I’ve been having a few emails through about people who are suffering from the dreaded redmite so thought I would make a little post about how best to get rid of the horrid little bloodsuckers! This was the advice given by the always helpful Aunt Sally in the forums:
What is Red Mite?
(Dermanyssus gallinae) is the most common mite found in this country and is more of a problem in the summer than the winter as it becomes inactive as the temperature drops. Red mites are grey until they suck the chicken’s blood and turn red. They live and lay their eggs in cracks and crevices in the chicken house and can survived for up to 6 months off the chickens which means housing can remain infested for a long time after hens are removed. They breed rapidly and an infestation can build up very quickly. The mites are active and feed at night, and are not usually found on the bird during the day except in a heavy infestation some may stay on the bird during the day and may even invade the roof of the bird’s mouth causing serious anaemia. The hen’s eggs may have small streaks of blood on them, and hens may be reluctant to go into their coop to roost. Red mite will also bite humans.
Frequently inspect the nooks and crevices in your hen coop. The picture above will give you some idea of what to look for, if in doubt wipe any suspected deposit with white kitchen paper and you will see it smeared with red (your chicken’s blood).
Treatment of red mite is by cleaning the accommodation thoroughly. Danger areas can then be dusted with Red Mite Powderor Poultry Shield or other product containing Synthetic Pyrethroid, Pyrethroid, or Permethhrin and Piperonyl Butoxide. Repeat at weekly intervals until the mite has gone.
A heavy infestation may need a prescription from your vet.
Dusting with the above or a non chemical method of prevention such as Diatom is recommended at all times.