Q- What can you recommend for depluming mite? I am plagued by it every year on my Old English Game bantams. Do I need a spray, or something orally, or indeed something to inject? William Martley via email
A – VR writes: Fortunately, depluming mites are not common, but they do seem to prefer the hard-feathered breeds such as Old English, Carlisle, Oxford, Modern Game plus the Asian Hardfeather breeds.
There is nothing licensed for them, but an outbreak can be controlled by wiping on to the bird Frontline spray (fipronil, licensed for dogs and cats) so put it on a cloth first.
Obviously, begin with those areas affected, but wiping over the whole bird will help too, making sure that you also wipe against the direction of growth to get underneath all the feathers.
Frontline has an alcohol base so, in a very small bird, when this evaporates it can make them dangerously cold which is why it is recommended to wipe it on rather than spray it on.
Although not licensed for poultry, Frontline does not appear to be toxic to them, but your vet will want you to sign a disclaimer form.
Frontline may need to be used monthly through the warmer months and it may be useful to begin using it before the time there is normally an outbreak, for prevention.
The chemical will not get in to the eggs, but a withdrawal time of seven days not eating eggs after treatment may be sensible.