Red mites are small external parasites of chickens that live in the cracks and crevices of poultry housing.
They are blood feeders and mainly feed at night but if there are large numbers they may be seen during the day. They then return to the housing during the day where they lay their eggs. They can be a problem in large numbers causing anaemia and affecting the health and production of birds.
Tell-tale signs of red mite infestation are grey speckled areas around perches and nest boxes, or clusters of grey to red moving specs that are small but still visible to the naked eye. If they have fed they will be red, if not they will be grey/black. They are commonly found where there are joins or small cracks in poultry housing.
Until now, treatment of red mites has been tricky and multiple treatments at regular intervals have been needed, often with poor results.
Vet Services now stocks a new product called Exzolt, a red mite treatment licensed for poultry, given orally (usually in the water). Treatment involves 2 doses, given 7 days apart, and is effective for at least 3 months.
This product is very effective but is only available in commercial sized packs. We are now able to offer this dispensed in small amounts for your backyard flock, with the added bonus of no egg withholding, so it is safe to eat eggs after treatment.