3 Easiest Ways to Get rid of Mites in Poultry Birds

Easiest Ways to Get rid of Mites in Poultry Birds

Poultry Mites are the major responsible factor for huge economic losses in poultry hubs. These external parasites mostly develop during warmer months while in winter seasons they divide at a slower rate.

If you are worried about chicken mites or don’t know about these parasites then you are at the right place. Here we will enlist all the details about Poultry mites, like how they look like, their mode of transmission, how you can spot them on your birds, and most importantly how to get rid of mites. So, stay tuned with us.

What are Poultry Mites and how they look like?

Poultry mites are the external parasites of poultry birds. All classes of poultry are susceptible to mites, some of which are blood-suckers, while others burrow into the skin or live on or in the feathers. These mites mostly look grey in color before feeding onto the host but once they’ve fed they turn red.

These mites mostly bite during the night when the flock is roosted ( during sleep or resting period). So the most obvious chances of their bite are on legs, feathers, and chest. During the daytime, they hide in the cervices.

Easiest Ways to Get rid of Mites in Poultry Birds

Types of Poultry Mites:

There are many types of poultry mites.

  • Poultry Red Mite
  • Northern Fowl Mite
  • Tropical Fowl Mite
  • Scaly Leg Mite
  • Common Chigger
  • Turkey Chigger
  • Cyst Mite
  • Depluming Mite
  • Feather Mite

Hows your Bird gets infected with mite?

There are various ways by which your poultry birds get infected with mites. They can be spread by bringing infected chickens into your flock, by wild birds, rodents, in infected bedding, or by you carrying them in on your shoes or clothing. Poultry mites are more prevalent and active in warm weather and during the summer, although some types do live in cold climates as well.

How you know that your Poultry Birds have Mites? | Signs and Symptoms:

Mites are small creatures so the best way to confirm that your birds get infected with mites is to confirm some signs and symptoms. The most obvious beings are:

  • Loss of Feathers
  • Scabs on legs
  • Color of Comb will be pale
  • Pale wattles
  • Birds show reluctant behavious towards roosting
  • In egg laying hens, fewer eggs than normal
  • Blood smears on legs
Easiest Ways to Get rid of Mites in Poultry Birds
clumps of mites mostly under the wings
Easiest Ways to Get rid of Mites in Poultry Birds
Loss of Feathers
Easiest Ways to Get rid of Mites in Poultry Birds
Scabs on legs

It must be noted here, that when you will examine your birds in order to check for mites, you will see clumps of mites mostly under the wings, base of feathers, and around the vent portion of your birds.

Check out a video that how to examine poultry birds for mites.

How to diagnose Poultry Mites?

A well-renowned pathologist said,

Forget the Treatment, Diagnosis is everything

Usually, in every disease, the diagnostic protocols revolve around clinical signs and symptoms and further confirmation by laboratory tests. In the same way, to diagnose mites in birds, you have to check the following mentioned things:

  1. Clinical signs and symptoms
  2. Go into your coop at night with a torch and a piece of white paper. Check along the perches. If you have a large number, you may be able to see them. Rub the paper along the bottom of the perches. Does it have red smears? If it does, it’s confirmed.

Treatment of Poultry Mites:

Before starting any treatment it is very necessary to follow some pre-treatment precautions.

Remove all the birds from cage:

You have to remove all your birds from the cage before applying any treatment protocols.

Disinfect all the beding equipments:

Now remove all the bedding and other cage equipment from coop houses. Mites can be in the cervices and cranks of poultry houses. So my advice is to burn the bedding and disinfect other poultry equipment thoroughly.

Don’t put removed bedding back. Burn it and replace it with new bedding. New Bedding should be fresh and dry.

Now there are many ways to get rid of poultry mites. Like there are some natural ways, but some prefer organic ways, other use chemicals to kill the mites. It is up to you which method suits you best. But we will give you some idea which method works best.

Now the 3 Easiest Ways to Get rid of Mites in Poultry Birds are:

  1. By Natural ways to kill mites
  2. Organic ways to kill mites in poultry birds
  3. By using chemicals to get rid from mites infestation

1- Natural Ways to Kill Poultry Mites:


You’ll see some information around the internet suggesting the only ‘natural’ way to get rid of chicken mites is to burn them with a blow-torch. 

I don’t recommend this. Why not? Because fire and chicken coops just don’t go together. A wooden coop and roosts, flammable bedding, and flames aren’t a good combination. Fire can spread very quickly, and with tragic results.

Predator mites.

This involves introducing a second mite into your coop which feeds on the red mite.

I haven’t used this personally, but a well-renowned poultry keep has tried this and got a good result.

2- Organic Ways to Kill Mites from Poultry Birds:

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE).

Tiny particles of fossilized remains with very sharp edges cut and dehydrate the insects.

Views about DE vary wildly, from some who say it’s bad for the respiratory tract in chickens (and humans), to others who claim it works marvels for all kinds of poultry problems.

The reality is somewhere in the middle. Used sparingly around the coop where mites collect, and in dusting hens suffering from mites, it can be very effective.

Poultry Shield.

It is only available in the UK in its liquid form. This is an organic, non-toxic product that is very effective at getting rid of mites from coops. Use it regularly for prevention, too.

In the US, although it’s not possible to buy the liquid version, you can order its powder form or import it from the UK. 

Wood ash.

Yep – plain old ash from a wood fire. But do not use ash from a fire which has burned treated wood, or any other substance – it must be pure wood ash.

Some people swear by dusting chickens thoroughly with this in case of an infestation. The easiest way is to put it in a bowl or bucket and rub it into the feathers, particularly under the wings and around the vent.

A note of caution: If you’re using this, make sure it is bone dry. Wet wood ash is caustic and will burn your chickens’ skin.  


If you already have an infestation, herbs will not get rid of mites quickly enough.  

As with an infestation of rats you might have to bite the bullet and use an insecticide first – and then opt for prevention methods by herbs.

The French marigold, tagetes patula, contains pyrethrum which is toxic to insects.

Pennyworth and peppermint are also both natural repellents. Use them dried, and sprinkled in your chickens’ dust-bath and coop.  The pretty Pennyworth can be an effective mite repellent.

3- Chemical treatments to get rid of mites infestation:

I like to try natural methods of pest control wherever possible – whether it’s with a rat infestation or these pesky insects.

But because they are so adept at survival, mites are notoriously hard to get rid of. So sometimes chemicals are the only answer.

If the infestation is really bad, you may have no choice but to use a chemical powder to get the insects under control. You’ll then be able to follow it up with the gentler, more natural methods of prevention described above.   

Make no mistake – these chemicals are poisons.  Always take these precautions:

  • Use protective gloves and a good mask. On no account breathe in the dust.
  • Keep away from children and pets.
  • Do not use outside on a windy day! Keep as much control as possible over the spread of these powders.
  • Use away from areas where “good” garden insects like bees fly. Most are fatal to bees – it’s one of the reasons the bee population is declining.
  • Take note of the warnings on each product. Some are poisonous to cats, some to waterfowl.
  • To apply, hold the chicken’s wings away from its body and, whichever dust you’re using, sprinkle it thoroughly underneath the wings and in the vent area.  
  • Do not sprinkle liberally over the chicken. In particular, avoid the head area.
  • Even if only one chicken seems to have mites, you will need to treat the whole flock. It’s likely that the others have latent eggs, which will hatch in a few days unless treated.
  • Treatment must be carried out three times, with one week in between each treatment. This is to make sure all the larvae are killed, as well as the active mites.

Which chemicals?

Look out for these chemicals named on products available commercially. If you’re at all worried about side effects, ask your veterinarian’s advice.

Sevin dust.

I avoid using this because it’s very toxic, and one of the worst killers of bees. There’s no doubt, though, that it does get rid of mites.

If you use it, keep it well away from flowering plants where bees congregate.


Used in humans to get rid of scabies, head lice and bed bugs. It works by entering the bloodstream. When the bug bites, it ingests the drug and is poisoned.

It works in much the same way with chickens. It can have side effects, both on the chickens and on humans (which is why protective gloves and a mask should be worn – something like this one).

It’s also toxic to waterfowl (so don’t use it on ducks), some collie-type dogs, and kittens.

Be careful. 


This is the product I use if I need to get rid of a bad infestation. It’s less toxic to mammals, apart from cats who are particularly susceptible to its toxicity, and fish.  

So keep it away from your cats and any water sources or ponds.

How can you prevent mites in the first place?

Prevention is always better than cure. There are a few fairly simple things you can do to make mites in the coop less likely.

  • Better animal husbandry
  • Regular inspections of your flock’s feathers, particularly under the wings and around the vent, will help stop mites really taking hold.
  • Checking your coop, particularly underneath roosts and in cracks and crevices, can identify the problem before it becomes too bad. Remember: the best time to do this is at night.
  • Provide dust bath to your flock is probably the single most important thing you can do. It’s the way chickens keep themselves clean.  
  • Quite often, they’ll find their own favourite place for a dust bath (mine prefer my plantpots!) but in winter particularly, that’s not as easy to do without your help.

Claudia Chicken, who prefers to use my plantpots as a dust-bathing spa!

  • A container (my largest one is the hard plastic lid of a child’s paddling-pool) with a good quality construction sand is ideal. 
  • My chickens actually prefer potting compost, and many people use wood ash – but, as I said above, if using wood ash make sure it is completely dry. If it gets wet it becomes caustic and will burn your poor chickens’ skin.
  • Adding herbs to your coop and to dust baths won’t hurt, may help – and will certainly smell nice! Try dried marigold petals which are a natural insecticide, or dried lavender, very relaxing for your laying hens!

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