Cleaning the Chicken Coop from Scaly-Leg Mites

Asked July 18, 2016, 4:34 PM EDT

We have 9 chickens (standard, Bantam, hens, rooster) in a shared coop, with a cement floor, wooden walls & a small dirt yard. We found raised scales & crusty areas on the Bantam rooster's feet, as well as several other birds to lesser degrees, some without any apparent problem areas. We were told to use diesel fuel, rubbing it into their legs/scales, which will kill the scaly-leg mites and soften the crusty parts. We've treated all 9 chickens, every other day, for a week. Today we cleaned out our coop, taking all bedding to the burn pile. We were also told to use Permethrin dust for the coop. Our coop is about 90 sq ft and we used about 1 1/2 lbs, sprinkling the dust on the cleaned floor, the roosts, the ledges, the window sill, the top of the nesting boxes, and a lighter amount in the nesting boxes (none on the walls). We then filled the coop and nesting boxes with fresh pine shavings. Prior to today's cleaning, we had cleaned the coop about 6 weeks ago & didn't notice a problem, although we could've missed the raised the scales on their feet. We clean the coop before winter, and before planting in the spring (approx Oct & May). We scoop out all the pine shavings, sweep a bit & replace the pine shavings. We have never put a powder down, sprayed anything, used bleach or even used soap & water. We simply get the pine shavings out & do our best to keep it clean until the next cleaning. This is our first experience w/scaly-leg mites in 5 years. I've read lots of ideas on what to use to treat the birds (petroleum jelly, any vegetable oil, etc.), with other people giving reasons/experiences why those same ideas shouldn't be used.

Is it okay to treat the coop with Permethrin for scaly-leg mites? Should we coat the nesting boxes with the same amount of Permethrin as the floor, or should we be careful of the amount going in there? Does Permethrin have the same/similar effect as pyrethrum on scaly-leg mites? If not & pyrethrum is really the only/best option, where would we get pyrethrum, does it have to be ordered online? Do we need to add something to the dirt in their yard for dust baths? They do occasionally dust themselves in the dirt, digging out a little "nest." Should we be concerned w/putting Diatomacious Earth in a bowl for them to dust themselves? Thank you so much for your help!

Cedar County Nebraska

1 Response


Reading over your post it seems that you are on top of eradicating this parasite and making sure it doesnt come back.

You can use permethrin and if you do treat everything. As for the amount I would apply an equal amount to all the surfaces. As for its efficacy in killing those mites I would guess it should work, unless they are resistant to it. Which you will see if they come back right away. As for an alternative I have been an advocate of Sevin dust. It isn't approved for poultry anymore; however it does a good job in controlling most of the external parasites of poultry. I am unfamiliar with the use of pyrethrum; however there is a synthetic version called pyrethroid that will work. It is nontoxic to most animals, like chickens but not to cats. So please read the label if you are able to locate some. A major brand is Tempo, if that helps. Here is a link to one of the manufactures website
As for dust baths you can use Diatomaceous earth, from what I have been told it works well for controlling mites and lice. Again I would consider using Sevin dust, however either one will work in a dust box.

I hope this information helps