Thursday, 16 January 2014

Scaly Leg for Chickens - Identifying and Curing

With all this wet weather, cold weather, damp weather, moist weather and stormy weather that has been lashing our little corner of Dorset the last few weeks (and the rest of Britain as well for that matter) we have been extra vigilante with our chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, geese and the quail, to make sure their health stays tip top. While our hens are perfectly healthy and happy, they get fresh Hemp-E Bedding every week, their Oreganico poultry tonic in the drinkers and plenty of delicious treats to keep them happy, there are other things that you should keep an eye out for in this weather, and one of them is Scaly Leg Mite.

Net-Tex Scaly Leg RemoverScaly Leg is caused by a small mite named Cnemidocoptes Mutans, that lives in the ground, or sometimes the floor of the coop, in damp conditions. It hurts the bird by burrowing under the scales of the birds legs or feet, where it causes great discomfort. It may also affect over-exposed areas like combs and wattles. You can identify a chicken with scaly leg, as the scales on its legs will be raised and often the legs become thick and have a lumpy look to them. This lumpy appearance often appears as a white growth on the legs. As the mites that cause the problem are tiny and very hard to see, the infection is usually recognised through these raised scales. Scaly Leg is highly contagious, but tends to affect older or feathered legged breeds more.

In its early stages it seems like a small problem, but should it be ignored it can lead to birds going lame and having difficulty perching. If repeatedly left untreated it can prove fatal to the bird, as further infections could occur. Any treatment will take time to have effect, with the white encrustations finally falling off and the legs returning to normal. Here at Flyte so Fancy we have a large range of treatments for scaly leg in chickens and here are a few of the best.
  • Mild cases of scaly leg can often be treated by dipping your chickens legs in Surgical Spirit, equally you can use Petroleum Jelly to smother the mites, however this requires a certain amount of reapplication. 
  • One of the best treatments is Net-Tex Scaly Leg Remover. Coming in a spray bottle, it makes it easier to apply, especially if your chicken still has a bit of fight in them. The spray contains ingredients that kill the mite and soothe the leg. A great treatment to use, and perfectly safe to spray on all your birds regardless of whether you think they have an infection or not. 
  • For a more natural treatment, the Barrier Scaly Leg Spray and Barrier Scaly Leg Ointment contain natural ingredients making it ideal for the organic farmer. It is of best use as a deterrent as opposed to a cure, but works well as a treatment also. 
  • You might also want to try Ivermectin Drops, not licensed for use on poultry itself, it is often used on other farm animals, so can be used after advice from a vet. It can be applied straight onto the birds skin killing any mite. 
If you are suffering from a Scaly Leg Mite incursion, you might want to turn your attention to your chicken coop or poultry protection pen also. Give the house a good clean out with a disinfectant like Virkon. Also make sure that the run is as dry as possible (difficult in these conditions I know) perhaps by putting down a fresh layer of hardwood woodchips or using a sanitiser like the Net-Tex Ground Sanitising Powder (only if the ground is dry) or Stalosan, this should help prevent future infestations. 

Flyte so Fancy Chickens

Scaly Leg for Chickens is a nasty and uncomfortable experience for your girls to go through, but it also both easily treatable and avoidable. If you think your having a problem with Scaly Leg but are not sure, why not give us a ring on 01300 345229 or leave a comment and we'll see how we can help.

Thanks for Reading

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