Scaly leg mite

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

How­ever, some tri­als show good re­sults in sheep and goats, oth­ers no dif­fer­ence. There is no re­search that we can find into their ef­fi­cacy in poul­try, so we can’t tell you whether it works or not as poul­try phys­i­ol­ogy is very dif­fer­ent to that of live­stock like sheep and goats.

The other is­sue is the amount of cu­cur­bitacin found in pump­kin seeds varies greatly de­pend­ing on the va­ri­ety of pump­kin, the time of year it is har­vested and how it is then pro­cessed, so even if it does work, there’s no ad­vice on what va­ri­ety is best to use, how to main­tain the lev­els of cu­cur­bitacin to best ef­fect, or how much is ef­fec­tive.

Worm­wood ( Arteme­sia ab­sinthium) is a herb tra­di­tion­ally used for its ver­mifu­gal prop­er­ties (killer of in­ter­nal par­a­sites). Re­search has shown its use can kill up to 94% of Bar­bers Pole worms in sheep and goats, and it is a key in­gre­di­ent in a NZ prod­uct called Be­ta­drench.

How­ever, again, there’s no science to show whether it has the same ef­fect on poul­try, and worm­wood can be toxic so it’s not some­thing to be rec­om­mended, es­pe­cially when there are no rec­om­mended safe dose rates, or even a pre­ferred way of feed­ing it to birds, eg dried, pow­dered, fresh. Red mites (which live in the coop, not on the bird) and the var­i­ous other in­sect species like scaly leg mite, fowl mites, lice and fleas, can eas­ily in­fest your coop and are of­ten very dif­fi­cult to get rid of. They are eas­ily spread by wild birds in­fil­trat­ing your run, and can even di­rectly move from wild birds to your flock. You may also in­ad­ver­tently in­tro­duce them when you bring in new birds or equip­ment which are car­ry­ing the mites, eggs or larva. Mite eggs in par­tic­u­lar are very re­sis­tant and can sur­vive for up to two years in the en­vi­ron­ment un­til a suit­able host comes along.

A chem­i­cal in­sec­ti­cide treat­ment like Rip­cord, when used prop­erly, is prob­a­bly the most ef­fec­tive con­trol method if you have an in­fes­ta­tion, but if aro­matic plants and herbs are also used on a reg­u­lar ba­sis (see page 61) you should be able to keep the pop­u­la­tion of crawlies at a re­duced level. Spray­ing the coop and perches and nests with neem oil is also use­ful. Th­ese bug­gers get a spe­cial men­tion. This is an ex­ter­nal mite that bur­rows un­der the scales of the legs of poul­try, and some­times into the skin around the face, lifting the scales, and slowly en­crust­ing their legs. Have a look at the smooth scales of the bird pic­tured at right and com­pare them to your flock: if the scales look like they have lifted (as with the bird pic­tured above), your birds prob­a­bly have scaly leg mite.

It is par­tic­u­larly hard to treat us­ing an in­sec­ti­cide, al­though a top­i­cal prod­uct like iver­mectin pour-on (see

in­struc­tions on page 59) can help.

The best way to get rid of it is to com­bine some­thing like an ap­pli­ca­tion of iver­mectin with a phys­i­cal suf­fo­ca­tion of the mites. Petroleum jelly or an­other greasy prod­uct works well: spread it thickly and thor­oughly over all scaly parts of the hen’s body us­ing an old tooth brush so you get it deep into any crevices. You will need to re­peat this ev­ery day or two over at least a week as it will be rubbed off as a bird moves around.

An in­sec­ti­cide like neem oil can be added to the jelly, or sprayed on the legs first. There are a couple of sprays on the mar­ket that may also have in­sec­ti­ci­dal and heal­ing prop­er­ties.

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