Chicken balanced health

by Kim
(Woodinville, WA)

Question

Chicken balanced health: Buff Orphington about 2 years old; the last few weeks her ankles and top of the foot and a few toes have become bright pink and swollen.

She eats and drinks and acts as she always has, but the legs have changed. It looks like the "scales" in the front have been stretched away from the scales in the back of her leg.

No discharge, no wounds, just like stretch marks between the front and back scales as the ankles have swollen.

We have one rooster, 9 hens and added 12 chicks about 3 weeks ago, but the chicks are in a separate part of the house with no interaction with the hens.

It has been very wet and muddy here over the last 4 months, but they do have an indoor area to stay dry. They are free range.

They eat layer pellets daily, along with kitchen scraps, grass and bugs.

Answer
It sounds like this hen has Scaly Leg Mites. If she has them, they are in the coop and environment.

Some chickens seem to be more prone to become infested than others, but these pesky parasites can spread quickly.

The legs can become so infested that there is bleeding and I’ve seen chickens that have gone lame, just from these mites.

A pyrethrin spray should kill the mites on the chickens and in the environment. (Though I prefer Ivermectin for serious cases.)

You might consider vitamin and mineral supplements for your flock, possibly add some whole seed to their diet, like: Safflower or Sunflower.

I’ve found that it’s the weaker chickens in a flock that seem to get infested. They become a breeding ground for possible diseases and parasites that can affect the whole flock.

I like to judge the health of my flock by the weaker ones. Other than old age, the weaker chickens can be the first sign of issues that could affect the whole flock.

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