Poultry Red Mites

Poultry Red Mites (Dermanyssus gallinae) are a common parasite of birds and poultry and they can be difficult to treat effectively. The Red Mites feed predominately on the blood of the birds, but can also feed on skin and feathers. They feed for 1-2 hours at a time, but can survive up to eight months between feeds, making effective treatment important. They hide away in cracks and crevices in the housing, where they also lay their eggs. This can make it easy to miss their presence if examining the flock during the day.

Large infestations in your birds can lead to high levels of stress in the birds and result in anaemia, reduced egg production and if not treated, can lead to the death of the birds, all of which can have an economic impact. Red Mites can also carry diseases, such as the chicken pox virus, fowl typhoid, Newcastle Disease and salmonella. They can also bite humans working with the birds, causing a type of dermatitis.

Poultry Red Mites

Red Mites are commonly found in wooden, metal and plastic housing, and they are also becoming increasingly common in battery cages, where they cause severe health problems and economic loss. The tiny Red Mites can vary in appearance, depending on when they last fed, and are only red when they have recently consumed blood. Mites can appear yellow, brown, grey or black, as the interval between feeds increases and the best time to examine the housing is at night, when the mites can often be seen both on and off the bird. When checking around housing areas for mites, a ‘grey ash’ substance around cracks and crevices can be evidence of mite faeces.

Chicken Farm Red Mite Treatment


• Decreased egg production

• Increase in feed intake coupled with decreased egg production

• Pale combs and wattles (anaemia)

• Scratching and feather pecking

• Depressed birds, lacking vitality

• Emaciation or even weight gain

• Reluctance to use nest boxes

• Normally plain eggs with Dark dots or speckles

• Red Mite Faeces (Whitish-grey ‘ash’ ) around the edges of housing

• If in doubt, ask your vet.