Seeking advice on healing damage to toes caused by scaly leg mite

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by hotspur, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. hotspur

    hotspur Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2008
    We need experienced advice, regarding healing damage to toes due to scaly leg mite.
    We are concerned about a couple of lesions due to scaly leg mite on the toes of one hen.
    [Please omit any advice to see a vet. Regrettably, we are dirt poor and could not possibly afford that.]

    Currently, the feet of our three hens are affected by scaly leg mite.
    There is a lesion (that is a spot of truly raw, red, exposed flesh - which may have bled) on each of two of the toes of one of the hens.
    The other two hens aren't as badly affected - as they have some raised scales but no lesions.

    Yesterday, I treated the hens by smothering their legs and feet with a liberal application of Vaseline (petroleum jelly).

    I didn't see any point in applying antibiotic ointment to the lesions on the toes of the worst affected hen - as
    (a) the feet were covered in Vaseline, and
    (b) the toes became covered in dirt (sticking to the Vaseline) as soon as I returned the hens to their coop.

    Regrettably, I am somewhat to blame for the advanced damage to the hens' feet.
    Whereas about six weeks ago I treated our rooster for scaly leg mite with mineral oil (bably oil), and then two weeks later again with Vaseline, I didn't treat the three hens, because from a distance their feet looked fine at that time.
    I now appreciate that their feet are much finer (thinner) than the rooster's feet, and that a closer examination is necessary to detect any damage to the scales of their feet.

    Yesterday I also re-treated the rooster, with Vaseline.
    I plan to re-treat all four birds again in about two weeks time, with Vaseline - to eliminate any new mites that may hatch after yesterday.

    When I treated the rooster six weeks ago, I also replaced the old perch - which was a branch with cracks in its surface - in order to remove any mites living in the cracks in its surface. The new perch is a branch with a smooth covering of bark. Also, at that time I dusted the coop with diatomaceous earth.

    Unfortunately, there is a possibility that the birds are getting re-infected with scaly leg mite from tree branches upon which they perch in order to roost on evenings when I am late in arriving to get them back into their coop after their day's free ranging around the lot.
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    So sorry, sounds like it is going to be an ongoing battle with their getting onto tree branches. We can't fix everything.

    One thought: the base of Neosporin, most of the stuff in the tube, is the same as vaseline. Lots more expensive of course -- but you could dab it on the wounds then do the vaseline on the rest of the leg. This is Neosporin ointment, not Neosporin cream. Most if not all ointments are vaseline (petroleum jelly -- generic is the same as brand name) with various medications in them.
  3. ChIck3n

    ChIck3n Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2010
    Texas A&M
    I would keep treating instead of waiting a few weeks. Vasaline can be a pain to apply, so I recommend getting more mineral oil (dollar stores usually have this for cheap). Just pour it into an open tub big enough to fit the foot into, then just dunk the feet into this every day for a week and then every other day for another week. Just keep applying until their scales are back to normal. Probably a good idea to dunk every few weeks, because it sounds like you have a lot of mites in your area. Probably would be good to rinse off the feet before dunking so the oil does not get nasty after a few treatments. You can put neosporin on the red parts before you dunk the feet if you like.

    There is really no way to prevent exposure to more mites. As long as your birds go outside, there are always wild birds that could reintroduce mites even if you disinfect the trees. If you are worried about this, just dunk their feet again when you bring them inside for the night.
  4. hotspur

    hotspur Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2008
    Thanks, Ddawn and Chick3n!

    I'll start putting neosporin ointment on lesions first and then dipping their legs in mineral oil more regularly.

    Catching the birds is quite traumatic, though.
    The only way I've been able to do it is to get down on my haunches, and then waddle through the small door of the coop, then do my best to corner a fleeing bird (avoiding the perch and a few hooks as I do so) and then retreat backwards out of the door clutching a squawking bird to me as I exit through the small door.
  5. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Quote:A reason I prefer coops that are tall enough to walk in, and doors tall enough to walk through

    Easiest time to catch them is at night when they are asleep. It sounds like you only have a few birds. Do you have a dog crate or similar cage you can keep them in temporarily, while you treat them? My recommendation is to one by one thoroughly bathe them in cat or dog flea/tick shampoo according to label directions. Wrap in an old towel to dry. By the time you have finished the last, go back to the first. THe scaley gunk should have softened from the bath. Using an old toothbrush (or similar), scrub off as much of the gunk as you can. Then coat in a light oil such as bath oil or even olive oil. Or, if you have ivermectin pour-on, you can mix about a half a millieter with an equal amount of oil and paint it on the scales.

    Scrub off the scaley gunk then lightly coat with oil on alternate days until they are cleared. You may lose some toes.

    You need to treat the roosts and any wood with an insecticide spray. Clean out and replace all bedding, along with DE liberally mixed in. You can put sevin or permethrin dust under the bedding if you like. If they do not eat in the coop, mix the insecticide dust into the bedding.

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