My white leghorn has a black spot on her leg

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In the Brooder
Nov 16, 2016
A couple of my hen's legs seem to have a few enlarged scales. My white leghorn has one scale that has turned black. I've looked online and the only thing I have come across is scaly mites, but the pictures look different. Any idea what's going on?
Yes you have scey leg mites
Scaley Leg Mites
Treat for Scaley Leg
◾Chickens can develop progressively more raised scales and deformed-looking areas on their legs and toes. These are caused by Scaley Leg Mites and their eggs, droppings & dead bodies. The attacking mites and the raised scales cause soreness, irritation, pain and some lameness; make the chicken more susceptible to further injury; stress chickens; can reduce egg-laying; and can lead to infections that can reach as deep as bones and be fatal in extreme cases.
VARIOUS TREATMENT OPTIONS are listed below that may be beneficial. Recommendations for treating Scaly Leg vary widely.
◾The goals of treatment are to suffocate, drown, poison, and/or remove mites and their eggs. Some treatments for severe cases also aim to shed old leg scales so the legs can be more thoroughly cleared of mites & eggs.

◾It is critically important to re-treat after 2 weeks, when pre-existing mite eggs will have hatched but new mite eggs will not yet have been laid. You may want to treat additional times before and after that. You may also want to treat every month or two as a preventative, also.

•Sprinkle wood ashes into bedding, particularly dust-batheing areas.
◾Burn some tree branches (which can have leaves) or unpainted wood & collect into a bucket the ashes and charred clumps that remain. Sprinkle these into the bedding in the coop, particularly around sleeping and dustbatheing areas, and in outdoor dustbatheing areas. The ashes are strong killers of all kinds of mites.
◾You might expect that ashes would make your birds & coop very dirty, but actually you will not notice any difference as the ashes mix with bedding.
◾Do NOT include any trash, toxic plants or painted items in the burn pile, fireplace or campfire pit you collect ashes from.
◾Bonus: Wood charcoal also provides toxin-cleansing benefits to chickens when they nibble on it.

Soak legs in vegetable oil. (Note: This is treatment is theorized based on, but needs experimentation.) Pour a few inches of regular cooking oil into a small but broad container. Stand the chicken in the container, or submerge one leg at a time up to the hocks. Flex the toes once or twice to release air bubbles & help oil get under the scales. After 3 minutes, lift the legs out of the oil & let excess oil drip back into the container while you use your fingers to gently wipe excess oil off the legs. Take paper towels & carefully squeeze feathers on the thighs to help remove oil that may have gotten on feathers. You don't have to be too thorough in removing excess oil. The birds may be slightly messy-looking for a couple days, but will clean off.
◾Repeat this process again after two weeks, to treat new mites that hatch from eggs.
◾You may wish to give more treatments during the two weeks if you think necessary.
•Soak the chicken's entire legs in solution made of warm water and permethrin-based insecticide for poultry. Mix up according to instructions on label.
◾Too strong of a concentration or too much time soaking can result in overdose.
◾It is possibly not good to use this method if your chicken's legs have raw places.
◾Research more first if you are going to clear out scales the same day, because the chicken's legs will get raw and insecticide residue may possibly cause pain plus potentially other problems.
•Spray legs very well with Adams Flea and Tick Mist. Massage it in if the chicken has feathered legs. (You probably should wear rubber gloves.) [Editor's note: I still need to check up on this method more]
◾If you get the kind with Insect Growth Regulator (IGR), it is supposed to last 3 months and take care of adult mites and mite eggs.
◾If you get the kind without IGR, you need to treat again in 2 weeks.
◾Caution: This mist probably causes health concerns for eating eggs and meat. Check the label.
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Sprinkle Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) in dustbatheing spots & nests, and on perches. ◾This is generally only contribute much in PREVENTION & will not be sufficient to clear out an existing infestation.
◾Use only FOOD-GRADE D.E. (NOT the D.E. that is used in swimming pool treatments, etc.)
•Soak the chicken's entire legs in warm water 3-15 minutes (You can add Epsom salt if legs don't have raw places). Do not leave part of the legs above water, or mites can survive by climbing up. You can stand the chicken in a container, or many chickens are alright being left alone soaking in a few inches of water in the bathtub as long as you close the shower curtain. Afterwards, do dry off the chicken's feathers some with paper towels or a towel, but work quickly enough that legs will still be damp and soft for the additional treatments you have chosen to do.
◾Soaking drowns mites, makes legs easy to wash clean, softens scales for trimming and cleaning, helps draw out infection, and softens skin to readily absorb medicine.
◾It is very useful to soak legs prior to any other form of treatment.
•Wash any major poop off legs. Use warm water and a little hand soap or dish soap (only if there are no raw places on legs). Rinse well.
◾This helps prevent infection.
•Clear out scales. Skip this treatment unless the case is bad, because it is very difficult and potentially painful, and other treatments will likely take care of these areas. Especially skip steps 2 and 4 below unless you have a very careful, steady hand, because you can cause excessive pain and possible injury and infection. Note: This treatment will definitely NOT cure scaley leg if used as the only treatment method.
1.Be sure you SOAK THE CHICKEN'S LEGS FIRST in warm water (without Epsom salts) for 2-5 minutes before starting, to soften up gunk for easier removal that is less painful.
2.For treatment, hold the chicken lying on its back on your lap tilted slightly upside down and gently gripped by your legs. Turn the chicken right-side up and hold it close against you & pat its side/wing every so often if it needs a break. Also, if it starts extra squawking or squirming, be alert that it may need to poop and need to be turned upright for a minute.
3.OH-SO-CAREFULLY sweep out the worst of the gunk from under, on top of, and beside raised scales. Use fingernail scissors, a sewing seam ripper, safety pin, or toothpick to push the gunk out a side edge of the scale, or use an ultra-soft children's toothbrush to gently sweep out the gunk. Try not to detach any scales unless they are shedding and very loose. Hold the leg or toe with a paper towel that you can frequently wipe your scraper on to clear it of gunk. Try to limit gunk dropping back onto the bird (You may want to place the chicken inside a small shirt, with only its head and legs protruding.
◾Tip: Bend the chicken's toes to make it easier to clean under scales there.
◾Every so often, turn the chicken right-side up & resoak the legs a minute to keep gunk easier to remove & to keep it damp so it will stick to the paper towel and not fall
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onto the bird.
◾If trying to remove gunk causes too much pain in an area, just leave the gunk there, so you don't cause excessive trauma or injuries. The gunk will work its way out during soaking or when new scales grow in.
4.Trim ends off of any scales that are very long, hard and raised. (These will be only in severe cases.) Use toenail clippers, toenail scissors, or small cutting pliers such as wire cutters.
◾OH-SO-CAREFULLY dig out the gunk in the "caves" that will be revealed inside the scales. You can use a sewing seam ripper, small safety pin, or toothpick to carefully pick it out. This step particularly helps remove some well-protected mite eggs.
5.Soak the legs again for a couple minutes to drown more newly-exposed mites.
6.Applying Campho-Phenique, or Triple Antibiotic Ointment (without pain reliever ingredients, because many can be hazardous to chickens) afterward is recommended, especially on any spots where you might have poked through skin.
7.Towel dry any wet feathers (or blow-dry if weather is cold).
8.If you have Sevin dust, poultry insecticide dust, or possibly food-grade Diatomaceous Earth, lie your bird on its back afterwards and powder it to help kill any mites that may have fallen into its feathers.
•Apply Campho-Phenique medicine ($5 at general stores, $7 at groceries. Will treat 4-6 chickens.). Hold the chicken on your lap tilted slightly upside down and gently gripped by your legs. Dribble medicine on all scaley areas of feet and legs, especially any areas that are raw. Buy an eyedropper for this (Many cheap over-the-counter medicines include one, or you can buy separately for under $1.) so you don't waste medicine, and so you can most easily apply. Put the medicine bottle in a small glass or a small yogurt container to prevent tipping.
◾This drowns & kills mites, helps prevent and cure infection, and applies safe painkiller. Editor's note: This product works great!
•Smear petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) over entire surface of legs and toes, gently pushing it up under scales.
◾This suffocates Scaly Leg mites that are covered by Vaseline, but won't necessarily reach all of the mites.
◾This is not as effective with feather-legged chickens or if legs have developed thick scales with mites and eggs inside, but can still be helpful.
•Smear triple-antibiotic ointment (such as Neosporin) on the legs after soaking, while they are still soft and can absorb medicine well. If you use one that includes a pain relief ingredient, be sure the pain reliever isn't one with a name ending in "caine" (Those are harmful for chickens).
◾This suffocates mites, and helps prevent and treat infection.
•Only with veterinary approval, apply Frontline or Frontline Plus tick & flea drops directly on the chicken's skin.
◾For Large Fowl: Apply 3 drops on each inner thigh, and 2 drops below vent.
◾For Bantams: Apply 2 drops on each inner thigh, and 1 drop below vent.
◾The medicine is absorbed into your chicken's system. When a mite bites your chicken, it becomes poisoned and dies. The medicine's effectiveness lasts several days or possibly weeks.
◾This treatment is the easiest way to kill Scaley Leg Mites that are deep under or inside scales.
◾It also treats internal parasites.
◾If you are having a hard time curing Northern fowl and chicken mites, Frontline is very effective because mites don't avoid the chemicals (unlike they do with some powders and sprays), and are killed off for several days.
◾This treatment should be reasonably safe for your chicken unless it has special health issues.
◾Caution: This may cause health concerns for people. Some recommend a 2 1/2 week wait after treatment before using eggs, but no withdrawal time has officially been established. No safe withdrawal time has been established for meat.
Give Penicillin if bird appears to have very serious bacterial infection as a result of the mites. Put in all-new bedding at least in areas where the chickens nest or hang out a lot. Dust those areas plus all roosts with Sevin dust (Carbaryl poultry insecticide sold at feed stores for
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