Chicken Mites

Mites are a common problem is chicken husbandry, with three main mites causing the bulk off your problems

  • Northern Fowl Mite
  • Red Mite
  • Knemidocoptes mutans – Scaley Leg Mite

Clinical signs vary, but often you will see signs of:
  • Illthrift
  • Feather loss or damage
  • Reduced condition
  • Anaemia
  • Reduced egg laying
  • And many more
  • With scaley leg mite – you can see scaley, crusty and dry legs, with evidence of mites burrowing into the skin of the legs.


Treatment goals always include eliminating mite access to your chickens.

Northern fowl mites are host dependent, and live on your chickens all the time. They can successfully live off a host chicken for up to 5 days. So treating your chickens can be achieved by using topical pyrethroid anti-parasitics. And by treating the environment with diatomaceous earth.

Red mites – As these mites only live on your chickens at night, they can persist really effectively in your environment and coop. It can be worth treating the environment, thoroughly washing out all the coop, disposing of bedding and using diatomaceous earth. But sometimes all you can do is burn the coop down, move your chickens during the day and start again.

Scaley Leg Mites live in affected skin, and whilst oil immersion treatments can assist in limiting mite movement, it is most effectively paired with a macrocyclic lactone treatment, such as ivermectin or moxidectin.

Flap to it!

References –
Unusual Pet Vets and Suburban Chooks presentation. Frankston. 2019

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