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How to Treat Scaly Leg Mites

Scaly leg mites are nasty little critters that live on the feet and shanks of chickens. The can make life miserable for the chicken and can even cause the loss of toes. Even though this description doesn't sound too promising, the good news is that a scaly leg mite infestation is fairly easy to diagnose and treat.


When these scaly leg mites infect a chicken, the scales on their legs become raised and irritated. It is these raised scales that will be the first really noticeable symptom. Here is a photo of a Old English Game Bird rooster than I rescued:


Scaley Leg Mites


His feet were in terrible shape and covered in mites. This photo was after a few treatments, but you can still see the raised scales and red swollen areas.


The treatment for scaly leg mites is really two-fold. First, the mites can be eliminated from the legs of the chicken by coating them very thickly with petroleum jelly. The idea is to really work the petroleum jelly into the scales and suffocate the leg mites out. I used probably a golf ball size amount of vaseline for each pair of chicken legs I treated. Treat daily for the first week, then once a week for 3 additional weeks. If the feet seem to have redness or a secondary infection, you can treat them with a triple antibiotic ointment such as neosporin instead of the petroleum jelly.


The second thing to do to treat for a scaly leg mite infestation is to treat the coop and surrounding areas. All litter should be changed very often for the first few weeks following an infestation. You should also use Sevin dust to treat floors and outside runs. This will keep the mites from ever reaching maturity in your coop.


If these simple treatments do not seem to be working, there are some more direct insecticides that can be used to treat scaly leg mites.