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Scaly Leg Mites

Silkie with Scaly Leg Mites
Scaly Leg Mites are nasty little parasites that burrow in underneath your chickens scales causing them to lift unnaturally, this results in over-all uncomfortable situation for your chook due to skin irritation and swelling. If left untreated, Scaly Leg Mites can cause your chicken to go lame, the swelling can become so severe that toe nails 'pop' off the toe, or irritation can become so overwhelming that your chook may actually tear off parts of their toes! I have seen this happen personally, it's not pretty! 

Scaly Leg Mites do spread, as they live on your chicken and in the hutch, so if one chook has it, it's probably best to treat your whole flock! They do spread slowly compared to other common poultry mites, so it's common to have one bird showing symptoms and the rest seem fine, but still it's best to treat everyone to avoid the infestation returning in the near future. First things first, clean your hutch thoroughly, fill a garden spray bottle with a mixture of water and washing detergent, and continue to spray down all surfaces in your hutch. The slightly thickened water mix will stick to the walls and smother any mites living in the wood. Next, the substrate, the cheapest substance I've come across to spread through your substrate to deter mites is good old garlic powder, be generous.

Now onto treating your chook/chooks. I have heard many a method for treating Scaly Leg Mites, like using WD40, Frontline for Dogs, Kerosene, Sump Oil, Even Livestock Grade Mite Control, but all these options are chemical based options, which means these chemicals will be absorbed through the feet and not only be unhealthy for the hen or if administered in too high a dose cause death, but it will also make your eggs unsafe for consumption for some time after treatment. 

The below method has been proven to work, it’s been tested on numerous members of my own flock, and even cured a few very severe cases that I've had brought to me over the years.

You will need any kind of oil ie. canola, peanut. I use Avocado Oil, as I find it works best due to it being quite a thick consistency, and the dark colour helps point out areas of the feet you may have missed. A towel, a paint brush and a small bowl or a bucket (depending on how many chickens you're treating), Peppermint and Calendula Oil are optional additions to the treatment (Peppermint is an anti-parasitic and Calendula soothes irritated skin), and an old toothbrush.

1. Soak the effected chickens feet in warm water, and scrub them gently with an old toothbrush to remove loose dirt and mite faeces.
2. Pat feet dry.
3. (optional step) Mix your Oil with a drop off Peppermint and Calendula Oil
4. Paint your chickens feet from the tips of the toes to the knees.
(If you're treating a large flock, you may prefer to make a large amount of your Oil Mix in a bucket and dunk your chickens legs in instead of painting each individual bird. This Oil Mix can then be stored for continued treatment).
5. Let the Oil soak in for a moment and release your chicken back out into the yard.

For birds showing severe symptoms, treat every second day for 10 days.
For bird showing slight symptoms, treat once a week for 2 weeks.

For birds not showing symptoms, treat once.


  1. I just put vaseline on their legs. It is thick, completely covers the leg and is easy to apply. Usually only need one application or sometimes a second application and all sorted.

    1. I have also used Vaseline with great results, so highly reccomend it also.
      I personally prefer the oil simply because it's a little easier to mix in the essential oils I like to add.


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