Treated scaly leg mites this morning! Wild bird carriers?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by auburn, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. auburn

    auburn Out Of The Brooder

    85
    6
    33
    Jun 19, 2012
    West Michigan
    Went ahead and treated the whole flock with a mineral and tea tree oil mix on their legs. No one else really showed any signs of it but our dominant rooster (Big Red), who was fine one day and had raised scales the next. Yikes!

    The biggest mystery, though, is where he got them from! No new flock members have been added besides the chicks, and he has never been exposed to them or been in their kennel. He's separate from the girls, being in the adjacent goat pen along with our other rooster. Also notable is that the other rooster doesn't have them.

    We wondered if it was perhaps the hay? The other rooster sleeps on a roost but Big Red sleeps on the ground, in the hay (easier for him to see the hens through the chicken wire barrier in the barn [​IMG]). We've always gotten our hay from the same place and they don't own any chickens. Though, it might be worth noting that when big hay trucks have bales fall off into the road and don't come back for them, my dad'll pick them up. Might ask him not to anymore, worried what might be in the hay.

    I once read that wild birds can carry scaly leg mites? Are they affected by it the same way as chickens? It seems like the answer would be an obvious yes, but internet research has gotten me nowhere. The only scale mite cases I can find are always on domesticated fowl.

    Anyone know if wild birds carry this parasite? The chickens do like to hang out under their feeders. And if this is the case, anything I should do? Perhaps we'll spread some Diatomaceous earth under the feeders just in case. I don't like the idea of the poor robins and chickadees and jays having to deal with it either!
     
  2. ellie32526

    ellie32526 Chillin' With My Peeps

    423
    21
    103
    Oct 21, 2012
    North Texas
    Knemidokoptes mutans is the Latin name for scaly leg mite. The external parasites can be found in the environment and affect all birds. Scaly leg mites burrow into the skin and lay their eggs inside the skin. If you find any evidence of scaly leg mites the entire flock and coop should be treated. The coop should be emptied and scrubbed and disinfected with bleach water. Once dry, it should be dusted with Food Grade DE. Each chicken should be treated by soaking their feet and legs in warm soapy water (some suggest Dawn dishwashing liquid), Once you clean off the old scales, their legs and feet should be dipped in oil (Olive, Vegetable, Mineral, etc., Tea Tree's okay too!) After that rub each foot and leg with petroleum jelly. Repeat this at least once a week for several weeks until the legs and feet appear normal again. If you don't knock it out completely it will come back. Good Luck to you and your birds.
     
  3. War Chicken

    War Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    272
    12
    100
    Oct 18, 2011
    They do infect wild birds but some species don't have as obvious reactions to them so you can't tell if they're infested just by looking at their legs.
     
  4. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,042
    62
    221
    Jul 30, 2008
    Missouri
    Good advice here.

    One thing I do when I have a case is replace the roosts.

    I do skip the oil treatment and just go right to the petroleum jelly (buy a box of rubber gloves and wear old clothes) once a week for a month. I also clean the coop and clean with a bleach solution.
     
  5. auburn

    auburn Out Of The Brooder

    85
    6
    33
    Jun 19, 2012
    West Michigan
    Thanks for the responses everyone! Coop was cleaned out and everything will be repeated in a week. My mom is pretty sure it was the hay, and she has a point, because only the roosters are exposed to the hay and Big Red also doesn't spend much time by the feeders.

    Hope he improves soon, his feet really do look uncomfortable. I only recognized what it was because of being on this site so much; thank goodness for BYC! [​IMG]
     
  6. scooter147

    scooter147 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,042
    62
    221
    Jul 30, 2008
    Missouri
    auburn
    Sometime the chickens scales on their legs do not lay back down like they should be. It doesn't mean you haven not gotten rid of the mites though. I find in older birds say 3 and up the scales on the legs never return to normal. One way I can tell I've "cured" the problem is the chickens do not "bite" at their legs due to the biting of the mites.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by