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FEATHER MITES

 

1.    What are feather mites?

Feather mites are tiny parasites that live on birds' feathers. They are different from the mites that live on the skin or in the nests of birds.

 

2.    Do feather mites cause disease?

Feather mites usually only cause mild problems in pet birds. In high numbers, feather mites can chew the feathers and cause them to appear untidy. Birds with high numbers of feather mites sometimes appear prurutic (itchy) as they try to clean the mites off, however this is not common.

 

3.    Do feather mites cause feather picking?

 Feather mites are rarely the main cause of feather picking. Feather picking has many causes and tests are needed to identify these causes.

 

4.    Where do feather mites come from?

Feather mites cannot survive in the environment for very long and spread to pet birds by crawling from other infected birds or feathers.

Birds that are housed outdoors can catch feather mites from wild birds that land on the cage or feathers that float into the cage.

 

5.    Can I catch feather mites from my bird?

Feather mites cannot survive on mammals (including people) for long periods. Feather mites that fall off birds will die unless they find another bird to live on.

 

6.    How can feather mites be diagnosed?

Feather mites can be seen as tiny dots when the feathers are held up to a light. The mites and their eggs can also be identified using a microscope.

Your veterinarian will check your bird's feathers for mites at the yearly well-bird health check.

 

7.    Can feather mites be treated?

Feather mites can be treated using an avian-safe mite spray. Repeating the treatment 2 weeks later is recommended.

To avoid re-infection, house birds away from wild birds and in uncrowded conditions.

 

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