scaly leg mites!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lauracarmer, Jan 3, 2008.

  1. lauracarmer

    lauracarmer In the Brooder

    Dec 30, 2007
    In finding and posting to this board the other day when my little RIR bantam became egg-bound, I realized through the wealth of information here that our older chicken - another craigslist freebie, our first chook, in fact - has a terrible case of scaly leg mites! I really thought that's the way chicken legs were supposed to look [​IMG] She had what I thought was bumblefoot a few weeks back but must have been a secondary infection from the mites. The infection is now cleared up, but the mites in that area are worse. DH and I just coated both chickens legs in vaseline. Tomorrow we're putting cayenne in their feed because I'm sure they have worms too - the love to eat dog crap.

    Thanks for the support over the past few days. I'm sure we'll stick around because we're making plans to for a new, bigger coop and new chicks in the spring. Yay!

    -Laura, mom of two girls, a giant dog (rott/boxer mix), two hens (RIR bantam and something else), a cockatiel and a parakeet
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Good on the legs, as for worms, you may want to try pumpkin seeds and DE. Haven't heard of the peppers working for this? Best bet is a real wormer though, but there is a withdrawal time for eggs.
  3. hoosierhen

    hoosierhen Songster

    Sep 26, 2007
    Have you seen worms in their poo?
  4. silkies4ever

    silkies4ever In the Brooder

    Sep 30, 2007
    For the mites, I've done the vasoline (be sure to rub it in real good!) along with some ivermectin. You have to be very careful not to overdose with the ivermectin though, only a few drops for a banty, a few more for a standard sized chicken.

    But I think the vasoline alone will clear it up just fine as long as your diligent in putting it on [​IMG]
  5. sammi

    sammi Songster

    Dec 21, 2007
    Southeast USA
    I have heard of the cayenne pepper for worms..but never tried it myself..
    hope it works for you..tho you may have to end up getting a wormer..
    some people use Ivomec/Eprinex for both worming and mites..seems to work well for leg mites.
    Scaley Leg can get pretty serious.

    wondering if the pooh eating indicates a vitamin Vit B..?

    what are you feeding them?
    could be that the mites (and worms if they have them) could be depleting them of nutrients..
    might not be a bad idea to give them a boost of protein and some poultry vitamins in the water, or get some AviaCharge2000 from McMurray Hatchery.

    tho..maybe some chickens just like eating pooh..LOL
    I have read that they will eat cattle and horse pooh..for the vitamin B..

    maybe they would go for a little canned beef cat food.
    at least it looks like pooh..extra protein, but no parasites.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2008
  6. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    Ivermectin works really well but is not approved for poultry so you'll have to wait a while before eating eggs. I used it and it worked great with two treatments spaced two weeks apart. The vaseline method works too but it needs to be repeated several times over the course of a few months because more mite eggs will hatch.

    The best way to take car of leg mites w/o chemicals is to first thoroughly clean the bird's legs with warm soap and water. Its best to fill the sink (or bucket) with a few inches of warm soapy water and have the chicken stand in it a few minutes to soften the skin. Ivory brand soap is supposed to have flea-killing ingredients. After soaking scrub the legs with soap and a vegetable/finger/tooth brush. If its a severe case and the legs bleed apply a little neosporin to help heal the wound. Make sure the chicken's legs are completely dry. Heat some vaseline to make it liquidy and add a bit of teatree oil and mix it in. Teatree oil will help clear the mites as well as aid in healing. The vaseline suffocates the mites, killing them. Rub the vaseline mixture on to the legs and make sure to cover every inch. Using a paint brush helps to get under the raised scales. Make sure to repeat the application every few days and then every few weeks or so until the legs clear up.

    It is also important to treat the coop as the mites can be found in the bedding and in the roosts. Some mite species breed and lay eggs in the crevices of the wood in the coop. It is best to do a full cleaning of the living space and to spray all surfaces with a bleach/water solution and then to sprinkle an insecticide (either chemical or natural), many here use feed grade diatomaceous earth (DE). Clean the nest boxes too and replace nesting material. As a preventative method to use later is a dusting box inside to coop that is filled with play and and a dusting of either feed grade diatomaceous earth (DE) or wood ashes, your chickens will really enjoy the dust bathing.

    Scaly leg mites are stubborn and it may take months to eradicate them if the case is severe. Even after the mites are gone the legs will appear scaly and sometimes they remain scarred but they normally clear up nicely. Its best to keep up with vaseline application as it helps with healing too. If you suspect worms it is best to use a commercial worming product and use the pepper later as a preventative. A lot of people use DE as a natural method and have success.
  7. cgmccary

    cgmccary Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    Camph-phenique works wonderfully and is not as messy as vaseline (which works too). Take a syringe or eye dropper, coat the entire leg and shanks getting in between the toes with the Campho- phenique. Rub it in real good. Repeat if necessary in a few days but one time will probably work.

    Keep an eye out on your other birds. Scaly leg mites are not highly contagious but instead, they spread very slowly through you flock. If a bird is limping, check her legs. The mits are very incidious. Good Luck!
  8. cgmccary

    cgmccary Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    NE Alabama
    Ivermectin does work too but you must be VERY careful about dosages and its use.

    I only apply 1 drop on Bantams 2-3 drops on standard birds between the shoulder blades at the base of neck. Apply it directly to the skin only at that location. It MUST touch the skin there. Get someone to hold the bird while you apply it. NEVER let any Ivermectin get anywhere else esp. on the chicken's vent. It can be toxic and kill them.

    Here is a website to read about Ivermectin:

    I agree with everything else said above about cleaning the roosts & coop. I paint mineral oil on my roosts too.
  9. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

    Jan 11, 2007
    If the scaley legmite is severe then it will take a LONG time to clear it up with oil or vaseline and the ivermectine is often also insufficient (internal or spot-on)...I use in these cases (many ppl have brought me pigeons with terrible leg not talking bout my birds) anyway when I have had this I have sprayed directly onto the affected legs a .02 or .01% solution of ivermectin ... let it soak in and then apply mineral oil on top of it or vaseline ...two treatments (a week apart) is very effective .
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  10. BlueMoon

    BlueMoon Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    Scenic Verbank, NY
    So - how do we know when the mites are cleared and the chickens can be reintroduced to the flock?

    Also, is there a trick to tending the featherfooted ones?

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