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How to treat scaly leg mites naturally

Do your chickens have scaly leg mite?

Scaly leg mites are a common parasite infecting chickens, poultry and birds. They cause irritation, itching and inflammation on the legs and feet of the birds, and if left untreated can lead to infection and lameness.

Scaly leg mites are easily recognised – they actually live under the scales that cover the legs of birds, tunnelling under the skin, eating the flesh and leaving droppings. While a healthy chicken’s legs look something like the smooth, scaled belly of a snake, a chicken with scaly leg mites will have thick, crusted feet that look more like the skin of a very warty crocodile.

Like all parasites, when one chicken in your flock is infested with scaly leg mites, it is likely that all your birds will be. It is important to treat your whole flock for the parasite, and to disinfect your coop, in order to prevent an ongoing problem.


Treat scaly leg mites with VetRx – 100 % natural

Fortunately, scaly leg mites are as easy to treat at home as they are to recognise.

VetRx, available here, is a 100% natural poultry remedy designed for the treatment of chickens and other birds. It may be an effective natural treatment for scaly leg mites. Remember to treat all your birds for the parasite, not just those that show symptoms.

To use VetRx:

  1. Soak the feet and legs of the bird in warm water and scrub very gently with a soft toothbrush to remove any dead skin or crusty build-up.

  2. Dry the feet and legs, and apply a small amount of cold VetRx straight from the bottle. Rub in well.

  3. Repeat treatment every 3 days until symptoms have ceased.

Clean the chicken coop thoroughly after treating your birds in order to prevent reinfection – for information on preventing the spread of parasites, visit our Guide to Good Coop Management. It is advisable to disinfect the coop using VetRx or a good insecticide.

Because VetRx may not destroy all unhatched eggs, it can take several weeks for even a mild case of scaly leg mite to be resolved.

In severe cases, it may be necessary to completely coat the legs of the bird in a thicker layer of VetRx in order to suffocate the mites. Alternatively, treat as detailed above and then top the legs with a thick layer of Vaseline or similar.


Other treatments for scaly leg mite

While VetRx may be effective against moderate infestations of scaly leg mite, in severe cases alternative treatment might be required. Other options include using a poultry dust (such as David Grays Poultry Dust or a rotenone powder), mite and lice sprays like Avitrol or a deworming medication such as ivermectin (check the label carefully as not all dewormers are effective against external parasites). Some sources recommend dipping the birds’ legs in petrol.

For further information on treating parasites in chickens, or to learn about other natural treatments for pests and disease, visit the Dine a Chook Learning Centre, an up-to-date resource on poultry health and management for backyard chicken keepers everywhere.