A tale of Mite-ee proportions.08:00:00
Off to greener pastures. No, no, no, not to Steggles, but off to Aroona and by reports and after checking on them on the weekend they have settled in very nicely.
I threw my hands in the air last week and we got rid of the chooks. Bye Bye!!
Why you ask?
Teeny tiny, fullstop (.) sized mites.
Horrible things they are.
The kids had been getting bites on them for weeks. Red, flea like bumps that itch like crazy.
Last Monday Hugh was scratching the sides of his thigh and his crotch on overdrive and I asked if he was okay and checked him out of course as all good mums do.
Well, the sight?? He had about 40 bites all within the vicinity of his undies and it was itchy. Really itchy. Poor kid. Cam actually had to tell his kinder teacher when he dropped him off last week that he wasn't suffering some horrible disease or infection of his nether regions because he was scratching so much!!
What the hell?
Then Cam and I put two and two together and remembered the kids playing down in the chook shed on the weekend and realised it was from the chooks.
So out I went to inspect and yep, under the perch crawling in the corner were mites.
It was Quarantine time. I shut the gate of the chook pen to keep the kids out and to keep the chooks in. Then Cam put Pestene powder everywhere. Hopefully this would help until the weekend when we could get rid them and clean out the entire coop.
Then I googled!!
Oh man. I should not have googled. I had bed bugs, mite infestations in the house, mites in the bed, mites on the walls and infestations that could possibly never ever go away. I also felt itchy. You know like that feeling you get when you think of head lice. Yuk!!
One way I was going to combat these mites if they were actually hiding in the house from travelling in with the kids, was to clean, clean and clean. I vacuumed, I washed all the sheets, all the bed covers, I sprayed with all the Eucalyptus and Tea Tree I could muster and wiped over all the walls, and all the beds, basically everywhere. The house was and is spotless.
We didn't have any bites for a few days. Keeping the kids out of the pen was working. Then of course Ollie somehow snuck into the chook pen after the kids went behind the gate to check the raspberries. He was at the hanging feeder, throwing seeds everywhere the little angel. So I grabbed him and once we were out of the pen I took all his clothes off then and there. I spotted two mites on me and then chucked him in the shower just to make sure they were all gone.
At 2am that evening I awoke to Oliver, the usual thing that happens at that time and then once he was settled I was back in bed. Within minutes of turning the light off I could feel them crawling on me. I just had to make sure that it was not just my imagination, so I went into the bathroom and low and behold there they were, three tiny little suckers crawling along my forehead, right on the hairline. Yuk, Yuk Yuk!! I was not impressed at all.
The worst thing about these mites is that they hide during the day and then go looking for food, blood that is, at night time. They attack the chooks while they are on their perches at night time. On humans if they get on you, they feast always in the warmest of places, armpits, groin and even the waist line of your undies and bra. Clusters and rows of bites. You never see the darned things. Only to itch through the aftermath the next few days. The bites really are bloody itchy.
So then of course I nuked the house as any sensible person would do in this situation.
I flea bombed the shit out of it and washed all my bedding...again and sprayed and sprayed more Eucalyptus and more Tea Tree Oil. The mites hate the stuff apparently.
At this stage of my epidemic I knew that is was from going to get Ollie earlier in the day and a few mites had got on me, but just the thought alone of them hiding somewhere sent me into another cleaning frenzy. On the flip side, the house smelt really good again too!!
So last Saturday, Cam cleaned out the pen and we sent the chickens away. Bye Bye chookies!
I know we could have just managed the problem with treatment and Pestene powder, but I just couldn't deal with this happening again. Too much bloody work in my books.
What did I learn from this whole experience??
1. We needed to look after the chooks a little bit better, especially with the sudden humidity and rain. We have obviously had mites forever but proportions were kept in check from the chooks regularly dust bathing themselves. The change in the weather sent the mites into population overdrive and they took over the coop! Next time I will regularly dust the chooks and pen with Pestene or DE powder to keep the mites in check.
2. I discovered a wonderful online site called BackyardChickens.com. They have a service whereby you can ask any questions related to chooks and someone will promptly reply within minutes and in my instance they were very helpful and certainly reduced my worries about mites. They assured me that I wouldn't have a mite infestation in my home, and that once the problem was treated, simply with DE or Pestene Powder, the mites will go away. If only I had found this site earlier instead of Google.
3. Do not google chicken mites. Do Not!! See above.
4. Clearly I am not ready for chooks as much as I would like to think I am. I like the eggs and I enjoy watching them strut around the yard, but clearly with the kids and the inside of the house, Im busy enough. Maybe when we are out at the farm and when the kids are older to help and where we dont have the problems of all the mite carrying sparrows, pigeons, magpies and minors frequenting the cage to steal all the seeds, we wont have this problem again.
Thinking of keeping chooks?
Beware the mite!!
I hope you enjoyed my sentimental pics of our lovely girls throughout this post.
Ill miss them but I wont miss them.
Got any mite tales to tell?
Thanks for visiting today.