Your flock could become infected with mites by new birds being introduced to the flock, by wild birds, or by taking them to poultry shows or auctions that have mites in the coops. These external parasites live on the host chicken, feed on its blood and quickly multiply. Within a short amount of time, mites can cause a large amount of damage.
Chicken owners initially notice mites by seeing a distressed look in their flock and noticing decreased egg production. Though mites do not infest humans, mites can crawl onto humans and bite, resulting in small red lesions and intense itching.
For chickens, mites can cause a plethora of problems. Chickens with bad infestations don’t lay as well and have reduced fertility. A chicken’s vent, particularly, gets affected. The vent’s moist skin and rich blood supply make it a favorite feeding ground for hungry mites. Signs to indicate mites include: scabs near the vent, lethargy, mite eggs on feathers and feather shafts, soiled feathers, and small, dark spots from mite droppings.
Mite prevention is essential to poultry health, and it is essential to check your birds often for signs of mites. Once there is a mite infestation, owners usually need to treat with chemical pesticides for the best results. However, mites can develop resistance to chemical treatments requiring the use of different or stronger pesticides. Continual monitoring of your flock is imperative to keeping mites under control.