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Monitoring of red mite habitat preference and distribution in a perchery egg production system - AW0224

The main objective of this work is to assess the extent of infestations of red mite (detmanyssus gallinae), their preference for specific habitats, and their spatial distribution in a barn egg production facility so that more effective control strategies can be recommended. The work will take place in collaboration with Dean`s Farm Ltd. at their Walesby, Nottinghamshire site where three barn egg houses containing laying hens at three different stocking rates will be made availabe.

The work will take the form of monitoring of red mite population levels in commercial barn egg buildings through the use of red mite `traps` (a trap is created by fixing together several small diameter plastic straws which are attractive to mites as a retreat. The number of mites in the traps can be estimated by daily checking). The extent of infestation in different parts of the building will be assessed, for example in nestboxes, in feeder systems, in litter areas, under perches and between wooden partitions and other structural furniture. Changes in distribution and abundance of mites will then be plotted throught the laying year. The results of teh study will complement the work currently being undertaken in project BUA227 (Effects of sticking rate on the welfare of laying hens), because there could be both behavioural and stocking density effects on red mite infestations.

This work is highly relevent to MAFF policy on the protection of welfare of poultry on farms. Discussions with poultry industry representatives and producers who have barn or perchery systems (and free range) have revealed that red mite infestation is a widespread problem in the UK industry, to which the expansion of the non-cage sector of the egg industry is contributing.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Monitoring of red mite habitat preference and distribution in a perchery egg production system   (106k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2001

Cost: £39,500
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Animal Diseases              
Animal Health              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Welfare