1. Poor house and fur­ni­ture de­sign

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

The more com­plex the en­vi­ron­ment, the more op­por­tu­nity there is for a mite pop­u­la­tion.

Build­ing de­sign is a sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor as red mites are known to breed pro­fusely in the dark cor­ners, cracks and crevices of a coop.

UK re­searchers found old build­ings were more likely to host mites. These were more likely to have ideal red mite refuges like walls, feeder and nest box sys­tems with a mix of metal and wooden struc­tures with un­sealed joins and junc­tions.

One sim­ple change was the use of a sil­i­con sealant in the folds and joints of feed­ers and walls where mites could live, a sim­ple, cheap and po­ten­tially ef­fec­tive con­trol mea­sure.

In stud­ies of Swiss poul­try sys­tems, hy­giene was shown to have a large in­flu­ence on the oc­cur­rence of red mite. The den­si­ties of red mite were higher in deep-lit­ter sys­tems than in sys­tems where the scratch­ing (feed) area and dung-stor­ing fa­cil­i­ties (like a dung pit or board) were sep­a­rate. If you are us­ing a deep lit­ter sys­tem (which has a lot of ben­e­fits) it is im­por­tant to keep the lit­ter dry and to add a layer of fresh, clean lit­ter on top reg­u­larly.

Us­ing plas­tic in a coop doesn’t stop mites, but it does make it eas­ier to phys­i­cally re­move them, us­ing a wa­ter blaster. Nest boxes are a prime spot for in­fes­ta­tion, so one op­tion is to use a plas­tic con­tainer as a nest box: it’s cheap, and easy to re­move and clean.

Tem­per­a­tures above 45°C kill red mites so plas­tic nest boxes, feed­ers and wa­ter­ers can also be re­moved and soaked in hot wa­ter.

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