How To Get Rid of Mites on Chickens?

By Chicken Pets on
How To Get Rid of Mites on Chickens?

Welcome to the world of backyard chickens! In this blog post, we’ll tackle a common issue that can impact the health of your flock: mite infestations. Together, we’ll learn how to identify, treat, and prevent these pesky parasites.

How To Get Rid of Mites on Chickens?

Getting rid of mites on chickens involves three main steps: thoroughly cleaning the coop, treating the birds with a suitable pesticide, and taking preventative measures to avoid future infestations.

Identifying Mites on Chickens

Before we dive into how to get rid of mites on chickens, it’s crucial to identify if your birds are suffering from a mite infestation. Look for the following signs:

  • Feather loss, especially around the vent area
  • Scabs or redness on the skin
  • Decreased egg production
  • Irritation, causing chickens to peck at themselves
  • Anemia in severe infestations

Examining Your Chickens

To confirm a mite infestation, examine your chickens closely. Conduct an inspection, preferably in the evening, as mites are more active during nighttime. Gently part the feathers near the vent, neck, or under the wings, and look for tiny crawling pests or clusters of their eggs.

Types of Mites Affecting Chickens

There are several types of mites that can infest your flock. Understanding the different species can help you choose the most effective treatment method.

Red Mites

Also known as roost mites, these pests are typically active at night and hide in the coop during the day. They feed on the blood of chickens, causing them discomfort and stress. Red mites are common in warm, humid climates.

Scaly Leg Mites

These mites burrow into the scales on your chicken’s legs, leading to swelling, redness, and scab formation. The scales may become raised and crusted, making it painful for your chickens to walk.

Northern Fowl Mite

Similar to red mites, these pests feed on the blood of chickens and are frequently found around the vent area. Northern fowl mites can cause significant anemia and irritation in severely affected birds.

Depluming Mite

As the name suggests, these mites cause feather loss as they burrow into the feather shafts. Chickens may become itchy and uncomfortable, leading to reduced egg-laying and poor health.

How to Treat Mite Infestations

Once you’ve identified that your chickens are infested with mites, it’s time to take immediate action to treat them.

1. Clean Out the Chicken Coop

Begin by thoroughly cleaning the coop. Remove all bedding, nesting material, and any removable objects. Scrub down the walls, flooring, roosts, and nest boxes with a mild detergent and water mixture. Rinse well to remove all traces of detergent. Once the coop dries, dust it with diatomaceous earth, which provides natural mite control, focusing on the crevices and corners where mites tend to hide.

2. Treat Your Chickens

Choose a suitable pesticide to treat your birds. Some effective options include:

  • Permethrin: A synthetic insecticide that is effective against most mite species. Use as directed on the label.
  • Pyrethrin: A natural insecticide derived from chrysanthemum flowers. It’s safe for birds and effective against many types of mites.
  • Ivermectin: An injectable or oral medication that can treat both internal and external parasites, including mites.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper administration and dosage. Monitor your birds for improvement and retreat as necessary, per the instructions.

3. Dip or Spray Infected Chickens

In some cases, dipping or spraying your chickens with a pesticide solution can be an efficient way to treat the infestation. Again, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing and application. Make sure to thoroughly wet the chickens, reaching the skin beneath the feathers, but avoiding their eyes and nostrils.

Preventing Future Mite Infestations

Maintaining a clean environment and taking preventative measures are key to keeping mites at bay. Keep your chickens healthy and mite-free with these recommendations:

1. Practice Good Coop Hygiene

Regularly clean your chicken coop, removing soiled bedding and replacing it with fresh material. Cleaning and disinfecting nest boxes, roosts, and feeding equipment will also help prevent mite infestations.

2. Use Diatomaceous Earth

Regularly dust your coop with food-grade diatomaceous earth to help control mite populations. You can also add some to your chickens’ dust baths, which they use to clean their feathers and skin.

3. Monitor Your Flock

Check your chickens regularly for signs of mite infestations, particularly if you’ve dealt with mites in the past. Catching an infestation early can significantly reduce its impact on your flock.

4. Quarantine New Birds

When adding new birds to your flock, keep them separated for at least two weeks. This allows you to monitor them for potential mite infestations or other health issues before introducing them to your existing flock.


Keeping your backyard chickens healthy and free of mites requires vigilance and a commitment to good coop management. By identifying mite infestations early, treating your birds and their environment promptly, and taking preventive measures, you can ensure your flock remains happy, healthy, and productive.

Natural Remedies for Mite Control

In addition to the previously mentioned treatment methods, there are some natural remedies that can help control mite infestations in your flock. Employing these methods can be a more environmentally-friendly and gentle approach to eradicating mites from your chickens’ lives.

1. Neem Oil

Neem oil is derived from the neem tree and has natural insecticidal properties. Mix a solution of neem oil and water, and spray it on your chickens, paying close attention to the vent area and under the wings. You can also apply the solution to the coop, nest boxes, and roosts.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar

Adding a small amount of apple cider vinegar to your chickens’ drinking water can help create an environment less hospitable to mites. Use a proportion of one tablespoon per gallon of water. The diluted vinegar can also be sprayed on coop surfaces as an additional deterrent.

3. Garlic

Garlic is a natural mite repellent and can be added to your chickens’ diet. Incorporate finely chopped, fresh garlic into their feed to help deter mites.

4. Predator Insects

Introducing predator insects like ladybugs or lacewings to your chicken coop can help control mite populations. These insects can be purchased from gardening supply stores and will consume mites and other pests that threaten your flock’s health.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

In some cases, mite infestations may become severe or persist despite your best efforts. If your chickens continue to suffer from mite infestations or if their health deteriorates, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian. A professional can provide further guidance and recommend specialized treatment options to help your chickens recover.

Improving the Immunity of Your Flock

A healthy, well-cared-for flock is less likely to suffer from severe mite infestations. Implementing preventative measures and providing your birds with a balanced diet, clean water, and appropriate shelter will help them maintain good health and resilience against mites and other pests.

1. Quality Nutrition

Provide your chickens with a high-quality, nutritionally balanced feed to support their immune systems. Incorporating a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as protein sources like mealworms or other insects, can help maintain their overall health.

2. Access to Clean Water

Make sure your chickens always have access to clean, fresh water. Change water frequently and clean the waterers to prevent the growth of algae or other contaminants.

3. Proper Shelter and Space

Provide your chickens with a safe, clean, and appropriately sized coop. Ensure adequate ventilation, roosting space, and nesting boxes to reduce stress and promote overall health within your flock.

By following the advice in this guide, you can successfully treat and prevent mite infestations, keeping your backyard chickens healthy and thriving. Remember to regularly check for signs of mites and maintain a clean and secure environment for your flock.

FAQ Section

Here, we have compiled answers to some frequently asked questions related to mite infestations in backyard chicken flocks. This information will help you better understand and address this common issue affecting the health and well-being of your birds.

1. How do chickens get mites?

Chickens can get mites through several ways, including contact with infected birds, contaminated bedding or equipment, and from wild birds frequenting the coop. Preventing mites involves maintaining a clean environment and closely monitoring your flock’s health.

2. How often should I inspect my chickens for mites?

Ideally, you should inspect your chickens for mites at least once a month. If you have dealt with mites in the past, increase the frequency of your inspections to catch early signs of infestation.

3. Are mites harmful to humans?

While chicken mites are primarily a concern for your avian friends, some mites like the red mite can cause temporary itching and irritation in humans through contact with the affected birds or their environment.

4. Can mites affect egg production in chickens?

Yes, mite infestations can lead to decreased egg production due to the stress, discomfort, and health issues they cause in your birds.

5. How can I disinfect mite-infested equipment and materials?

Thoroughly clean and disinfect mite-infested equipment and materials with a mild detergent and water mixture. Dispose of contaminated bedding, and allow equipment to dry completely before use.

6. How long does it take for a mite infestation to clear up?

With proper treatment, mite infestations can be eliminated within a few weeks. Severe infestations may require multiple treatments and longer recovery periods for your birds.

7. Can mite infestations cause disease in chickens?

While mites themselves do not directly transmit diseases, they can cause secondary infections and complications by damaging the skin or causing severe anemia in heavily infested birds.

8. Is diatomaceous earth safe for chickens?

Yes, food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for chickens when used as directed. It is an effective and natural way to control mite populations in your coop.

9. Can I use essential oils to treat mite infestations?

Some essential oils possess natural insecticidal properties and can be helpful in controlling mites. However, keep in mind that essential oils should be diluted and used with caution, as some oils can be toxic to chickens if applied incorrectly.

10. How do I know if a treatment is working?

You’ll know a treatment is working when you observe a reduction in mites on your birds and in their environment, as well as a visible improvement in the health and comfort of your chickens.

11. Are some chicken breeds more susceptible to mites?

All chicken breeds can be affected by mites, but those with feathered legs and feet may be more susceptible to scaly leg mites due to the increased surface area for mites to inhabit.

12. Can I prevent mites with natural remedies alone?

Natural remedies can be an effective part of your prevention strategy but may not always be sufficient on their own. Regularly cleaning your coop, using diatomaceous earth, and monitoring your flock’s health are all essential components in preventing mite infestations.

13. When should I consider consulting a professional?

If the mite infestation persists despite your efforts or if your chickens’ health deteriorates, consult a veterinarian or an experienced poultry consultant for guidance and recommendations.

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