Mite I interest you in some dust?

The chickens had been laying fairly consistently for weeks when egg production abruptly dropped. We actually had a zero day. 

At first we thought it was just the weather. It’s been very rainy and gloomy. Not enough light. But then we noticed a couple of the birds looking a little raggedy, and upon close inspection we found mites. 

Oh dear. Mites are a part of life with poultry, but under certain conditions they can get out of control and cause serious harm to the birds. Ordinarily, a simple dust bath is all the birds need to control them, but did I mention the rain?

I’ve heard stories of people burning down chicken coops to try to eradicate bad infestations, but luckily in the Pacific Northwest, that’s not necessary. The species of mite we have here can’t live long off the bird, so the coop can be cleaned pretty easily. 

So I filled a shallow Rubbermaid tote with some dirt, sand, and diatomaceous earth. Mixed together it makes a pretty good dust bath. Naturally, the weather got better immediately. Anywho, we started cleaning the coop a little more often and spreading more DE each time. 

It took less than 48 hours for the birds to improve. And now that the ameraucana hens are starting to lay, we are now well back in the green! Speaking of green, at least one of the girls is laying green eggs now!

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