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News Advice & Tips 19.02.19

Beware of Mites!

Did you know that chickens need regular worming and mite treatment? Failure to keep them pest free can lead to loss of condition, problems laying, emaciation and even death.

Taurus and the Zodiac ladies recently came to us as their owner could not longer care for them. They looked a little scruffy and thin on arrival but nothing to cause major concern until closer inspection showed all of them to be absolutely infested with mites. These feed on the blood of chickens and can multiply quickly, particularity during the warmer months. Red mites hide inside the nook and crannies of the coop during the day and come out to feed on the chickens at night while others, such as Northern Fowl Mite, live on the bird itself. Other types include Scaly Leg Mite and Depluming Mite which affect the leg scales and feather shaft.

All mites are extremely bad news and cause pain, irritation and weight loss in chickens. If an infestation is bad enough, it can even kill them.Taurus and his girls had filthy, matted bottoms which were very smelly and as you can see from the photo below, mite eggs laid around their vent which must have been excruciating.

The good news is that mites can be easily treated (and still better prevented) with plenty of products readily available on the market. Most modern products do not even have a withdrawal period and your vet will always be happy to answer any questions you might have about the best choice for your birds. As Spring approaches, please be vigilant. Check your birds daily to see what condition they are in and if there any changes. Chickens are generally very hardy but they can go downhill fast when they become sick. Signs of mites can be weight loss, feather loss and a pale comb and wattle. A dirty bum, lethargy and a reluctance to go into the coop at night can also be a sign.

Taurus and the girls are improving every day. They are out of isolation and are doing what chickens do best; exploring and getting into mischief! Despite his size Taurus is an incredibly gentle chap and very good at marshaling his ladies. The zodiac girls are a mix of hybirds; Light Sussex, Goldlines, Colombian Black Tails and Marans. They are sociable, easy going birds who will make a lovely flock for someone.

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