A bird mite is a small parasitic bug that drinks the blood of many different birds, including chickens and wild birds. Sometimes bird mites can spread to humans. Bird mites can eventually cause health problems in birds, including anemia. Salt baths and sprays can be used as a bird mite treatment for humans and birds.
To determine the best course of treatment, you'll need to be able to identify the type of mite infestation. Because bird mites can spread to humans, bird owners might notice visible mites on their scalp and ears, as well as feel a crawling sensation on their skin. Birds may spend much more time cleaning themselves than normal, and appear agitated. Examine the bottom of your bird's cage carefully, as one of the more common mites, the red mite, will present as tiny red specs all over the cage.
The most common cause of bird mites is other birds, especially wild birds. After birds leave their nests outside, bird mites may come indoors looking for new hosts or be tracked in unintentionally. If around or touching wild birds, bird feeders or abandoned nests, always wear gloves and wash any clothes being worn right away.
A spray bottle filled with vinegar, salt and water can be sprayed on the bird to ease irritation. A shower or a salt bath, using Epsom salts or sea salt can be used to soothe human skin as well as bird skin. In fact, birds usually take baths in the wild to get rid of external parasites. However, bath water will not kill the bird mites, so a shower is more likely to help get rid of them by flushing them down the drain immediately. Because bird mites can infest homes, Epsom salts dissolved in water can be sprayed around the home to kill and deter mites.
Bird mites begin as a nuisance, but if the problem continues your bird's life may be at stake. If frequent salt treatments and diligent cleaning around the bird cage and the rest of the home do not eradicate the mite problem, the bird may need to be taken to the vet.