I hate mites. I can’t stand picking up a chicken and feeling that itchy feeling on my skin. At first I used a miticidedustfromthefeedstoreforthepigeonsandchickens. Aboutonceamonth,sometimesmore frequently, I dusted each squawking chicken and dusted all the pigeon perches and nests.
In various online publications I read about using diatomaceous earth to keep chickens free of external pests. I was getting sick of dusting with poisons so I searched for an online supplier of diatomaceous earth. I now order if from www.groworganic.com . I bought food grade diatomaceous earth. This is important, some of the DE sold contains crystalline silica over 3%. (World Health Org. recommends less than 3% silica for human/animal consumption). Food grade DE is used in grain and flour storage for human foods to control insect pest,.
I started feeding DE to my chickens and ducks at every feeding over 6 months ago. I’ve also started using it with my horses and dogs. With the poultry, I have totally eliminated using the insecticide dust on them. I don’t have the mite problem in the poultry any more even though the wild doves come in to feed all the time. I have probably made a significant dent in the local wild bird mite problem also. The only time I would dust with insecticide at all is if a new bird comes in with mites and I want to knock them down quickly.
Also be aware that mite infections can cause the chickens to scratch, causing injuries and infections around the eyes. If their eyes get infected this often leads to other poor health conditions. This is another reason why it is important to get rid of mites.
Please note that when using DE, you don’t want to breathe it and you don’t want to get it in your eyes. The sharp edges of the tiny skeletons of which DE is composed, will really irritate your eyes till you wash it out. I know this from experience.
Also, if you have the land and a suitable climate, grow things like neem trees which have insecticidal properties. Youcancutneemboughsandspreadthefoliagearoundinthechickensbeddingforadditional control of external pests. My chickens and goats both nibble on the neem leaves.
FYI on dog fleas, I don’t think the DE can knock down a raging flea infestation; in any acceptable time frame. Maybe it could be effective if used religiously and perhaps it would work really well on a small property where all the dog’s favorite spots could be treated. My dogs are all on monthly Frontline Plus or Advantix topical. I have noticed that if they do get some fleas from exposure to other dogs, I can use the DE dust externally on their coats to knock down the fleas quickly and give them some relief.