Scaly leg mite in aviary flock

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Buckles, May 18, 2011.

  1. Buckles

    Buckles Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2011
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    Hi,

    I've been visiting the aviary at a local park for the last few days to see the chickens they keep there. Today I got a good look at them close-up as I'd taken a bag of feed with me. I noticed that some of the chickens have very unpleasant-looking feet and legs and suspected it might be scaly leg mite. I've done some more reading since I got home and I'm fairly sure that's what it is. The chicken's feet look like they've been dipped in grey plaster and they look more like the lumpy-bumpy (and for me) bile-inducing feet on tortoises.

    My question is - if this is indeed scaly leg mite, what should I do?

    P.S. One of the chickens also had a gammy leg. When we scattered feed for them it limped its way over with its toes curled under, walking on the knuckles of its left foot.
     
  2. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Hi and : welcome how nice of you to want to help these chickens, sounds like you hit it on the head with scaley leg mites. I am going to give you a link that is 12 pages long but full of information on this. After you know what to do then very courtiously approach the people responsible for taking care of these birds and tell them what you know and maybe even volunteer to help treat. Another BYCer name welsharon in case you'd like to pm her and talk about this did that close to where she lives and got great response. So good luck and please let us know how it goes. https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=33903
     
  3. Buckles

    Buckles Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2011
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    Thank you very much for your reply Miss Lydia. I'll sit down to read that thread after I've picked up my boyfriend from work and we've had our tea. I'm sure we'll be able to sort something out if we put our heads together. Thank you for letting me know of welsharon's similar endeavour too - I'm sure that she'll be of great help if I find myself needing any further advice.

    What a great start to my forum experience!

    Update: I managed to make it through all twelve pages and was glad to see some of the suggested treatments I'd come across repeatedly affirmed. I've also contacted welasharon and await her response if she visits tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  4. Buckles

    Buckles Out Of The Brooder

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    May 18, 2011
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    I went to the aviary the next day and spoke to one of the keepers. I told her what it was that was wrong with the birds (she thought it was just age) and told her that dipping them in vegetable oil was the way to go. She said they'd get some and sort it and gave me a number to ring if I wanted to volunteer to help care for the birds. I haven't contacted them yet because I've spent the last few days viewing houses and sorting out car insurance. I think I will volunteer though - I've been told that they're currently understaffed due to budget cuts and I think it would be a great way to fill some of my spare time.

    I have to say I'm rather appalled at how clueless the staff obviously are though. I appreciate that they're mostly employed to muck out and to top up feed but I can't believe that no one looked at those birds' poor legs and thought to do some research into what might be causing it. It looks like lots of people who keep chickens don't know about scaley leg mite though - I visited a farm yesterday which is open to the public and caters to school children, and saw some Buff Orpingtons with feet as bad as the chickens at the aviary. And this place sells the chickens!

    P.S. I took a picture of one of the aviary cock's feet in case anyone needed to see to make an accurate diagnosis. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is quite a bad case, isn't it?

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    I think it is admirable that you are going to volunteer your time treating those chickens. However, I must caution you if you're going to eventually own chickens yourself, remember biosecurity. It's always possible to unintentionally bring home a dreaded disease or parasites and accidently introduce them to your chickens. When you get home, I would recommend changing clothes and shoes, washing up...before you go anywhere near your flock and visa-versa. Good luck!
    ETA: Yes, a bad case of scaley leg mites, possible bumblefoot too.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Scaley Leg Mites --
    The Scaly-Leg Mite (Knemidocoptes mutans) lives under the scales on feet and legs of poultry. It also may attach to the comb and wattles. It causes a thickening of scales on the feet and legs that gives the impression that the scales are protruding directly outward, rather that laying flat on the limb. It spends its entire life cycle on the birds and spreads mainly by direct contact. This problem is caused by small scaly-leg mites that bury under each scale and cause an irritation of the skin and the production of cells and substances that try to "wall-off" these mite parasites. Most free roaming chickens will have infestations of these mites but they seldom cause problems other than creating an irritation to the birds
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Treatment --
    Effective treatments of the condition include:
    A weekly coating of the birds' legs with a petroleum-based product like vasaline, or mineral oils that suffocate and kill the mites. You can also add a few drops of Ivomec to the vasaline before applying to help, but it is not necessary.
    Spray the legs of the bird with a mosquito repellent that contains Deet, and rub it in good.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Sources --
    Mississippi State University



    Chris
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  7. Buckles

    Buckles Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't have my own flock yet but might possibly have a house suitable for one in a few months. If I did manage to introduce anything to my own birds wouldn't it just be a matter of using the same treatments and preventatives on them?

    Would treating scaly leg mite in the aviary birds aggravate a case of bumblefoot? The birds aren't used to being handled so I would think that a quick dip in a bowl of oil would be a lot easier than lancing or soaking a bumblefoot sore. I only read about bumblefoot a few days ago but it seems to be much harder to treat, at least it would be until the birds warmed up to the person handling them.

    Also, thanks for teaching me a new word - while I understand the concept well enough I never knew it was called 'biosecurity'. I really am learning a lot here! [​IMG]
     
  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Running over with Blessings Premium Member

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    Hi Buckles sounds like your Are learning alot on here, when you get your flock you'll know more than most probably, Hope these people will actually treat these birds for the mites. and that poor bird with bumble foot, it can get very serious, so that diff. needs to be taken care of. It would be great if you could do some volunteering and get first hand experience [maybe even tame the birds down too] the way to a chickens heart is through their stomach. Thanks for posting and letting us know how it's going and stay in touch.
     
  9. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

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    Quote:Bumblefoot is either from a deep tissue puncture wound to the foot that has become infected or a poor diet lacking in Vit. A.

    Bumblefoot --
    The most common cause of bumblefoot is a deep tissue puncture wound to the foot that has become infected, causing the foot to become swollen. This condition can also come from a poor diet with a lack of Vitamin A.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Prevention --
    Make sure your perches are not splintered, or have anything sharp on them that can damage the foot.
    Keep the area where your poultry are kept sanitized regularly.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Treatment --
    Bacteria, including staph, have been identified in some rare cases of bumble foot, if the wound hasnÂ’ t been noticed and treated before it becomes acute. Typically antibiotics, such as Gallimycin or Penicillin, if the infection is serious enough. If left untreated, the infection will eventually eat into the bone and travel to other parts of the body. This is a painful condition that can potentially be life endangering.
    Recovery is hastened by removal of the scab and of the pus core and by applying a suitable antibiotic cream on the bottom of the foot to help keep the wound soft.
    All wounds should be cleaned daily.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Sources --
    AvianWeb and Ultimatefowl Wiki


    Chris
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2011
  10. Buckles

    Buckles Out Of The Brooder

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    To Miss Lydia: Thanks for the kind words. I've been making a real effort to learn all I can because I want to be a responsible carer for these animals. I'm just grateful for my good memory because I'm learning for two - my boyfriend's a big animal lover but he's not yet got past his excitement at the prospects of giving them silly names and collecting his first eggs. Bless him.

    To Chris09: Thank you for the clear definitions and information on treatment. I think it was Avianweb that I was reading from the other day. There really is a wealth of information on poultry health available on the web if you look for it.
     

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