Oh No!

July 22nd, 2009 .

Today I was cleaning out the chickens, when I noticed a small pile of black poo in the corner of the nest box that the chickens sleep in. I went to pick it up when I noticed it was moving! At first I thought that ants had somehow got into the coop, but on closer inspection it was a pile of thousands of tiny mites.

At first I thought this was chicken poop...

At first I thought this was chicken poop...

...but chicken poop doesnt move!

...but chicken poop doesn't move!

I’m not 100% sure what these are but I think they might be the dreaded red mite. Even though most of the mites were black, when I wiped them off the dust pan and brush it left streaks of red blood over it so I think they have been feeding on the girls. This might be why they keep making such a racket every morning!

A close up of the parasites

A close up of the parasites

I didn’t have time to completely clean the coop today, but I spent a good hour and a half removing all of the bedding from the floor. Most of the mites were in the nest box, so after I had cleaned it out I spread a lot of stalosan f over the floor (it is a powdered disinfectant) and blocked the nest box off so that the girls can’t sleep in there. I also removed the bedding from the rest of the coop apart from the area where the girls lay (there didn’t seem to be any mites in there).

I think this weekend will be time to give the coop a good clean out – I intend to go to my local pet shop and buy some mite powder. I will then give the coop a good clean out and replace all of the bedding, and give it a good sprinkling of mite powder.

I feel really bad for the girls – there were so many mites and they must have been driving the girls nuts! When the girls went in to sleep tonight I lifted the lid of the coop slightly to see what they would do. When they first went in, they had a good look at the wood blocking off the nest box. Then they went up to it and started pecking at it – trying to find away into the section that they normally sleep in. It was really horrible to watch – they clearly wanted to go sleep in their usual spot but I think it is best to keep them out of there for a few days.

2 Responses to “Oh No!”

  1. Steves Mum says:

    How horrible! There is always something to worry about when you keep animals. You seem to be pretty good at dealing with it though.

  2. Richard says:

    Clean your coop out and give your hens some room!!