46 46 LOHMANN TIERZUCHT › MANAGEMENT GUIDE › HEALTH Red Mite: Dermanyssus gallinae Rodents Red mites can be a major problem in alternative production systems. Often carried into the unit directly on the birds from exposure to wild birds, but can also be carried in on equip- ment and visitors. A small infestation can impact pro- ductivity within the flock. If not monitored and treated effec- tively then numbers can soon get out of control. Not only will the mite increase the stress levels of the birds which can lead to feather pecking and cannibal- ism, they can also transmit disease and tarnish the eggs. Unfortunately, an ideal environment for the hens is also an ideal environ- ment for red mite, so careful and regular monitoring is essential. It is advisable you spot check for mite once a week. Common hiding places can be: › in corners of nest boxes › under next box covers › at the foot of feeding chains, trough connectors › on crossbars of perches › on dropping pit trays › in the corners of walls and › inside the perches (hollow tubes) There are many treatments available for mite, with some more effective than others. From chemical products to silica sprays and some applied through wa- ter. Some treatments can be applied when birds are present although some of the most effective treatments should take place between flocks. Always adhere to regulations within your region and use only licensed products. In free range systems, there is also an increased risk of exposure to Bac- terial infections such as E. coli, Ery- sipelas and Pasteurella, which can lay dormant in the surrounding range area. These infections can also be passed through contact with rodents and are often identified with sites with close contact to sheep and pigs. It is paramount bio security and ro- dent control is thorough and effec- tive to help reduce the risk of infec- tion.