Thursday, August 20, 2009

Red-blasted-mites. Itchy scratchy part 3.

Sorry folks - I wasn't going to mention my mates the mites again. Red Mites. Chicken suckers. Itchy scratchy bastards. This is in the nature of a public service broadcast. Out there somewhere may there may well be some innocent Googler desperate to know what to do about their own infested chicken hut. Will it help to learn from my experiences?

Cast your minds back six weeks or so. I am dressed foolishly doing battle with the little critters which have, in a matter of days, invaded my deluxe hen-house-on-wheels. I scrub, I brush, I burn. I don my tea-towel face mask and shower cap hair protector. I brush with Red Mite solution. I paint a nasty patent medicine into the tongue and groove boarding. I puff diatomaceous earth (Necromite) into cracks, crevices, bedding, birds and dust baths. I sit back and wait for a mite-free day. And wait and wait and wait.


I suppose had I done nothing then the infestation may well have been immeasurably worse - but the little clusters of mites, which could each day be reduced under the thumb's pressure to a nasty bloody pulp, meant the problem had not gone away. They seem to thrive on diatomaceous earth - or is that just my imagination?.

I've cleaned out (again), blow-torched for the umpteenth time and this time washed down with Poultry Shield before dusting once again with the desiccating Necromite. I'll know tomorrow if I've been successful.

The answer may well be in a poultry house of seamless moulded plastic - no nooks and crannies for unwelcome visitors. In an ideal sci-fi world the door would be a beam of impenetrable rays. Perches would be shafts of light and nest boxes pools of comfy molecules. Dream on.

The hens are very well, thank you.


Pondside said...

EEK - I'm feeling itchy! I've been left in charge of our hens while The Great Dane is away and now I'm worried that red mites might possibly be able to travel through cyber space - just thinking of them may produce them.
Big sympathy from me to you - and now I'll head down to put the hens away for the night and I won't look too closely in case of mites!

Lindsay said...

Our red mite infestation (some years ago) disturbed the hens and they all became very itchy and would not settle in their hen house at all. Mites used to crawl up my arms and into my hair when I cleaned the hen house out. We never conquered the problem entirely - so good luck!

Wipso said...

Oh poor you [and hens of course]. Sorry to say I have no suggestions for you. Hope you've killed them all now and this morning brings good news. Do let us know. Really hope they aren't transportable on clothing. :-)

rachel said...

That's my rural hen-keeping fantasy laid to rest FOR EVER....

Word verification is sprotto - could that be Red Mite Sprotto, the nasty disease you catch from having mites infest your hair and clothing?

Wipso said...

Consider yourself tagged. Please check out my blog

Frances said...

So sorry to read this.

Like another commenter, I now have pushed my hen-keeping fantasy a bit back in the fantasy queue.

I wonder if the mite influx is another result of changing weather patterns. Perhaps the usual natural mite enemy is not doing so well this year due to heat, rain, whatever? Sounds as if nature has got out of balance.


Fennie said...

Could it have been that you had a hatching of eggs? - the parent mites having been killed in your first cleansing operation? Presumably the eggs would be laid on the chickens and then would hatch and feed growing to full size in a few days. I am just speculating here. Maybe this time you will have killed mites and eggs. Hope problem sorts itself out quickly.

snailbeachshepherdess said...

word verif - GLUMB - i just fell about =
dont forget what is my shed - you are welcome to some anytime, oh and the honesty is nearly ready - has started to dry = how dey do you want it?

GeraniumCat said...

This is indeed one of the reasons why I opted for the seamless moulded plastic poultry house, *but* I am not a serious poultry keeper. However, having had the same problem in the past, when I decided I wanted to have a few hens again, I decided we would pay a huge sum for a house which was easy to clean out - once a week I empty out droppings trays, wipe round with a disinfectant spray and scrub the removeable perch. For rural fantasists - as opposed to proper serious poultry keepers - an eglu is the way to have your cake and eat it. My sympathies to you and the poor hens.