How to Protect Your Chickens from Red Mite
The Red Mite Problem
Red mites, or Dermanyssus gallinae, are without a doubt backyard chicken keepers’ worst enemies! They are nocturnal creatures living in cracks and crevices of the coop, and they only come out at night to feed on chicken blood. Most long term chicken keepers will have encountered these parasites, and can confirm that they are more destructive and difficult to get rid of than all other pests combined.
Getting Rid of Red Mites
If you have diagnosed a red mite infestation in your wooden coop, there are a few things you can do to try to get rid of them. Start off by giving your coop a really deep clean. Strip the house down as much as possible to get into all corners, nooks and crannies, and scrub with warm water. You will need to replace any felt or fabric parts and carefully clean perches, feeders and drinkers and other loose objects in the coop. Make sure that you get rid of all bedding that might have been infested.
If you can still see mites crawling out of crevices in the wood when the coop is drying, try hosing the coop and all loose parts down with a pressure washer. Leave to dry for 10-15 minutes and blast it over again to get rid of even more mites. Repeat until there are very few mites emerging after every wash.
Still not completely clear of mites? Time for the anti-mite products. Mix a mite specific concentrate with water using the manufacturer’s guidelines and apply this to the coop. Go heavy on areas where it is likely that the mites are hiding (corners and end of perches are particularly affected areas), but it is important that you treat the whole coop. When the wood is completely dry, apply plenty of red mite powder on your chickens, their bedding and their dust bath before you let them back into the coop.
In summer you will need to re-apply the powder every few days, and it in many cases getting ahead of the mites will mean deep cleaning the coop with detergents on several occasions over a period of two weeks. When autumn comes the mites become dormant and will not feed on your chickens, but they are unfortunately likely to reappear when the temperature rises again in spring.
Preventing Red Mite Infestations
When it comes to red mites, prevention will always be better than cure, and one of the few things you can actually do to keep these little creatures from hurting your chickens is to have a coop that doesn’t make life easy for them.
The smooth plastic surfaces of the Eglu chicken coop leaves very little space for the mites to hide.
The smooth plastic surfaces of the Eglu hen house leave very little room for the mites to hide. There are no corners or holes that you will not be able to reach with a hose or a pressure washer, which means that a thorough cleaning of the Eglu should probably remove all dust, dirt and possible pests.
Because it is so easy to disassemble your Eglu, cleaning is made super easy compared to cleaning a wooden chicken house. In fact, we have heard of people burning their wooden houses off as a last resort to get rid of small mites! With your Omlet Eglu chicken house, however, you can simply unscrew the side panels and remove them to give your chickens’ homes a thorough cleaning. For a complete cleaning, you may also want to take the back door panel off. In the Eglu Cube chicken house, the back door panel is easily lifted off to provide full access to the inside, where you will find everything you and your chickens need. By cleaning your Eglu regularly, you prevent red mites from becoming a problem for you and your chickens, and you do not have to spend all the time and all the money on cleaning and disinfecting as you would if you had a more traditional chicken house.
Over the last 15 years, the Eglu chicken houses have been the solution for many people who have grown tired of constantly trying to get rid of blood mites from their wooden chicken houses. Here are some of the things that current Eglu owners have told us about fighting blood mites:
“I’ve thought about having an Eglu for two years but this summer’s red mite infestation was too much. I hate using chemicals/insecticides around my hens so I took the plunge and I’m really pleased.” Sue
“After having some terrible experiences with mites we decided enough is enough and time to buy a “mite free eglu” as advertised. We have been slightly put off by the price previously but now I wish I had one from the start! I couldn’t rate the omlet eglu cube any higher! What used to take 2 hours to clean and scrub a chicken coop now takes 10 minutes! We have not had any lice infestations since having the cube I absolutely love it and so do our chickens, just wish we had bought one sooner!” Amie
“The most important feature to me is the hygienic, easy clean & wash nature of all the surfaces. I would never buy a wooden house again having struggled with mites which hid in all the joints and gaps of the boards. There is nowhere for the mites to hide on the Eglu and cleaning is quick and easy. I’m certain that there isn’t a better house available for healthy hens.” Neil
Does the thought of mites make you itch? Watch our video about two neighbours having very different chicken keeping experiences this summer, showing some of the struggles that chicken owners with mite-infested coops are faced with:
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One reply on “How to Protect Your Chickens from Red Mite”
I found red mites in my Eglu a year or 2 ago. I used a hose and dish soap to clean them off, then I liberally sprinkled diatomaceous earth throughout. It took a few weeks, but the mites never came back.