Who ever heard of chicken mites? Not me, that is until this weekend. We have chickens in our backyard. They lay eggs, we eat the eggs and sometimes we eat the chickens, although, I must admit that it is a hard thing to kill them and we don’t like doing it. I think I need to find someone else to butcher the chickens. The chickens have stopped laying and we have been talking about getting new ones, but the ones we have are not that old yet. Then, my husband went out to the chicken coop and for two days in a row got eaten alive by something very small.
I, being the internet expert in our family, (that is not saying much, believe me) got online and discovered chicken mites. Sure enough, our chickens had all the symptoms.
Now, these pesky critters are really small. They are smaller than the head of a pin. They come out at night and suck the blood of the chickens. They can cause them to stop laying, then they can cause anemia and even death. I had no idea. In the several years of backyard chicken roosting, we have never even seen chicken mites.
So, we did what the internet recommended on several sites. We had to clean the coop (not a fun job). First we had to spray it to get the mites so they wouldn’t bite us. Then we had to clean and scrub and put down a pesticide dust into all the cracks in the wood and into all the nesting boxes. They we covered everything with new straw. We cleaned all the water and feed containers and last, we cornered the chickens and “dusted” them with the pesticide.
I don’t like pesticide and prefer to do things naturally if possible, but I read that the natural stuff only works as a preventive and not once you have an infestation. So, pesticide it is.
You would think, since we were trying to help the chickens, that they would be appreciative and let us help. Not even close. Chickens are fast!! They run like crazy and we finally had to get out a fish net to try and catch them.
It was crazy and I did not take pictures. My husband would have definitely not been happy as he was the one chasing the chickens. Once they are caught, they have to be dusted on their vents and under each wing. Then we put them in the newly cleaned chicken house, so that we could tell who was dusted and who wasn’t.
They were not happy about the entire process, especially the roosters. Those guys are pretty mean and they are not safe with their pointy feet and beaks.
I could never have imagined the work involved in trying to get rid of a teeny, tiny bug. We put diatomaceous earth down for the chickens to give themselves dust baths in and got out of the way once everything was done.
We were exhausted, and the best part is that we get to do it all again in seven days and then in seven days after that.
There is a good lesson in our experience with chicken mites though, I thought it might be good to share with you.
They are tiny and seem harmless, kind of like “little” sins. You might think that one or two won’t hurt you. After all, who would notice? The problem with sin, is that like the mites, it multiplies. It becomes easier and easier to do again and again. Soon, it can overwhelm you and you might even start to like where you are for a while. After all, one of Satan’s best tools is the fact that sin can seem harmless and even “fun”.
Soon, those “little” sins, lead to more and more. It becomes difficult to stop. Soon, what seemed like fun can become a habit. The more it becomes a habit, the harder it is to stop. The more it takes cleaning up and pushing out. The more help you require to do it. The more difficult it is because you have gotten so used to living with the mites of sin, that you might not even think you are able to get rid of them, or even worse, that you will ever be worthy of being loved again.
Our Heavenly Father loves us. Like the prodigal son in Luke, He wants us all to return. He wants us to be willing to come home. The gift is that He not only wants us too, He will literally run to meet us. He will celebrate with us. He will bless our lives and help us to live the way we should. He will be the one who helps us get rid of all the mites in our lives. All He asks us to do is come to Him. Partake of His grace. Feel His tender mercies and be free.
"The worst sin that you can commit
is any sin that you think
you can get away with."
Elder David A. Bednar