Mites and Money-Saving Tips to Prevent Them

Mites and Money-Saving Tips to Prevent Them

  • By Kaylyn & Landon
  • Jan 09, 2019
Mites and Money-Saving Tips to Prevent Them

When it comes to owning and caring for any bird species, mites are something you never want to encounter! Luckily, there are ways to prevent them that won't hurt your wallet! Here is everything you need to know about mites, what they look like, and how you can prevent them from invading your coop!

Don't feel like reading? Watch our YouTube video below and visit our YouTube channel for more where that came from!

 

What are Mites?

Mites are parasites that are found anywhere birds may live. They survive by latching onto birds to feed on the blood they ingest from biting the skin. There are different types of mites that can affect both wild birds and poultry species but all of them are INCREDIBLY difficult to get rid of once they have found themselves a home They are also very fast when it comes to reproducing and can multiply so rapidly that what seems like a small, manageable infestation at first can become a HUGE problem within a very short time. Another thing they are excellent at is moving very quickly between hosts. What does that mean? They can jump from one bird to another and even to YOU in a fraction of a second.

YES That means they CAN latch onto humans too! The good news is that although they will feed on humans, they are not going to latch onto you unless they have no other option. Also, they will only latch onto humans to feed temporarily and will leave at the first sight of a bird. This is because they cannot complete their life cycle and will die within 3 weeks unless latched onto a bird species.

What Do They Look Like?

Mites are tiny in size(less than 1mm long) and have an oval-shaped body with eight legs. They are also somewhat transparent until they have digested blood, at which point they will appear red or black in color.

So you will most likely not see any until after they have fed on the host bird (or you!).

How Can I Prevent Them?

Regular Coop Cleaning and Maintenance

Preventing mites can sometimes be as simple as changing the bedding and cleaning out the coop and nesting box regularly. Mites love to hide in old bedding and nesting material so make sure you are thorough when it comes to cleaning time!

Dust Baths

It is also important to have a dust bath area if you don't already. Dust baths cover and coat the skin so the mites have a much harder time latching and making a meal out of your chickens. If you want to know more about dust baths, be sure to check out next week's' blog where we also cover DIY instructions for how to make your own right at home!

Keep Wild Birds Away

Another way to prevent these pesky critters is to keep wild birds away from your flock. Restrict their access to your flock's chicken feed supply and they will start looking for other places to find food. You can do this by feeding your flock in their covered run. You can also place an automatic free-range treadle feeder anywhere wild birds may be able to access. This type of feeder takes training to operate, an advantage your chickens will have over any hungry outsiders.

One thing's certain, when it comes to poultry pests and parasites, the old phrase 'An once of prevention is worth a pound of cure,' definitely holds true!




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