How to Get Rid of Chicken Mites and Lice – Naturally

How to Get Rid of Chicken Mites and Lice – Naturally

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Chicken mites and lice are some of the worst pests you’ll ever come into contact with while poultry keeping. For years, people told me that there was no natural way to prevent or treat chicken mites and lice, but as an herbalist, I knew this just wasn’t true. I’ve put together a tried-and-true natural treatment that I’ve been using for years for how to get rid of chicken mites and lice. With just a few simple ingredients, you can prevent these creepy crawlies from happening. Or, you can treat an infestation within just a few weeks.  

My chicken mite treatment spray works great on lice as well. But there are a few key things you should do as soon as you notice a mite or lice outbreak. The key to staying on top of external chicken parasites is consistency. If you don’t stay diligent about treating the chickens, the parasites will end up ruling the roost.  

Here are some things to do when you see the first sign of mites of lice:

  1. Clean out the coop thoroughly, then spray down every part of the coop with the chicken mite spray. You may have to make a couple of bottles for this process.
  2. Douse each chicken with cooled wood ash directly on the skin to help kill any mites or lice currently on them. If you cannot do this, you can add wood ash to their dust bathing area. Once you get the mites and lice off of them, now you’re just treating any scavengers and their eggs. Diatomaceous earth (food grade) also works. Either way, wear a mask if you’re concerned about particles from dust getting into your lungs. 
  3. That evening, directly spray the chicken mite spray onto the skin of the chicken. Concentrate on the neck, under the wings, and the vent area (again, directly on the skin). The spray will deter the mites and kill them as well. It’s best to spray down the chicken roosts as well.  
  4. Spray your chickens every day for at least two weeks. After two weeks, you can spray them every other day for at least three more weeks. Continue adding wood ash to their bathing area when necessary. After six full weeks of treatment, you should be mite-free!  
  5. I tend to leave bedding out of the coop for at least the first month if possible, so mites don’t live in the bedding before the chickens are efficiently treated. There’s nothing worse than getting rid of the mites on your chickens, only to find they are living in your coop bedding! Make sure you’re spraying down the roosts each day as well. 
how-to-get-rid-of-chicken-mites-and-lice
CHICKEN MITE TREATMENT SPRAY
  • 25 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed (or 1 oz garlic extract)
  • 45 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
  • 2 tbs white vinegar or witch hazel (unless using garlic extract)
  • Water

The essential oils are really optional, but they do maximize the efficiency of this spray.

Method:

  1. In a 16 oz. glass spray bottle, combine garlic (or extract) and essential oils. If using smashed garlic, allow it to sit for several hours before using. 
  2. If using garlic extract, do not use white vinegar. Fill the rest of the bottle up with water ¾ of the way full. If using smashed garlic, add vinegar. 
  3. Shake the bottle well before each spray. Spray directly on the skin of the chicken, concentrating only on the neck, the vent area, and the top of the tail where the oil gland is. I also spray their feet and the roosting bar base so that when they lay back down on their feet and roost, the mixture gets onto their bellies. Do this treatment at night after they’ve gone to roost. 
  4. Continue this treatment for two weeks, then twice a week for two weeks, to rid your chickens of mites. You can continue to dust your chickens with wood ash once a week, but it may not be necessary. 

This spray has worked wonders for many people, myself included. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular sprays when it comes to chickens. It’s easy to make, versatile, and effective for how to get rid of chicken mites and lice!  

RESOURCES:

Topical Application of Garlic Reduces Northern Fowl
Mite Infestation in Laying Hens1
G. P. Birrenkott, G. E. Brockenfelt, J. A. Greer, and M. D. Owens
Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, South Carolina 29634-0361
https://goo.gl/uD9C5w 

Organic parasite control for poultry and rabbits in British Columbia, Canada (essential oils)
Cheryl Lans and Nancy Turner
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3143080/

Originally published in the 2021 special issue of Backyard Poultry — A Natural and Sustainable Flock — and regularly vetted for accuracy. 

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