Scaly Legs

My chicken won't jump off her perch and is not very active. Her legs are peeling and look like they have growths

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Scaley Legs
by: sharon

Without a photo, it's hard to guess.

My first guess is leg mites. These are tiny little bugs that live under leg scales. They breed, they multiply, they drink blood and they can cause severe irritation and pain.

I used to do a lot of Chicken Rescuing; taking in chickens that people didn't want anymore. Leg mites were sometimes a problem for some of these chickens.

There are various treatments, but what worked best for me was to buy a bottle of injectable Ivermectin. It's a dewormer for large animals. I would use a syringe with needle to get the liquid out of the bottle and through the needle drench the legs and feet externally with the Ivermectin, from top to bottom.

Usually one treatment is enough. Within 24 hours all the mites die. It will take weeks for the legs to heal from a severe infestation. Once the mites are dead you can treat the legs with a triple anti-biotic ointment. Slather them up good. This will help with healing, but also soften the old deformed leg scales as new healthy ones grow and the skin heals under them.

After about 3-4 weeks you can bathe the chicken, have it stand in warm soapy water for a few minutes and gently try to rinse away the old flaky leg scales.

Leg mites are contagious. They can travel in the environment from one chicken to another, especially chickens on the same roost/perch. So, I would also suggest an extreme cleaning of your coop. Remove all floor litter and nesting materials and sweep the coop clean. Then I would recommend scrubbing or spraying all surfaces, including nests, perches/roosts and walls with a bleach and detergent mixture (no ammonia). Leave it on for several minutes - with chickens kept out - and rinse with hose. Let it dry before replacing litter, straw or shavings.

I would also recommend that you get some FOOD GRADE Diatomaceous Earth to sprinkle into floor litter and nests, each time you clean your coop and replace litter and nesting. This will help prevent future infestations of this bug and others. Food grade DE will not harm chickens and is actually healthy for them.

Check your other chickens for signs of leg mites, and treat with IVERMECTIN if you suspect they are infected.

What you describe is a pretty serious infestation of one chicken. She may be a breeding ground for these mites, if that is the problem. She may have other issues as chickens in good health and clean environment, don't usually have such a severe case. But this can happen to just about any chicken if exposed to the mites.

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