is this favus?


Nov 14, 2009
I have a few birds with white, scaly looking faces. One is quite bad, with crusting in the neck feathers. I see no other evidence on the rest of the body that would point to lice or mites. Is this favus?

This bird (first picture) also has a limp. I'm wondering if it's Mareks disease, except she is not just limping, she has her foot curled up and is favouring it.

This hen is raising a chick, and I noticed her comb was looking quite bad, so I gave her a deworming treatment. But now, looking more closely, I see she also has the white scabby looking face.

And I've been watching the big Roo's comb, which looks a little less healthy and has some white spots in it, like sprinkles of flour.

I've checked repeatedly for lice and mites and see no evidence on the birds. They have healthy looking skin, no sign of irritation near the vents.

I also have a young roo with a dry, crusty raised area underneath it's wattles.

Is this all pointing to the same problem? Might it all be favus?

Any thoughts?
I'm still researching the favus (avian ringworm) idea. I read this description at

(avian ringworm)
Due to Microsporum gallinae, dermatophyte of chickens with white powdery material on
head, face and eyelids
Acanthosis, hyperkeratosis and dermatitis

The hyperkeratosis (thickening of the skin) sounds like what I'm seeing here. I see white powdery stuff, not on the comb, but in the neck feathers.

Extracted From:
A Pocket Guide to
Poultry Health

A fungal infection, Trichophyton gallinae, of chickens and turkeys. It is very rare in commercial poultry production.

* White, powdery spots and wrinkled crusts and scab on comb and wattles.
* Feather loss.
* 'Honeycomb' skin.
* Thick crusty skin.
* Loss of condition.

I'm still researching, looking for pictures. I'm thinking I might have to treat for favus, and for mites, just in case. Do mites affect only the face sometimes? This did not start in the combs. The birds that have a seriously sorry looking face (white, dry, scabby) also have unhealthy looking combs, but the combs aren't white. They just look plain unhealthy, almost brownish. And the big rooster's comb looks red, but looks like someone sprinkled a bit of white flour on it. Mites? Fungus?? And the young roo has the abscess (dry, looks like it might have been open, might have something festering underneath). I don't know if all of these birds have the same thing, or if this is different things occurring.
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I'm still researching....

In the meantime, I treated the worst of the hens. I applied miconazole cream to her face and neck, and sprayed some natural disinfectant onto her neck, which contains thymol (from thyme oil) which is supposed to be a fungicide. The white stuff comes off when it's wet, when I scrape it. It's only on her head and in the neck at the base of the feathers. The skin underneath is not hardened, but seems dry and wrinkled. She's eating and drinking. She also has a limp today, which seems a bit better at times, as she's getting around. She holds her foot in a curled up position. Doesn't seem like Marek's after all, I think. Maybe she hurt her foot, and she maybe a bit deconditioned because of whatever is going on in her face. She may have fallen off the roost and got her leg caught somewhere. I found her struggling this morning in between an enclosure and a kennel, which I have in the coop for a new mom and chick. Altogether, she's having a bad day, except she seemed to enjoy the facial work and neck massage (scraping).

I've looked up scaly mites and see that it affects only the legs. Her legs look normal.

More thoughts, ideas are welcome. Sorry, I may come across as a know-it-all, but I'm really open to others' ideas, as I incorporate all opinions into my "evidence box" and then I decide how to proceed, after hearing others' opinions and doing my research. I happen to be a nurse.

Based on my nursing experience, I am getting the feeling that what I was scraping off the face and neck of my lavender orpington, and the look of her skin, had the appearance of a fungal infection. Like thick dandruff (seborrhoeic dermatitis).

Any thoughts?

Has anyone ever used a product called "well horse"? I spoke with someone at a local place where they sell some of this type of thing, and she mentioned that it can be used for all animals, is organic/natural, comes from trees from the Amazon, can be used for a variety of things, including "ring worm". Favus is "avian ringworm". I thought of getting a bottle and spraying it on the birds necks. And then I'll apply miconazole cream to their faces.
Well, I did do a round of treatment tonight in the coop, applying Micatin (miconazole 2%) cream to the faces of the affected birds (those with the white scaly faces). I discovered that all of the females in my coop had this white scaly face, and the big roo and the three young cockerels did not have it. A few of the females had it extending into their necks, where there was dry powdery material at the base of the feathers, and dry skin. I sprayed Micatin spray (for athlete's foot), which has the miconazole 2% in it as well, into their neck areas, and under their beaks.

I sprayed some "well horse" liquid spray onto the scabby sore on the neck of the one young roo.

I then decided to go ahead and do a sevin 5% treatment as well, just in case they do have mites. I'm hoping, if it is mites that are causing the scaly faces and the powdery dryness in the neck feathered areas, that sevin was the right treatment versus something else like ivermectin. I did apply the sevin in the neck areas, as well as under the wings and in the vent areas.

Big roo sure put up a good fight, and then one of the young roos jumped into action and looked as if he was about to go for me. But big roo became calm as a baby in my arms and submitted to the treatments quite submissively.

Has anyone seen this before (see pictures on first post)? Any idea why the white scaly faces would be only found on the females? Their combs have not been a nice red. The 4 males do have red combs and no scaly white stuff on their faces.

I'm still worried about the young pullet that was limping all day today. She seemed to be able to stand and to do a fast hobble run when necessary, but she couldn't get up on the roost tonight and had both legs out beside her in the box I settled her in. I'm kind of afraid this could be Marek's, as we've had it before, a few months ago, and the birds were around 20 weeks old. This one is 18 weeks. They were vaccinated, but so were the others that had it. But maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and she'll be back on her feet.

All in all, an eventful evening. Hope they have a good night and that this thing resolves after all this.
Just an update - I have concluded that the scaly faces and the powdery material in the necks of my birds was indeed due to mites. The faces all improved quickly after the Sevin treatment. I also applied vaseline to the face a 2nd time, as per advice given by a vet to a friend here locally. This friend sent me a picture of a hen that had a similar looking face a while ago, and the vet had told her it was mites and to treat with sevin and apply mineral oil or vaseline to the face, to smother the mites.

The pullet that had the worst case was weak and limping, and has regained strength and her face improved also. She is not limping anymore, so my guess is that she must have fallen off the roost and hurt her leg at the beginning of the week, and now the leg has healed and altogether she has come around again. I gave her a thorough going over this morning and shampooed her head and neck with tea tree shampoo and removed the white scaly stuff from her neck, at the base of the feathers, with a fine tooth comb. She quite enjoyed the treatment. And there were quite a few little black specks in the water, when I rinsed her off, which I concluded must have been dead mites. I feel quite bad that I missed this and that it got so bad. I'd been faithfully checking under their wings and in the vent area for signs of mites and saw none. Never realized I should be checking the necks. And I discovered that she also had the scalyness on the top of her wings, and no sign of anything under the wings. So, another lesson learned.

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