The Ameraucana has been less energetic lately. Though she eats with relish there is little determination and if even a junior hen approaches her bowl she moves away. Therefore she eats separately from the others. She has been looking bedraggled and this morning she was in the nest box though she no longer lays eggs nor was she being pestered by the rooster.
Time for an epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) bath.
But why so many brown flecks of dust in the water? Or I assumed they were dust since they were not moving. I snapped with the close up setting and only later did I see what the camera saw.
Unaware the camera had solved the mystery I prepared a slide for the old Zeiss microscope.
Since the samples were large I used the lowest possible magnification – it was like looking at an extraterrestrial being. I purchased an electronic magnifier last year when I was recording soil life. Around $30 and easy to use.
I inserted the sensor in place of one of the two eyepieces and clicked on the screen software. And had a problem – even with the lowest magnification possible the mite was so large it would take 4 pictures to capture its extent. Here is the head.
And here is heart/lung/stomach colored with the Ameraucana’s blood.
And for treatment – our stock remedy, neem oil, may be too irritating for her skin. Initially we thought dusting with diatomaceous earth but read that wood ash works well. And I have lots of wood ash in my wood stove from the recent winter.