Scaly leg mites?


11 Years
Jul 30, 2008
One of my hen's legs look awful. They look rough, bumpy and callused. The other hen doesn't have an signs of any problems but I assume this might be scaly leg mites? and the treatment is Vaseline on the legs if I'm not mistaken. This hen will not let me the touch her. She is in a small coop and retrieving her is horrible, frightening and the last time we attempted such a feat she escaped and caused us hours and hours of grief and worry that were resolved only when my husband was able to find and catch her.

I've recently noticed that some of my younger birds have mites/lice so I plan on treating them and dusting with sevin this weekend. I'd like to go ahead and treat both hens as well. (Our other hen is very tame).

How often is it necessary to repeat the vaseline application? Any tips for treating a bird who would gladly peck my eyes out and stay gone forever were it an option?
I don't know if this will help, but when it is dark, they are pretty vulnerable. Wait until its dark, wear gloves and snatch her, it you need to, hang her upside down she won't peck at you, then apply the vaseline turn her right side up and put her back on the roost. Ive had to do this a few times.
Catching her at night is a good idea, hanging her upside down isn't. Hanging a chicken upside down puts a lot of pressure on their lungs and can cause problems. Only hold a chicken upside down if you're on your way to kill it.
As to your question about the Vaseline, you need to repeat the treatment every 2-3 days untill you see improvwmwnt in the condition of the birds legs.
As to the lice/mites, yes you need to treat all the birds & follow up with a second treatment in 7-10 days.
OOOOOPS:barnie I have hung my chickens upside down just for a second, then craddled them to apply treatments. But I guess that I won't do that anymore. I have a post on my rooster if you have any advice.
A chicken catcher is a pretty cool device, if you don't want to mess around in the dark. I bought mine from Meyer Hatchery. It's a long stick with a handle at one end and a chicken leg sized hook at the other.
I just started the vaseline treatment on my older birds. I had to treat my young birds a few weeks ago. I found that the addition of a few drops of tea tree oil sped things along. Don't over do it though.
One more warning about sevin! Not to start the debate again but the Oct/Nov issue of Backyard Poultry (received yesterday) states that sevin is a carcinogen and toxic to bees! Excellent article under "Controlling Parasites...Naturally or With Chemicals".
There's nothing wrong with holding your birds upside down. It has a calming effect on the birds and ensures that you won't get a beating if your rooster/hen suddenly decides to attack your face.

I use Adams Flea and Tick Spray. It works WONDERS on the birds. Spray liberally all over the legs and if you'd like, put some Vaseline on. After one or two weekly treatments it's amazing how fast it works!

You can also use the Adams Flea and Tick Dip in cases of severe mite (Northern Fowl, not Scaley Leg) infestation. Then dust with Sevin dust or DE. Works every time!

I don't touch anyone else's birds...I know that mine are at least mite free, but others...yuck. I just get all crawly all over.

You can also use the Adams Flea and Tick as a prevention method for Scaly leg mites. Spray it on and no issues. One time per week. I don't do this, but I've heard of others with smaller flocks doing it.
My hen (which came from the same place as TubbyChicken's hen) also has terrible crusty legs and feet. They look and feel like old troll feet, calloused and rough and hard as concrete. It's so nasty, the poor bird.
She's also very timid, so my husband catches her in the evenings and the only way to touch her is to hang her upside down until she calms, otherwise she tries to peck your eyes out. We put unpetroleum (like vasoline) on her legs tonight for the first time, but I wasn't sure what to do about her feathers, she's feather footed. How do you apply the tea tree oil? We use it around the house, so I have some on hand. Do you mix it with some vasoline ahead of time or what?
You just want to slather the oil or vaseline all over the scales. You can try not to get so much on the feathers but it absorbs fairly quick and wont stay a mess too long. I think mixing it with the vaseline would help it stay on longer. I used campho-phenique which only required one treatment on some silkies that were given to me. A warm water soak also helps when you first start treatment. I used an old clean toothbrush to scrub out the scales and then used the same one to apply the oil. Hope this helps and good luck.

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