Scaly leg mites? (with pics)


8 Years
Sep 28, 2011
So, around the beginning of December I bought a quad of hens from someone, and only noticed once I got them home and started observing them how badly ripped off I had been. This one blue Marans hen I bought seemed to have (what looked like to me) deformed feet. But now as I look at pictures, I realize it might be scaly leg mites instead. Could someone help me out and tell me if they think that's what it is?




Sorry for the poor picture quality! I've worked very hard to try and tame this hen, and she'll allow me close now, but it was too hard for me to grab her AND take a picture by myself.
Basically, the legs have a dry/crusty appearance, and though the scales don't really look raised her legs do seem kind of scabby and swollen. Her leg feathers are growing in a little weirdly and the outer claw on both of her feet is nearly nonexistent. I know that can't be seen in the pictures, but the claw's appearance is very similar to the outer claw here:

So, is it leg mites? Or maybe she had them before and her feet are now just deformed? I'm wondering if this isn't the case considering that the rest of my flock seems healthy and have normal-looking legs. After a month of being exposed to the leg mites, they would all have it, right?

If it is leg mites, is there an easier way to treat it then rubbing vaseline several times on their legs? The main issue is that I don't have someone to help me with this, and with all the chickens I have it might take me all night.
I heard on here somewhere that you can use Ivormectin .08% pour on, and apply a few drops of this to the back of a bird's neck to rid them of almost all parasites besides some internal worms. Does anyone know if this would work for scaly leg mites? Honestly, if it would I'd be willing to try it, I am quite sick of battling parasites and from what I recall, using Ivormectin would be they'd all be parasite-free for 6 months... right?

Thanks for reading!
It takes a while treating them this way. I started with only neem oil and their legs got a lot better in a few days. I smeared the jelly on them today to help it along. I also treat their quarantine pen and their bodies with neem.
How often do you have to treat them with neem oil and petroleum jelly before they are cured? If that's what it takes I am willing, although it'll probably take me a few hours per session.
I sprayed the neem oil on strong, cutting it just enough with water to make it sprayable. I doused the legs and rubbed a bit with my fingers to work it in. I also hold the chickens by their feet so their feathers fall open and spray their bodies really well with the neem. I made sure to get around their combs and wattles too. I released them into their sprayed pen and then in a couple of days sprayed with more neem and added a thick layer of the jelly. Make sure to get it far up their legs. I gooed their leg feathers up a bit to make sure that I got them well.

I didn't do it every day. The neem will kill the mites just like it does pests in your garden.

I plan to retreat once a week, or so for a few weeks.

Some people warn against using neem strong. I use it on my chickens, goats, cats, dogs and even small rescue birds (internally and externally). Its a use at your own risk sort of thing. You should hopefully notice a difference in a few days. The neem should help to heal abrasions and cuts, too.
I got mine at Lowes. You can order it online though. It is probably cheaper if you can find it at a feedstore. They sell it as an organic pesticide. Just make sure it doesn't contain other stuff that may harm your birds.
I just have a couple question then! When you spary their comb and wattles, how do you keep the neem oil out of their eyes? And how long do you have to treat them once a week before you can stop?

Does anyone have experience with Ivormectin also? I am still looking for info no using this in case other parasite problems occur.
I don't use synthetic chemicals so I cannot help you with the Ivermectin.

When I got my goats they had livestock lice. I used the neem oil about once a week for a couple of months, I think.

I have never had to deal with chicken mites so these ladies are my first go with them. I am not sure how long to treat them. I am just going to do it like I am now, until all signs of the mites have gone. I'll be treating the quarantine pen this way as well.

Oh, I use the spray bottle and squeeze slowly until a small bead of neem begins to roll down the crease of their combs. You can also just spray your fingers and work it in that way. By the time I am done spraying the birds, their whole bodies look really wet. Like soaked in water and then they shook off a couple of times. Try and get it really well around their vents, feet, legs and heads. I also make sure to do a good spot where their oil gland is at the upper base of the tail. They will spread the oil around as they groom.

I haven't lost a bird since using neem oil, so mine at least do not seem harmed by it. I even started using it internally to work as a dewormer. I think it came to around 1CC per hen. I can't remember and would have to look.

I suppose a quicker way would be to mix a solution of neem oil into a bucket of water and submerge the birds for a minute or two. I might do this next time because spraying each bird is a hassle, LOL.

I'm not really sure how weak you can make the neem and water solution and it still work. I think my bottle said two tablespoons per gallon, can't remember. I do remember that wasn't strong enough to kill the lice on the goats.
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