One day, all of a sudden, so it seemed, Charlotte started loosing the feathers on her back right above her tail. Soon after, Sandy followed. We would stand at the chicken run, trying to figure out who was doing the pecking. As much as we would stand there, eyes peeled, we did not see any pecking going on.
After doing some recon/research, we found out that mites were the problem and are one of those things that is a “normal” occurrence with chickens. GOOD NEWS! There is an organic solution – food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE). The sharp edges of the DE cuts the exoskeletons of the mites (and other insects), which causes them to become dehydrated, and therefore, die.
We take a 4″ high plastic bin and the bucket of DE into the chicken run. One by one, we pick up one of the girls, place them in the plastic bin, with one of us holding the chicken while the other one sprinkles and massages the DE into the chicken’s feathers. In the beginning, the girls would squirm and try to fly away, and once released, would shake, run, and shake again. We applied DE yesterday for the 4th or 5th time. Each chicken stood in the bin, with no resistance, closed their eyes while being massaged, and walked away when placed on the ground. No squirming, no fighting, no shaking. The white on the back of the girls is the applied DE.