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Depluming itch is an inflammatory reaction caused by the depluming mite (Knemidocoptes gallinae). K. gallinae is a burrowing mite, similar to the scaly leg mite, except instead of burrowing underneath the scales in the chicken's legs and feet, the depluming mite burrows into the skin alongside the feather shafts of chickens, pigeons, and pheasants. The mites are often found along the back and wings of the bird, and rarely the head and neck.
The constant burrowing causes the bird intense irritation and pain. The bird's feathers often break off readily, and may be pulled out by the bird themselves.
Depluming mites are more prevalent during the spring and summer months.
Applied as a powder or a spray directly on the chicken. When treating the bird, apply directly on the chicken's feathers, concentrating on the vent area. Note that it only kills the adult insects, not the larvae and eggs. Therefore, treatment will need to be repeated in 2 weeks.
Applied as a powder (0.24% permethrin) or spray (3 ounces of 10% permethrin is mixed in a 5 gallon bucket of water), directly on the chickens.
Applied as a powder (5% carbaryl) or spray (4 ounces of 80% carbaryl mixed in a 5 gallon bucket of water) directly on the chickens.
Applied as a dust directly on the chickens or added to their dust bathing area.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) (food grade)
Apply by dusting onto the chicken's feathers or added to their dust bathing area.
Van Velden, Julia. Knemidokoptic mite infections on the Cape Peninsula population of Black Sparrowhawks. Diss. University of Cape Town (2013)
Rajabzadeh, M., S. M. Razavi, and A. R. Homayounimehr. Depluming itch in native fowls in the Iran, a potential risk for commercial chickens. Tropical animal health and production 40.1 (2008)
Titchener, R. N. Inhabitants of avian skin with special reference to ectoparasitic infestations and diseases of poultry skin.. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Section B: Biological Sciences 79.1-3 (1980)