Scaly leg mites - can they cause intense lethargy?


6 Years
Sep 6, 2013
My Brahma was standing by our back door staring at the brick wall yesterday, and my husband said the same in the coop the night before. She then moved off to the edge of the house, but still stood staring. I suspected she may have been egg bound, as she's been laying enormous elongated eggs. I gave her warm bath and checked her vent. I didn't see or feel any eggs.

While soaking her tush, I noticed her feet looked weird. I think this is scaly leg mites. Today, she won't stand up and is breathing labored. I have been giving her water with a cup and spout. She is drinking the water greedily. I'm suspecting if she has leg mites, she may have not felt well enough to get to the water container, and it's been hot here the past couple days (upper 80s), and she may have become dehydrated. If she is very dehydrated, how much water should I be hand feeding her a day and how often?

I'm suspecting the leg mites are not the reason for her lethargy, loss of appetite, etc., and perhaps it's the dehydration that is now the real problem.

I washed her feet in soapy water and gently scrubbed with toothbrush and slathered with Vaseline. I'm trying to cover all my bases. I hope she can recover! Any advice is appreciated. She seems so weak.

Here is pic:

She probably needs electrolytes in her water. Pedialyte and gatorade work, or you can make homemade ones: I believe Casportpony has said that 30 ml or 1 ounce per kg(each 2.2 lb) per hour is the maximum amount they need. Since brahmas are huge, that would be a lot of water--about 4 oz every hour. Have you checked her for other mites as well? Ivomec or eprinex pour on 3/4 ml on bare skin on the back of the neck might be good for all of her mites.
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That does look like a somewhat mild form of scaly leg mites, but I don't think that is what is causing her weakness. Dehydration is a possibility, though, so I would keep giving her water. Perhaps put some poultry vitamins/electrolytes (like Sav-a-Chic) in the water to give her an extra boost. Probiotics wouldn't be a bad idea, either. Make sure she eats and drinks, and keep her warm anc clean. Try to minimize stresses (loud noise, animals waking past her cage, etc.). Other than that, I really don't know what could be wrong.

Your hen's symptoms remind me a lot of something that happened to one of my cocks earlier this year. One day, I found him in his pen unable to stand. His legs weren't paralyzed, but he seemed rather weak, and I isolated him. He didn't eat or drink much on his own. A few days passed, and his condition worsened. He became too weak to even lift his head. I had to spoon feed him foods such as applesauce, a "soup" made from dissolved feed, yogurt, and a lot of vitamins/electrolytes in order to keep him alive. As he weakened more, my cock developed a slight wheeze, indicative of a respiratory problem. I purchased some Tylan200 injectable and began treating him. By the 2nd day of treatment, he was standing for short periods of time. By the last, 4th day of treatment, he could stand and move around. After a few more days, he was back to normal. I'm not sure what was ever wrong with him; it could be that the respiratory disease took a while to manifest itself or it was a secondary infection. But whatever it was, the Tylan200 seemed to help.

If your hen doesn't improve after being given supportive care for a few days, I would recommend treating with an antibiotic, like Tylan50 or Tylan200. The injectable form is best, or you can use a powdered water soluble oral form. The Tylan50 injectable dosage is 1cc for large-fowl, .5ccs for bantams, injected into one side of the breast once daily for 5 days. The Tylan200 injectable dosage is .5ccs for large-fowl, .1-.3ccs for bantams, injected into one side of the breast once daily for 3-4 days. Use a small gauge needle, and alternate the side of the breast that you inject into because Tylan can make the injection area sore. Also, do not give probiotics, dairy products, or Apple Cider vinegar during Tylan treatment. Improvement should be seen after 2-3 days.

If not some sort of infection, then another two possibilities would be worms or Coccidiosis. It might be a good idea to worm your hen with a broad-spectrum womer. Some choices include Valbazen, SafeGuard, or the Worminator. The Worminator can be ordered from here:, and the other wormers can usually be found at a livestock supply store. Coccidiosis can be treated with Corid (amprol or amprolium).

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