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Pesky Pests in Poultry


There are a number of Pesky Pests that can live on your chickens or in their housing, they can be a real problem for your flock – it is essential to identify, tackle if necessary and help deter future infestations.

Which Pesky Pests could affect my chickens?

• Red Mites
• Lice
• Northern Fowl Mites
• Scaly Leg Mites

Red Mites

These parasites live in the housing. They emerge after dark to feed off the chickens.



How will I know if I have a Red Mite infestation?

A heavy infestation will severely affect the health of your flock; it can stop them laying, cause anaemia and even kill birds. Before this however, there are more subtle signs that you might have an infestation:

• Chickens may avoid going into the coop at night
• There could be tiny blood spots on the eggs
• Your chickens may be more irritated with each other than normal, and look pale or anaemic
• You spot either mites, or their faeces – the latter looks like grey ash-type deposits – along crevices inside the coop.



How should I tackle Red Mite infestations?

Red Mites live in housing so a regular weekly inspection and prevention routine is essential to tackle them and keep them at bay.To remove the constant threat of Red Mites, a weekly 4 step programme is advised:

1. Spray the entire coop with Nettex Total Mite Kill Ready To Use Spray – this will disinfect as well as eradicate mites. This product contains a coating agent which will continue to act on the mites even after it has dried – therefore always shake the product before each use. Never use Nettex Total Mite Kill Ready To Use Spray directly on the birds – it is for application to housing only. Always ventilate treated areas and allow them to dry fully (they dry very quickly) before returning any birds to the treated area.

2. Then use Nettex Total Mite Kill Aerosol Spray in the hard to reach areas of housing where mites love to hide, such as cracks and crevices and leave to dry.

3. Finally, once dry apply Nettex Total Hygiene Powder liberally over bedding, perches, dustbaths and nest boxes and refill the coop with fresh bedding.

4. Should you have an infestation use Nettex Total Mite Kill Ready To Use Spray and Nettex Total Mite Kill Spray Aerosol initially as per the directions above. Repeat three days later and then move to the preventative weekly regime above. Use Nettex Total Hygiene Powder everytime you clean and replace the bedding.



Poultry Lice and Northern Fowl Mites.

Unlike Red Mites, these parasites live on your chickens and are transmitted from wild birds in your garden.

How will I know if my chickens have lice or Northern Fowl Mite infestation?

Because these parasites live on the chickens if there is an infestation you will be able to see them or their eggs if you regularly examine your birds. Lice are small brown critters, Northern Fowl Mites are smaller and black. Both lice and Northern Fowl Mites feed off your chickens’ blood, which makes them irritable and grumpy; they may peck each other or pull out their own feathers. Infested hens may also look pale, and may stop laying for no apparent reason.



How should I tackle them?

It is relatively easy to tackle these pesky pests, and it is essential to consider the housing as well as the chickens to prevent any re-infestation:
1. Thoroughly clean out the coop, remove all faeces, dry matter and bedding.
2. Spray the coop with Nettex Total Mite Kill Ready To Use Solution this will disinfect and kill any mites and lice in the housing. This product contains a coating agent which will continue to act on the mites even after it has dried – therefore always shake the product before each use. Once this has dried apply Nettex Buz Busters Louse Powder thoroughly inside the coop, before replacing the bedding and roosting bars.

Scaly Leg Mites

Scaly Leg Mites are particularly nasty; they spend their entire life cycle on the chicken and they are spread by direct contact with other birds.

How will I know if my chickens have Scaly Leg Mites?

Scaly Leg Mites burrow under the scales of a chicken’s legs causing great irritation, which the hen tries to relieve by pecking. This creates painful sores on the legs. The scales will look raised, with a crusty exudate under them; this is the mites’ excrement.

How should I tackle them?

Scaly legs can be easily managed with the following 2 step programme:
1. Spray the legs of affected chickens with Nettex Scaly Leg Spray. This product suffocates the mites, eases the discomfort and provides a barrier to deter and protect the legs. Apply to the legs with a soft toothbrush, in an upward motion, gently working it under the scales.
2. Apply initially, then repeat every 3 days for 3 weeks to break the lifecycle of the mites, until the scabs have gone from under the scales.
Note that the scales may remain raised for a period of time even after the mites have gone.



Top Tips

• Weekly inspection of your flock and a prevention routine is essential.
• When buying in new chickens always check and treat them before introducing them to the flock.
• An infestation can cause hens to use up valuable nutrients required for laying. Support peak egg production and quality by adding Nettex Egg and Shell Support Powder to their feed.
• Add Nettex Apple Cider Vinegar to your flocks drinking water to support health and vitality during infestation. Avoid using in very hot temperatures, where birds may consume more water than usual.

Identify the threat – Tackle infestations – Deter Pesky Pests. Keep your chickens happy and productive with Nettex.

For further information and advice concerning Pesky Pests visit the Nettex advice center or Facebook or Instagram @NettexPoultry and find a stockist here.