Sometimes I feel that no matter how hard I try to keep our girls healthy there is always another problem round the corner. I wonder if, as long time chicken keepers, we will experience every chicken problem eventually. It’s been fourteen years of chicken keeping for me and now another new problem has cropped up.
I recently noticed that Dot’s feet were looking gnarly. I immediately thought of scaly mite and started researching it. It does indeed look as if Dot has scaly mite. I asked where it comes from and found that it can come from wild birds, rodents or it can live in the soil in the run. We do have mice coming in during the winter months and they can get through the weld mesh so there is no way to stop them.
Chickens’ scales on their legs and feet should be smooth and flat. If they have scaly mite the scales lift and look rough and white.
The scaly mite burrows under the scales and it is highly contagious so the whole flock needs treating. I looked for the best treatment and ordered Net Tex spray solution. It soothes, softens and cleanses the scales and suffocates the scaly mites. It provides a protective coating and prevents further infection.
Scaly mite have a life cycle of ten to fourteen days so the treatment needs to be done every five days for up to three weeks to break the egg cycle.
Scaly mite will not go away without treatment and eventually will cause damage to the feet and possible lameness. When the treatment is complete the chicken shed will need cleaning and disinfecting to get rid of any eggs.
Some people use vaseline or petroleum jelly to smother the scales and suffocate the mites. My research says its messy and not sure to get rid of them all so the spray is the best method. I will lift the girls from the perch at bedtime and spray them. This will make it easy to do them all and it will allow the spray to stay put over night.
I will keep spraying Dot until she is completely back to normal. It does say that it’s easy to treat so I am hopeful that I can get on top of this.