No matter how careful we are, there are a number of Pesky Pests that can infect your chickens and their environment. If left unchecked, external parasites can be really problematic and even jeapordise the health of your flock. To help keep your chickens healthy, productive and happy, follow these top tips from Nettex.
1. Be vigilant: Keep a close eye on your birds and check their housing regularly for any signs of an outbreak or infestation. The sooner you catch it, the easier it is to deal with.
a. Housing: Weekly cleans will help you notice an infestation fast, and pay particular attention to the small nooks and crannies were parasites are likely to lurk. Nest boxes and roosting bars should also be checked regularly.
b. Birds: Watch for any unusual behaviour in your flock and be sure to give them monthly health checks after they have gone to roost (when they are more likely to be infected). It helps to know what’s ‘right’ for each bird so you can notice what's 'wrong' early.
2. Cleaning routine: Do a full clean of your flock's housing as often as possible (ideally weekly) and take the coop apart to get at all the hard-to-reach areas. Aim to do a big clean and strip-down at the beginning and end of the summer, making sure to check all nooks and crannies. Once finished, wash and dry the housing and then spray with Nettex Total Mite Kill Ready to Use Solution (remember to shake it first). This is a disinfectant product, which contains a coating agent that continues to act on the mites even after it has dried. Shake Nettex Total Hygiene Powder liberally in the coop, paying close attention to corners and nest boxes.
3. No straw, hay or newspaper: Parasites including mites and lice love heat and damp environments, so eliminating these from the housing helps to keep the parasites away. Straw and hay also harbour mites in the stalk tubes and contain dust spores, while newspaper will ‘wick’ wetness and get damp. While we all love the image of a hen sitting on a nest of straw, in reality, you are safer sticking to something drier such as a shredded hemp bedding.
4. Dustbath: A dust bath in your covered run encourages social behaviour, and Nettex Total Hygiene Powder in the dust bath can help discourage parasites too.
5. Sunshine: UV light is an effective natural disinfectant, helping to kill parasites and red mites. Aim to lay the panels and parts of your coop out in the sunshine while you clean it.
7. If you notice your birds seem a little out of sorts or under the weather, support their health with a supplement such as Nettex Vit Boost + added to the chicken’s water or Nettex Mineral Boost Powder in their food.
8. Check your chickens’ legs regularly for early signs of Scaly Leg Mites. These pesky parasites waste no time in burrowing under the scales, leading to sores and plenty of discomfort. Use Nettex Scaly Leg Spray to suffocate the mites and help bring relief. To apply, use a soft toothbrush.
9. When buying new birds always check them carefully and tackle any pest issues before introducing them to the rest of the flock.
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Written by: Nettex (Guest Author)