How to get rid of red mites in your hen/chicken house

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By Katie

I really wanted to write a blogpost about red mites, because recently we have had an infestation in our hen/chicken house, so here is how to get rid of them.

Wooden hen/chicken house

Our little hen house

So the first thing you need to do is make sure you actually have red mites, there are a few ways you can tell.  To do that,  get all the hens out of their sleeping area and look in the corners of their house ( red mites tend to only come out at night so make sure you check at night time , or when it’s dark ) it’s easier to spot them with a torch. The second way you can tell, you might be able to notice that your hens are not laying as often as they should or sometimes they don’t even lay at all… And the third way you can tell is your hens will sleep outside instead of inside their house.

Inside a wooden hen house

Inside our hen house

Red mites look a bit like fleas/ticks (but really little) and you can usually see groups of them in the cracks of the hen house, they’re a yellowy grey colour, but once they have fed they turn red.
It’s dangerous for your hens because the red mites suck their blood at night, and they lose a lot of energy.  It can get so bad your hens might end up by dying!

Hens and sheep

Our hens and sheep.

Red mites are quite difficult to get rid of but there is a way…
First make sure your hen house has been cleaned out, and the bedding is BURNT to make sure no bugs stay hidden in the bedding.

This is just a picture of our fire, but don't actually burn the hens bedding in your wood burner!

This is just a picture of our fire, but don’t actually burn the hens bedding in your wood burner!

To clean your hen house it’s better to use a bleachy substance and you can also add some lavender or tea tree to make it smell nicer! Once your hen house has been cleaned out you can get some lime mortar and sprinkle it in your hen house, which should kill most of the bugs.   What it does is basically dry up the mites.
It’s best to make sure your hens aren’t in the house for a couple of hours just so it can get some air.

The other way to stop the red mites attacking your hens is to use a special powder which you sprinkle on them.

Red mite powder.

Red mite powder, to help get rid of the red mites.

After you have done this just check the inside of their house to make sure everything is still okay, make sure you also feed your hens quite a lot as they will have lost quite a lot of energy.

Some of the things that we give to our hens:                                                        -spaghetti, pasta, soup, old bread, flour.  We also give them egg shells. If you have laying hens keep the egg shells and the next time you cook something stick them in the oven too.

Where to keep your hen food.

The red pail where we keep all of our hens food.
(Apart from grains)

Once you take them out of the oven and they’ve cooled down a bit, crush them into little bits, then the next time you feed your hens sprinkle some of the egg shells on their food.

Giving your hens egg shells.

Where we keep our egg shells.

(Egg shells help the hens if their shell isn’t very strong)
I hope this works for you if you have red mites in your hen house.
We managed to get rid of our red mites and the hens are so much happier!


Our hens and the neighbour’s cockerel


Hens in a hen house.

The hens in their house.

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