The red poultry/chicken mite is a blood sucking parasite of poultry and wild birds.
The red chicken or poultry mite (Dermanyssus gallinae) is a parasite of birds and rodents. The tiny (1 mm) mites suck the blood of the birds which gives them their red colour; they are pale when they have not had a blood feed. Poultry mites have been known to transmit disease and will cause dermatitis and mange, generally reducing bird health and productivity.
The mites live in cracks and crevices in the poultry house and move onto roosting birds at night to feed. Night time is the best time to check your birds and their house for evidence of the mites.
Smooth surfaces without cracks and crevices help keep populations down. Avoid hen houses made from rough sawn timbers; especially tongue and groove styled timbers. Smooth surfaces, like plastic or galvanised iron are easy to clean and keep free of mites.
Ensure birds have a dust bowl so they can carry out their natural parasite removal dust bath.
If birds are affected by mites contact your veterinarian for advice and products for application to the birds. Note: only veterinary products registered for use on birds for control of mites should be used.
There are other mites such as scaly leg mite which burrow under the scales on the legs of hens; check with your veterinarian for treatment of these.
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