Chicken Scaly Leg Mite - Easy Treatment at Home
Easy treatment for chickens scaly leg mite with a store cupboard item, cooking oil!
Are your chickens legs looking a bit strange? Knobbly with the scales sticking out? It sounds like scaly leg mite, (or scaley leg mite depending on how good your splelling is!) and it's a common parasite among chickens.
This tiny poultry mite burrows underneath the scales on your chickens leg causing discomfort, irritation and inflammation. Luckily it doesn't kill the poor chicken but it does spread and is unlikely to get better on its own. Poor chook!
This lens shows you how I cure scaly leg mite on my chickens. It's quick, easy and more importantly cheap to cure scaly leg mite with this old and well tested remedy.
How to Get Rid of Those Scaly Leg Mites
A cheap, easy, environmentally friendly and non invasive way....
Chicken scaly leg first shows up as an abnormailty of the scales on your chickens leg, making them appear to be 'lifting up' or sticking out. Scaley leg mites burrow inderneath the chickens scales and its the inflammation that lifts the scales, irritating the chook in the process.
Your chickens scaly leg mite problem is only going to get worse over time if not treated. This eventually thickens the chickens leg until it is more than twice its normal size and quite knobbly and deformed looking. The mites definitely annoy the chicken as well, I watched mine regularly 'worrying' their legs and pecking at them.
Scaley leg mites are also very likely to spread to other birds in your flock if they roost together.
BUT, don't worry, scaly leg mite is quite simple and cheap to treat.
This method has been used for years and I have used it several times (my chooks forage over 3 acres and pick up all sorts!). As long as you don't mind picking your birds up, you'll have no problems using this easy cure.
Basically, to kill scaly leg mites you need to..........suffocate them! (and no, it's not 'mean'!)
The easiest way is to 'drown' them in oil! (I know, it sounds terribly medieval, but it works!)
Step by step
- Buy a litre of the cheapest cooking oil that your supermarket stocks.
- Next find a small pot approximately 10cm or 4" deep and about the same in diameter. I use an old plant pot, although any heavy pot or bowl is fine.
- Fill it almost to the brim with your preferred type of cooking oil (you can use olive oil if you are a little bit 'posh')
- Taking the chook gently but firmly manouver the bird over the pot and dip each leg for a few seconds. The bird will help by putting her legs down as you lower her, thus plunging the scaley leg into the oil.
- Repeat daily for a few days, usually a week or so will get the legs sorted out and looking pink again, (Put the pot of oil somewhere safe in between dippings, topping up as necessary).
If your chickens are a bit wild as mine are, wait until they are roosting and get the pot(!) ready and just lift them gently off their roost and proceed as described above. You can calm them by talking to them if you like!
You will notice a difference after two or three days, and certainly after a week of treatment they should be quite pink with new scaly skin minus the mites! Your chook may even help matters along by pecking at lose scales etc as the treatment progresses.
Additional points to note
With this method, the chooks will look a bit scruffy as the dust and muck sticks to their legs and the oil may get on the lower feathers as well while roosting, making them dirty as well. Rest assured that all will be clean again a few days after stopping the treatment with the oil.
Also, now might be a good time to clear out the chicken coop and spray your normal disinfectant everywhere. You don't want to cure the chooks legs only for it to find some more mites lurking amongst the roosts!!
Example of Scaly Leg Mites (couple of days after starting treatment)
After one week of treatment and a further week of recovery
Scaly leg mites all dead and gone.
Scales sticking out
If you look at the above photo you can still see that the scales are not 100% perfect. I have found this to be quite 'normal'. After all the scaly leg mite is a pretty invasive little mite who makes quite a mess of the chooks legs and I don't think that the chickens leg will ever look exactly the same again. But the mite is gone and the chicken is healthy and happy and that's all that matters!
You too can easily become a chicken expert... - ... with books of course!
I learned a lot of my knowledge about chickens from reading (I am a serious bookworm!), and I can recommend the ones in the following amazon box.
When you think about it, books are great value for money considering how much time and research it takes to write one. Imagine how much it would cost to attend seminars or conferences to learn the latest on any given subject. Buy the book and you have all that knowledge for the price of a drink or three!
Love or hate the Dummies books they are still a great first introduction to keeping chooks and this one is one of the best to get you going... Don't forget that even if you don't like the style, John Wiley & Sons, the publishers go to great lengths to find an expert in the field to write their book. You can be assured that the info in a Dummies guide is from someone who knows their onions.
Reading a book like this will also give you insight about the amount of work involved which is especially useful if you 'think' you want to keep chickens but have no idea what's involved in the day to day care of them...
Certified: Always Fresh
I've been following Lisa from way back when, and as a fifth-generation chicken keeper, she is a perfect inspiration.
Growing up with chickens adds an extra layer of knowledge and she's been raising her very own backyard flock since 2009, sharing her farming adventures on her very popular blog and Facebook pages,
Learn how to keep your flock safe from predators, how to build strong immune systems, and how to keep them healthy and happy without using antibiotics or other commercial medications.
Chickens are funny...
What's life without a little humor and of course with chickens there is no end....
This book is a perfect gift for anyone who's been keeping chickens for a while. All chicken owners know about the personalities and funny quirks in their own coop. Who'd have thought that chickens had such personalities?
Chooks aren't too fussy about where they live!
(not like you!)
Building your own chicken coop is not that tricky, and believe it or not, no matter how poor you think your effort is......your chooks will LOVE it! I have lost count of the coops that I have built using 'scraps' of stuff just lying around and I think that it adds to the whole scene.
If you want to build something a little more, well....'posh', the guys from backyard chickens have compiled all their considerable knowledge into their new book..., plus real life advice from the forum. Guide to Planning and Building Coops and Tractors
My new tractor design stems from ideas I got from Backyard Chickens and I love how easy it is to keep clean, I'd never have thought about installing a 'poop' tray underneath their roost for example. Photos soon!
Latest additions to the coop.... - 3 Norwegian Jaerhons and 3 light sussexClick thumbnail to view full-size
That's all folks!
I hope that you enjoyed this hub on the scaly leg mites which can plague Chickens.
Feel free to get in touch, I can be found most days at handycrowd.com, call in.........the kettle is always on!
Anything to add about chickens and the treatment of scaly leg mite problems?
If so, have a banter down below in the comments...