Chicken Mites Treatment: How to Keep Lice and Mites Out of Your Coop

Preventetive Steps For Mite and Lice Treatment For Chickens

Chicken Mites Treatment: How to Keep Lice and Mites Out of Your Coop

When it comes to chicken mites treatment, the best defense against poultry pests is a good offense! Warm weather brings out the lice, mites and other creepy-crawlies to torment your poor flock. Lice and mite infestations can be more than just inconvenient and uncomfortable for your birds — they can cause significant suffering, lasting physical ailments, and in extreme cases, death.

Chicken Mites Treatment: 4 Steps For Prevention

The first step for preventative chicken mites treatment is to squelch the introduction of lice and mites into your coop. Lice and mites are commonly spread to your flock from wild animals. Sparrows, squirrels and other undomesticated creatures are notorious carries of these pests and also disease. Little woodland creatures will sneak into your coop/run for easy food and leave behind a nasty calling card for your birds. To the best of your abilities, you should keep your chickens and their home away from wild animals.

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Second, regularly check each and every one of your chickens for lice and mites. The most common locations for lice to be found on a chicken is around the vent area or under the wings. You will have to carefully inspect the base of the feather shafts near the skin to locate lice or nit sacks. Mites are usually found on the neck, back, belly and upper legs of the chicken’s body. Keep in mind, however, that the red mites do not live on the birds, but rather inside the coop. These nasty pests entrench themselves in a coop and simply feed upon their victims as they sleep. Consequently, you may have a mite problem and yet not find a single mite upon any of your chickens’ bodies. Additionally, you should watch for the common symptoms of pests and sick chicken symptoms such as: feather loss, irritated-looking skin, excessive preening or scratching, head shaking, lethargy, anemia, pink-looking combs and/or waddles, and decreased egg production. 

Chicken Mite

Third, use chicken mites treatment in your coop and on your birds regardless of whether you have discovered them in your flock. Even though I have never seen any lice or mites in my coop or on my birds, I clean out and disinfect my coop quarterly using a bleach water solution. I then generously spray the entire chicken coop down (especially in the cracks and crevices) with Neem oil. I bathe every chicken in my flock twice each summer in homeopathic bath of salt, vinegar and soap. Done properly and close in time, this is an effective chicken mites treatment and a good way to kill any other creepy-crawlies on your birds. When it is too cold to bathe my birds in water, I treat them with a thorough rub-down of diatomaceous earth all over their bodies. The chickens hate the D.E. rub down, but it seems to be effective.

Lastly, never forget to use chicken mites treatment and quarantine any new additions to your flock of backyard chickens. Poultry pests are easily transferred from bird to bird. Typically lice and mites are introduced to your flock when you add a new, already infested bird to the group. It is also quite possible to bring home lice or mites on your birds if they have been exposed to outside chickens – such as at a chicken show. It takes very little contact with another chicken for your bird to catch their lice and/or mites. Quarantine protocols are essential to preventing outbreaks in your coop whenever you are bring a new or exposed chicken back home. A good quarantine protocol for chicken mites treatment will last for at least two weeks and keep the suspect birds away from the main flock.

If you do find mites on your bird, the problem is probably worse than it looks. According to Laura John, a poultry farmer with a Bachelors of Science in Poultry Science, in her article “Controlling Mites in Your Poultry Flock,” the following index can be used to estimate mite infestation levels within your flock:

“Detecting and monitoring the mite population level is an important factor for effective control. A minimum of 10 randomly selected birds should be examined for mites weekly. Infestation levels can be estimated by blowing on the bird’s feathers and counting the mites that are immediately seen. The following index can be used to estimate mite infestation levels:

  • 5 mites counted = Bird may be carrying from 100 to 300 mites
  • 6 mites counted = Bird may be carrying from 300 to 1,000 mites (light infestation)
  • 7 mites counted = Bird may be carrying from 1,000 to 3,000 mites – small clumps of mites seen on skin and feathers (moderate infestation)
  • 8 mites counted = Bird may be carrying from 3,000 to 10,000 mites – accumulation of mites on skin and feathers (moderate to heavy infestation)
  • 9 mites counted = Bird may be carrying 10,000 to 32,000 or more mites – numerous large clumps of mites seen on skin and feathers; skin pocketed with scabs (heavy infestation)”

The heavier the infestation, the harder it will be to treat and defeat these pests. Any detected mites or lice should illicit an immediate and serious response by you.

You can learn more about keeping lice, mites and other pests off of your chickens and out of your coop in episode 014 of the Urban Chicken Podcast. (LISTEN HERE).

4 thoughts on “Chicken Mites Treatment: How to Keep Lice and Mites Out of Your Coop”
  1. I don’t see ant thing but my chickens have lost fleathersat the base if their tail feathers. Only there. I don’t know if they are pecking at each other. Also my chickens poop seems to gatherat the area to the point I have to cut off the mess which leaves a major bald area.

  2. My hens do not sleep in their coop but on a high perch in a predator-proof cage (their choice).
    Am I correct in thinking this will reduce the chance of more infestation?

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Not really. Because the birds spend their days on the ground, pests will find them. Make sure that they have access to a dust back for daily bathing. Treat any specific infestations immediately.

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