4 ways to fight mites on chickens

Oils and jellies that can prevent your chooks from getting mites.

Words: Nadene Hall


Action: to suffocate mites

You can use petroleum jelly or similar greasy topical products to kill (suffocate) scaly leg mite infestations.

Dose: use an old toothbrush to brush the jelly into cracks and crevices on the legs. Make sure to cover the entire leg. Reapply every couple of days as it will get wiped off as the bird moves around. Lighter cooking oils also work but need daily application.


Action: to repel other birds with its smell

It can also be used to suffocate scaly leg mite.

Dose: as for petroleum jelly.


Action: to suffocate mites

Yates Bug Oil is made from petroleum jelly. Spray onto perches and in nests to coat the tiny red mites that live in these areas. Mites use their outer ‘skin’ for breathing; an oily coating suffocates them.


Action: disrupts hormones and growth

One study into neem oil traps found they were effective at greatly reducing mite populations. The tests involved cardboard traps soaked in 20% neem oil, then dried and placed in areas where mite populations were living (out of reach of the flock).

Traps were replaced each week, over four weeks. The study found a 92% reduction in red mite over that time.

You can also use a neem oil insecticide on the walls of your coop. Mix it up to the correct concentration, spray three times in eight days, then follow up once a week.

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NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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