Peggy : I Think I have a mite problem in my run, what can I use to get rid of the mites that won’t harm my hens, I have 2 hens that are each setting on a couple of eggs and don’t want to endanger the chicks if they hatch. A friend said I could put out sevin dust, but I’m not sure how safe it will be for the hens. Thanks for any help you can give. Peggy Flatt
My Reply : People have successfully used sevin dust (which contains Carbaryl) with poultry in years past, and swear by it, but it has been banned in some countries (including the UK and Australia) over human health fears. There are many poultry pest products available, a lot of which are non-chemical – often they will have food grade diatomaceous earth as one of their ingredients (sometimes it is the only ingredient). If purchasing diatomaceous earth directly you must be sure to get the food grade kind (there is also a type that gets used in pools which is not animal friendly). A little goes a long way – it is very drying and although the food grade kind is safe for chickens and animals you don’t want to create a dust cloud in the coop that they will then be breathing in whilst sitting on the nest or get it into their eyes etc. (really, the same goes for any dusting product and when applying, gloves and masks are recommended). Food grade DE is a natural product and can be a good prevention and/or for mild treatments but if you have a major infestation you may need something a little more aggressive – there are several poultry mites treatments on the market and all will come with their own specific instructions for use. As mites tend to live in the crevices of the coop another natural ‘treatment’ is to clean the coop – I keep an old vacuum cleaner for jobs like hoovering around any crevices in the coop and then steam clean as well – in theory that should at least reduce the numbers of mites if any were hiding out in there.