Scaly Leg Mite. This is NOT normal! What to do if your hens have this
Scaly Leg Mite in chickens is caused by a parasite, Knemidocoptes mutans. These microscopic mites burrow under the chicken’s scales on their legs, feeding on the skin underneath.
How do you know you have them?
The presence of Scaly Leg Mites is often mistaken for old age. The scales on the legs of healthy chickens (even older hens) should be smooth and flat. Yes, scales on the legs do replace themselves, and can lift a little, but too often the lifting and crusting of leg scales is scaly leg mite.
How do you treat it?
If you don’t get onto treatment of scaly leg mite early, your whole flock is likely to be infected. Fortunately, treatment is easy.
- SOAK: Take a bucket of warm (not hot) soapy water. Soak the bird’s legs for up to 5 minutes to soften the scales.
- LIGHTLY BRUSH: Using an old tooth brush or soft nail brush, lightly brush over the legs. You are trying to clean the legs and remove dirt and old crusty scales – if they don’t brush away easily, leave them.
- RINSE the legs in clean water. Adding a small splash of white vinegar to the bucket of water will help remove the soap.
- LATHER the legs Natural Poultry Essentials Scaly Leg Mite Balm. The aim is to suffocate the mites, so ensure you have applied the oily balm to all areas, from where the feathers end on the legs, down to and around each of the toes.
- Even if the other birds in your flock are not showing signs of scaly leg mite, I recommend applying balm to all birds that have been in contact with the affected bird. Taking this preventative step, even just once, will significantly reduce the chance of mites taking hold on the others. Therefore saving you time down the track!
- REMOVE and replace all litter from the chicken coop.
- REAPPLY balm weekly for the first 4 weeks on affected birds.
In extreme cases, if there are still a lot of crusty scales after 4 weeks of treatment, repeat the washing process. Then continue to reapply balm fortnightly for a further 8 weeks, 12 weeks in total.
Questions? Drop them in the comments below! ~Elise