For those new to chicken ownership, many go down the rout of trying as many natural products as possible in their coop and on their hens.
However, there are many NATURAL products that are just as toxic if not worse than the commercial chemical product.
Are all oils safe for chickens?
I recommend checking out the Chicken Whisperer's website, Facebook page and magazine where he expertly delves into the facts behind using oils, their claims and results.
I highly recommend using Tea Tree Oil on humans....only. Externally only.
When you are tackling the cleaning of mite infested chicken shed and pest dusting or medicating the chickens, you will inevitably get mites on you. They are so small that you will not be able to find them all. You might even notice them walking across your phone screen!
Immediately change out of your coop cleaning clothes and put them on a hot wash. Have a hot soapy shower to try to remove mites from your body so as to minimise transferring mites into your home furnishings - particularly your bed.
After you shower, apply Tea Tree Oil liberally over parts of your body.
The most common places mites will bite a human are (apply tea tree oil to these parts):
- torso sides
- behind your knees
- around your ankles
- arm pits and the surrounding area
If you have mites in your bed, it will help reduce bites throughout the night.
TIP: Get a HOT iron and iron your mattress and sheets before bed to kill any mites in there.
NOW, THE BAD NEWS
NEVER apply Tea Tree Oil on your poultry!
Because chickens have an oil preening glad, then need to preen daily to keep their feathers healthy.
They do this by using their beak.
If you apply Tea Tree OIL (like preening oil), it can be picked up by the beak and ingested.
Tea Tree Oil is considered to be toxic when taken by mouth.
This applies to birds, animals and humans.
Consuming Tea Tree Oil can cause such side effects, as such:
- inability to walk
Even though Tea Tree Oil is genuinely effective in reducing mite bites on you, it does NOT kill a mite, per se.
Mites just hate the smell more than anything. They might even find a part of your body that doesn't have oil on it for a feast.
Over time, with good hygiene techniques, frequent sheet changes, vacuuming, washing, maybe even a headlice treatment, we notice that the mites are not around any more.
If their supply of food is cut off, and they are not within a colony to keep reproducing, they do die out.
So we cannot claim the Tea Tree Oil eradicated the mites. It just reduced their activity of biting us (their food source).
Apply this to the chicken coop now:
#1 It does not KILL the mites
#2 It would be a very expensive job to use enough tea tree oil to cover all the spaces
#3 Tea Tree Oil is TOXIC to chickens that use their beaks for exploring everything
#4 Why not use something that will be genuinely effective the first time round, and save yourself some money?
NATURAL IS NOT ALWAYS EFFECTIVE
Just like milk, strawberries and peanuts are all natural things, people can have severe allergic reactions to these.
Mites need to be hit HARD the first time. And then we keep on hitting them hard.
I recommend using:
- Inca Malaban Wash
- Maldison 50
Use as coop spray (once all materials have been removed and cleaned).
And then paint on Malaban/Maldisan onto the night time roosting perches. Mites are most active there.
Always do this in the morning so that the coop has time to fully dry out before the hens go in for the night.
The hens MUST be treated with either Pestene dust or Ivermectin from your vet on the same day, otherwise they bring the mites back in (which they will, but we need to repeat spray).
If you need to, you can submerge your hens, one by one, in a solution of Maldison in luke warm water. Mites will rise to the top of the white water, dead. Keep their heads above water. Do not ever let the solution get onto their faces. Only do this if you are unable to get hold of the other products or the infestation is so severe that there is no other option.
Follow up with a touch up over the next few weeks.
Remember, the Tea Tree Oil is just for use on YOU...externally only.