Diatomaceous earth is good for preventing red mite
QI am new to hen keeping and have heard about the dangers of red mite. I don’t know what to look for to establish if my birds have this. Can you help?
AVictoria says: The main danger of red mite is their ability to cause anaemia by their blood-sucking activities on hens at night. The mites crawl out of hiding (they hate daylight and so you will not see them on the hens in the day) and along the perches to the birds. This is irritating and can make the hens reluctant to go in the coop. However, if they stay outside at night they are, of course, vulnerable to predators. The mite faeces look like pale dust or cigarette ash in the crevices of the hut. Spraying the coop with a long-acting insecticide (eg RIP, but it must be dry before the hens go back in) works well. Using Diatom (diatomaceous earth) all year round in the hut and nestbox is helpful as this fossilised algae dries out the external skeleton (chitin) of the mites, slowly but surely preventing the escalation of mite numbers as their lifecycle is a mere 10 days in warm weather, but they do still breed in the winter.
Using diatomaceous earth all year round in the coop and nestbox is helpful as this fossilised algae dries out the external skeleton of the mites