Friday, May 04, 2007

Chicken Q & A: Scaly Leg Mites

Question: My hen has scaly legs. The scales on her legs are pushed up and sticking out. She's also walking stiffly. What's wrong with her and how can I cure this problem?

Answer: It sounds like your hen has an infestation of scaly leg mites. The pests burrow under the leg scales of the chicken, which is why the scales stick out. Since leg mites travel very slowly from chicken to chicken, stopping the problem is relatively simple. Control the mites by brushing the perches, roosts, and bird's legs once or twice a month with a mixture of kerosene to two parts linseed oil (be sure not to use motor oil). Older birds are more likely to get this problem than younger ones, so if you cull heavily you will probably not run into these mites. Another way to treat scaly leg mites is by smothering the parasites with petroleum jelly or a kerosene/oil mix. According to A Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow, the most effective treatment is ivermectin, whose accompanying box says its a "Parasite Zapper".

2 comments:

Lucy McKay said...

I know this an old subject but people who would like to know the answer will come here time and again. I have found the VERY BEST way to get rid of scaly leg mites is to dip the legs all the way up to the feathers in mineral oil for a few weeks. Also treat the perches with seven dust. I had a bad infestation one time and this is the treatment I used. It worked wonderfully.

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