Scaly leg mites in poultry

Asked May 10, 2016, 5:13 PM EDT

I have an outbreak of scaly leg mites in my backyard chicken flock (approx. 40 birds), used for egg production. I have treated their legs with petroleum jelly and they are healing well. What can I use to treat the chicken house to prevent re-infestation? It is a wooden house with a dirt floor. Also, can I add some Sevendust to their dusting area?

Haskell County Oklahoma poultry poultry health

5 Responses

Scaly-leg mites (Knemidokoptes mutans) are smaller than the northern fowl mite (1/100th of an inch) and live under the scales on birds' legs and feet. These mites are pale gray and have flat, circular bodies. Scaly-leg mites burrow under chickens' leg scales and feed on the tissue under the scales. The legs of an infected bird get thick and crusty. In severe cases the blood supply to the toes may be cut off, and the bird may lose toes.

Infected birds can be treated with Ivermectin. In addition, coating the entire leg with petroleum jelly or dipping the legs in linseed oil will help to suffocate the mites and moisturize the scales. Although scaly-leg mites prefer to live on birds, these mites can survive in the poultry house. It is therefore important to treat the inside of the poultry house, making sure the nesting area, roosts, and any cracks and crevices are treated. I would recommend removing all the litter and cleaning out all the crevices in the walls. You can then spray the walls with a pyrethrum-based pesticide.

Sevin dust is no longer approved for use with poultry so adding it to the dust bath would be an off-label use. You could use diatomaceous earth, or just use sand as the dust bath material. You can also add a pyrethrum-based pesticide.

If using Ivermectin:

is there a withdrawal time for eggs?

can the eggs be sold after withdrawal time?

I would recommend 14 days after last treatment as the withdrawal period for the sale of eggs

Thank you so much for your quick response! I do have a couple more questions. I like to be thorough since I sell my eggs.

Do I use the injectable or pour-on Ivermectin and what is the dosage? I have standard and bantam poultry.

Use a few drops of 1% solution on the skin for the standard poultry and less for the bantams.