5 symptoms to help you recognize (red) mites on chickens
Are you getting suspicious that your chickens might be affected by mites? Then you will probably recognize the following points:
1. Hens are agitated
Hens that are plagued by mites are often agitated. They give the impression of being stressed and adopt unfamiliar patterns. For instance, if one hen always lays an egg after eating, she now no longer does this and this can be a sign of stress. It is of course not always mites that cause this behavior, so to be sure you should also check the other symptoms listed below.
2. The chickens no longer want to roost on their perches
(Red) mites come out at night when it gets dark and this is just the time when the hens like to go to roost on their perches. Compare this to a hotel room where many flies are buzzing around, that’s not a pleasant atmosphere to go to sleep in. The hens feel exactly the same. So when the hens refuse to roost this can be a symptom of mites.
3. You don’t see the mites anywhere, but you have the feeling they are there
It is just as the symptom above describes: mites appear when it gets dark. During the day they climb down from the animals and hide in the mite nests. Therefore it is correct that you don’t see them, but they are there. To make absolutely sure that your hens have mites, you can do the test you can find here under point 2. A test you can easily do yourself by putting a plastic tube below the perch.
4. Dark spots in the cage near seams
Because red mites reproduce exponentially, there comes a time when you will see them. Unfortunately this moment does not come until the mite problem is already far too big. What you do see are dark spots near seams, nooks and crannies where the mites hide during the day and lay their eggs. The dark spots are the eggs; you will see them when there are already too many.
5. Blood spots on the eggs
Blood spots on the hens’ eggs can be a symptom of mites. The eggs roll across the mites after they have eaten their fill on the hens’ blood; the mite is crushed and then you see the blood on the egg.