Dark Spots on Otherwise Healthy Chicken's Legs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ejcrist, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Has anyone ever had or seen a chicken with dark spots appearing on it's shanks/feet? I noticed them on one of my hens this afternoon. I inspected her closely as a result and found nothing unusual. I ran my finger over the spots because I was first thinking they might be scaley mites but they're no different than her normal leg scales. Some even look like they overlap scales so I'm sure it's not mites. We had a lot of rain recently and I was reading on one of the threads here that this sometimes occurs during wet weather but it didn't conclude what it was. Anyway if anyone has any ideas I'm all ears.

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  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I have had a couple of hens with spots on their legs as there normal coloring. It doesn't look like anything from a disease. Others may chime in, but if she is acting normally, it may be nothing. I have seen pictures of purple spots that were abnormal, and pecking can cause bruised spots, but those look like her leg coloring.
     
  3. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't think it's her leg coloring. I purchased her as a quad of SOP Barred Rocks for breeding and she had yellow legs. She wouldn't be very good for breeding if she had a defect like that. I appreciate your input though. I'm kinda leaning toward bruising from pecking maybe but the only thing that makes me doubt bruising is the fact that she's been in her pen by herself, as with the other three gals being in their own pens since I'm single-breeding them to track the chick's lineages. It's possible she pecked herself maybe? The other Barred Rocks that were in with her a couple of weeks ago are all clean, as is the cock and he gets rotated to her pen every third day. Like you said, I'm very doubtful it's any kind of disease because she's totally fine and acting normal, and I'm sure I'd see signs in at least one of the other 87 chickens I have. I didn't check every one but none that are next to her pen or the other Barred Rocks have anything.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You might treat her for scaly leg mites. I've never seen scaly leg mites discolor scales like that, but you never know what an individual chicken's immune response might be to something attacking her body.

    It appears the discoloration coincides with scales. That's why it strikes me that leg mites could be involved. Paint her legs and feet heavily with castor oil. It can't hurt. It could help.
     
  5. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree it looks odd but not ominous.

    Here's a silly question, but I've actually had this happen, is it possible she splattered herself with anything while scratching? (although the pattern looks to regular for splattering).

    LofMc
     
  6. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was thinking to do just that tomorrow. I don't have any castor oil but I read vaseline works just as good. Like you said, it can't hurt.
     
  7. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I thought about that after she went to bed for the night. One thing I didn't do was wet my finger or a cloth and just try wiping them off. I can't think of anything off the top of my head that she could've splattered herself with but who knows - they're chickens after all and they get into all kinds of stuff. Possibilities include some mud still drying at one end of the run near a door, mud around by the water fount, and of course chicken poop. I figured if it was something splashed on it probably should've came off when I ran my finger over it. I will try wiping it off with a damp cloth though just to rule that out.

    There were a couple of threads on here I read with pictures of the exact same thing but they ended without any details on what it was. In one a lady's thread her Barred Rock was attacked by one of her dogs and the picture showed plucked feathers on the chicken's back and the spots on it's legs - just like my pictures. The poster asked about the bald spot and the spots, and said she believed the spots were bruising. The thread ended saying the bird completely recovered but there wasn't any mention about the spots after the first post. In a couple of others the posters asked about the spots and had pictures but the threads ended after a couple of posts saying they might be scaley leg mites but that was it. In none of them was there any mention of any serious diseases or anything, so I'm figuring it might just be something minor that resolves itself. I sent an email to the breeder I got her from so I'm hoping to hear something by tomorrow. Whatever the outcome I'll be sure to post it here in case anyone runs into this going forward.
     
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  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    If you are able, get the castor oil. It has other healing properties that Vaseline lacks. Castor oil also penetrates deeper than Vaseline. It's far, far superior to Vaseline in case the spots are something other than scaly leg mite. This isn't an emergency. It can wait until you get to the store. Walmart has it very cheap, around $4.
     
  9. ejcrist

    ejcrist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eggcessive - you might just be right about the leg coloring. I checked earlier pictures I have of her from a couple of weeks ago and the spots are in those pictures too, so they've been there a while. I also got word back from the breeder I bought her from and he said the same as you, just pigment, and that they're common on Barred Rocks. I just don't know why I didn't notice them before since I check them over thoroughly about once a week. I must be losing it in my old age. I also read some info from an old book I have that was written in the 1906 (The Plymouth Rocks, Barred, White, and Buff) about how pure yellow legs are desirable but that oftentimes spots occur, and how you should select against it if possible. Supposedly spots are a defect but way on down the ladder behind type and coloring. It also says that males with only a few spots on their legs will often produce females with many more spots, so you should only breed from males with no spots.

    So anyway, in summary I'm concluding it's nothing to worry about and par for the course with Barred Rocks. I'm still going to apply castor oil just as a preventive measure, and maybe I'll do that with all of my SOP birds, but apparently it's common and harmless. The other conclusion I guess is to make sure we always check every part of our birds when doing a checkup, and keep detailed notes and maybe a good picture in case we find something we didn't notice before.
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    I'm glad that you seem satisfied with it being nothing to worry about. My ancona hens who had speckled legs were a shock to me, but since all chickens come from mixing this to that to get a new breed, we will see leg coloring that might not fit the standard of that breed. From what little I have read on some of the breeding threads, very few chickens in a hatch will be good enough to breed for perfection.
     

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