How do I prevent lice and mites?
First rule of thumb for prevention of Lice and Mites is to be vigilant: It is important to keep an eye on your chickens as you will be able to tell if your chicken’s health is being affected by an infestation. Also clean and check housing regularly and catch any outbreak fast – it makes it that much easier to deal with.
a. Housing: Check the housing carefully every week when you clean it, pay special attention to all the nooks and crannies, ends of roosting bars and the nest boxes.
b. Chickens: Keep an eye on your flock for any unusual behaviour, give them monthly health checks after they have gone to roost (they are more biddable then). It really helps you to know what’s ‘right’ for each chicken and spot any issues quickly.
Bedding can make a huge difference. Try not to use straw, hay or newspaper: Mites and Lice love heat and dampness, so eliminating these from the housing helps to keep the parasites away. Straw and hay also both harbour mites in the stalk tubes and contain dust spores, while newspaper will ‘wick’ wetness and get damp. We all love the image of a hen sitting on a nest of straw, but in reality, you are best to stick to something dried such as one of the shredded hemp bedding.
It is also important to remember when buying in new chickens always check them carefully and tackle any pest issues before introducing them to the rest of the flock to limit any possible infestation.
Another handy tip is to use Nettex Total Hygiene Powder in the dust bath. A dust bath in your covered run encourages social behaviour, and Nettex Total Hygiene Powder in the dust bath promotes hygiene and dryness resulting in an inhabitable environment for Red Mites.
If you do spot any mites clean your coop weekly and treat for any possible mite problems using the Nettex Total Mite 3 step regime.