Mites in Poultry

Mites are a common problem in poultry and require regular inspection and treatment to maintain health in the flock.  There are three main types of mites that most commonly affect poultry, Red/Roost Mites, Northern Fowl Mites, and Scaly Leg Mites.   When your flock has a mite infestation, it can cause significant health problems and can affect egg production and fertility. Inspection to identify the various types of mites are each unique and will be described below.  


Who:  All birds including:

  • Chickens
  • Ducks
  • Geese
  • Turkeys
  • Game Birds
  • Pigeons

Where:  Worldwide. 

When:  All ages, but more commonly in grown birds

Why: Usually flocks first get exposed to mites via wild birds then once established they reside in the coop and reproduce. 

How:  Spread from bird to bird via roosting bars, bedding and direct contact.  Anytime mites are discovered, a full clean out of the coop as well as dusting the bedding with Sevin or Poultry Dust powder will go a long way in controlling an infestation along with treating the birds themselves.  Details of how to do so is below.  


Roost Mites (Also called Red mite)

  • Feed only at night
  • Live in cracks or under roosting bar where eggs are laid
  • Reproduce fastest in warm weather
  • Identification of roost mites on birds must be done at night since they only live on birds at night
  • Identification during the day involves inspecting the underside of roosts for evident of red mites or their eggs

Northern Fowl Mites

  • Northern Fowl Mites are bloodsuckers and cause brown scabs on the skin
  • Stay on birds for their full life cycle (about one week)
  • Northern Fowl Mites can be easily identified by inspecting the vent for small, black, moving bugs.  They also are often found under the wing, in the hackles or on the head on feather-headed birds such as Polish chickens. 
  • There are several possible treatments ranging from dusting with Sevin powder, washing the bird in water with some flea and tick shampoo added, or spraying a small spray of Frontline or Adams Flea and Tick below the vent

Scaly Leg Mites

  • Scaly Leg Mites burrow under the scales on the leg of the chickens and cause irritation and raised scales
  • In severe cases, an infestation of scaly leg mites can cause lameness
  • They can also sometime affect the comb and wattles.  
  • Treatment options include coating the legs with vaseline or dipping the affected legs in kerosene or motor oil up to twice per week until improvement is seen


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A righteous man cares about his animal's health...

Proverbs 12:10a