Friday, 2 September 2011
Unfortunately our chook house has been attacked, an infestation you may call it, I call it War!
The dreaded Red Mite, the vampire of the night that sucks the blood of chickens causing stress, reduction in egg laying, anaemia and in some cases even death!
This is a problem I was hoping we would never encounter, however we have and in a BIG way!
They are called the silent killers, for the fact that during the day they hide away in the nooks & crannies of your coop waiting until its dark to feed on your chickens. They appear white until they have fed, then they turn bright red! (hence the name, Red Mite!)
Red Mite leave a grey dust in the crevices they live in, we had this dust, but because I use a white mite powder on the coop, I assumed this dust was that! I have learnt my lesson!
Our chooks are cleaned out reguarly, disenfected and treated with a diatom powder, but we still managed to be completely infested by this horrible pest! As soon as we realised, the war was on!
We began by dismantling as much of the coop as possible, and giving it a damn good scrub, concentrating on every nook and cranny.
After we left this to dry, we applied an insecticide spray (keep it away from the chooks as they must not breath the vapours) to every inch of the coop, followed by a complete dusting of Diatom powder, which was also applied to every chicken.
We also had to take off the felted roof and burn it, Red Mite LOVE roof felt and can hide and breed in it quite easily. The only option to get rid of the major infestation was to send them to the depths of hell!
We have now replaced the roof with plastic corrugated sheeting. Much easier to keep clean and no hiding places for the mites!
The coop is now back together, and looking very clean, however this is not the end of the war, no, every few days we have to keep on top of it, by checking reguarly for any stragglers we didn't manage to kill in the first instance as they can breed so quickly. The average life cycle of a red mite is around 7 days and in this time you can go from a minor pest to a huge problem!
If you think you have Red Mite in your coop, get on top of it now!
Products I used:
Insecticde Spray: Ready to Use Smite Red Mite Spray (Sold widely on the internet and good pet shops)
Diatomaceous Earth (Diatom Powder): A 100% natural powder for use on animals, pets and birds against external parasites (lice, fleas etc) and internal (worms), and for general good health. I bought mine from wiggly Wigglers (www.wigglywigglers.co.uk)
I have also started adding garlic (either fresh or granules) to the chickens water. According to research, Red Mite HATE garlic, so the hope is, if the chickens drink "garlic" water, when the Red Mite feed, the chickens taste of garlic, resulting in the mites going elsewhere!
I'm not sure if it works or not, but I might as well try it!
There are LOADS of internet sites dedicated to information relating to Red Mite so if you need any further info, google it!
Have you had Red Mite? What did you use to eradicate them? We'd love to know!