Different insects have their own particular time of year for breeding, and at the moment (at least up here) it is earwig time. Every crevice in every coop, house etc is stuffed with earwigs! The hens go mad when I open up the doors as the earwigs fall into the coops etc and there is a scrum to gobble them all up.

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    • #3
      Sorry forgot to say, about the one with a cold, keep an eye on her, if she seems too poorly it's best to isolate if you have the facilities, but most birds get over a simple cold within 2 or 3 days.

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      • #4
        Thanks RichmondHens, I keep an eye on the coldy hen and have another look tomorrow at the coop.

        They're tiny little dots of black and were cramming into the outside crevices but all over the internal walls. I've been using red mite & lousy powder on a regular basis so was very surprised to see them to be honest. Gross little yucks!

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        • #5
          If it is mites,be prepared to do a few treatments before you get on top of the problem!
          After Marigold had been sat incubating eggs & mites for a while,our coop was horribly infested...so bad that some were on the outside of the coop,mainly trying to hide under the padlock latch.They only turn red after a meal.
          I was totally ashamed that we had them,but like you thought we'd taken enough preventative measures to avoid them...don't feel bad about them,apparently because of how warm it "was"()it's been a pretty bad year for them.I've come across loads of peeps that have had a problem this year.
          We used Poultry Shield & it probably took a good three sprays to get on top of them and you then need to repeat after three weeks to get rid of the newly hatched ones...I think it doesn't kill the eggs.
          Also if you smear the ends of the perches with vaseline they will stick to it on their nightly journey to the chooks!
          Try not to worry about tonight,they'll be fine,just think of how much they'll appreciate their hopefully itchy free coop tomorrow!
          Good Luck with them!xx
          the fates lead him who will;him who won't they drag.

          Happiness is not having what you want,but wanting what you have.xx

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          • #6
            Thanks for your kind words - it did make me a feel a bit better. Until I started tackling the wee monsters and then it was gross. The coop is really a rabbit hutch with perches stuck in for good measure (ebay purchase) and so it's not the best design I'm sure.

            I took perches out and masses of mites were there, a lot of them were bright red so obviously had eaten very recently. There's blood smears on the perches, door and walls where they've obviously been squashed by the hens.

            I'm so cross with my self for not noticing sooner. I did mention them to OH today but I can't blame him for not saying anything, how was he to know - he thought he was doing me a favour by closing them up at night and I clean them out once a week!!

            When I brought the hutch I went around the inside with wood filler and filled in as many cracks as possible but these little sh+ts ARE living outside (it's a sort of tounge and groove construction) in the big gaps and grooves and coming in via the pop hole and door to the chooks at night. I watched them doing it in broad day light today, so will also be filling holes on the outside too.

            Anyway, I've jet washed inside and out. Then scrub inside and out with a stiff brush and disenfectant. I haven't killed them all, but have dramtically reduced numbers so the chooks will be more comfortable till I get some Poultry Shield on Friday.

            Thanks again guys, appreciate your kind words
            Last edited by lizzylemon; 29-07-2009, 07:38 PM.

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            • #7
              Hope you get on top of this problem Lizzy. If nothing else it reminded me to go and check the coop late at night to look for these beasties.
              How's the one with a cold doing?

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              • #8
                The cold has gone, or at least appears to as her breathing is back to normal.

                I checked again tonight on the mites and they're swarming again. The mite powder I put in the bottom of the coop seems to be doing a big fat nothing. The girls are seriously suffering - 1 egg today and I'm worried they're going to die before I on top of the situation

                OHs going to track some poultry shield down for me. I was going to order some off the web, but decided to get it from our local WGC cos it'd be the same timing with post etc but am worried they wont have any!!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by lizzylemon View Post
                  The cold has gone, or at least appears to as her breathing is back to normal.

                  I checked again tonight on the mites and they're swarming again. The mite powder I put in the bottom of the coop seems to be doing a big fat nothing. The girls are seriously suffering - 1 egg today and I'm worried they're going to die before I on top of the situation

                  OHs going to track some poultry shield down for me. I was going to order some off the web, but decided to get it from our local WGC cos it'd be the same timing with post etc but am worried they wont have any!!
                  Another forum I read (Poultrychat) seems to be very keen on FicamW. I've not tried it but they all go on about it.
                  I use Poultry Shield and Diatom and have just used creosote substitute on an empty hut. I found the worst area was inside the nest boxes - they were plywood cubes and the mites were gathering in the angles. I've chucked them out and replaced with mop buckets and cardboard boxes. Also give the hens garlic powder every day.
                  I'm not sure what the red mite powder does but I've been putting it on the hens at bedtime just in case.
                  I also spray the undersides of perches with Poultry shield most mornings when I poop pick.
                  This is the first time in 5 years I've had any sign of mites. I think the dry hot spell (remember that!!!) caused a population explosion.
                  Hope it all works for you.
                  Last edited by Suechooks; 31-07-2009, 07:30 AM.

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                  • #10
                    You'll get there Lizzy!{{x}}If you were a carp chook carer you'd not be bothering to try & get rid of them,so please stop beating yourself up about them!
                    My theory is that mites are still a bit of a taboo subject,none of us like to admit we've got/had a problem with them and therefore as newbie chook owners we're not totally aware of just how nasty they are because nobody really chats about them.
                    I swear our coop had got really bad,being an old walk in shed we had the joy of a mite shower to let us know how bad the situation was!
                    We were in a lucky situation that we'd just got another shed all prepared for the expected chicks to move into...plans changed & Andi knocked up a smaller broody type coop for the Mums & chicks & the other girls moved into the new shed whilst we tackled the mite one.I sprayed it three days on the trot,left the door wide open to let some sun in,then painted it with watered down emulsion.The day they were due to move back in I noticed they were back,I assume this was the hatchings of eggs that the poultry shield doesn't kill.One more spray & I can say we are on top of the problem.We still come across the odd few & I don't think we'll ever be totally free of them.As I spot them I zap them & fortnightly I spray the whole coop.
                    You're possibly in for a couple of weeks of despair that they won't ever be gone...at one point I was in tears telling Andi the only answer was to torch the coop & get a new one!But they're not immortal,the Poultry Shield WILL get the buggars!
                    (BTW...the only reason we did the painting was because we hadn't been as good as you filling in all the cracks & crevices,just in case I'd put you in panic mode that you need to do the same!)
                    Good Luck.xxx
                    the fates lead him who will;him who won't they drag.

                    Happiness is not having what you want,but wanting what you have.xx

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                    • #11
                      Someone from the vine gave me this tip as we can't get anything for red mite out here, it's a banned substance.

                      Spray the inside of the coop with hot vinegar, don't get it on your hands though 'cos it don't half burn. After this if the infestation is bad I go over all the cracks with a hot air gun and fry the b******s. Don't do it the other way gound or all you will do is blow them around. Just lately as a control, I have sprayed the house with Raid for crawling insects. Don't know if this is a recommended treatment but the chooks seem none the worse for it. I don't do it very often though and I let the house air throughly before letting the chooks back in

                      Best of luck
                      Gardening requires a lot of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. Lou Erickson, critic and poet

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                      • #12
                        I also understand that if you can keep your chooks out of the house for a few nights (maybe in a cardboard box in a quite place), it breaks the feeding cycle, and that will put a dent in the mite population and give you chance to really clean the house out.

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                        • #13
                          Thanks everyone, can't tell you how much I appreciate your words of encouragement and advice. It's strangely comforting to know we're in it together and I've taken all the advice on board. I suspect the mite subject might be slightly taboo too, but boy, it would have been great to know a lot more about them before they appeared in their squillions - I would have sprayed every 6 months just as a precaution had I known.

                          Also, I think it might be a good idea to stop calling them red mites for newbies. I now know I saw mites as long ago as 3 months ago but because they were the odd 1 or 2, and not red, I ignored them (I was more concerned about the red mites on our patio which turned out to be harmless red brick mites )

                          Anyway OH got me some generic Mite killer stuff yesterday and I have to say, after 2 sprays yesterday there are a lot of dead bodies this morning. OH did the whole coop yesterday PM and then I did just the outside at dusk after the girls had gone to bed.

                          SueC: I think I'll fill the corners of their box. The mites didn't appear to be very interested in the box but better safe than sorry me thinks. And I'll be investing in some garlic powder too.

                          andi&di: LOL setting fire to the coop. And I thought I was extreme!!! You're right though, they're not immortal creatures and I will get them! Mmmmmwwahwahwaaaaah (evil laugh just in case you're wondering). Just reading about your mite shower made me want to vomit. I have an almost phobia about bugs that suck blood (ticks in particular make my skin crawl) so I really feel for you

                          roitelet: Poor you for not having being able to get hold the chemicals. Makes me wonder about the chemicals even more than normal. Have to say though, I think turning a blow torch on them is quite appealing if not very Karmic - tehehe.

                          Becki: I did wonder about removing the girls, if only to give them a break from the mites so if I'm still not happy, I'll do that next week once I've got me hands on a nice big box.

                          Finally: Do I fill the outside cracks and crevices?

                          OH says no - I'm not sure. I know I won't get all the hiding places but surely making it as hard as possible is a good idea?

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                          • #14
                            You can put creosote substitute in the outside cracks and crevices - it WILL kill them, believe me. We have had 100% success with it killing red mite. We use it inside too, but have to keep the birds out until dry and not fumey, so only possible if you have alternative housing.

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                            • #15
                              When you say creosote substitute, which type do you mean exactly? Perhaps a PM with the details if you're not aloud to say it out loud

                              I was settling for being pleased if I got the mite population down to 3 or 4 sqillion. All dead will be fab. X

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