Par­a­sites

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Your Poultry -

Scaly leg mites are the most likely par­a­sites to cause limp­ing and lame­ness in grow­ing and adult poul­try. They are very com­mon, spread­ing eas­ily within a flock, and when in­tro­duced by new birds which are in­fested.

The mite bur­rows be­neath the scales of the legs and feeds on the skin and tis­sue. The scales will ap­pear lifted and rough­ened, and bad cases may bleed, look de­formed, and be cov­ered in crusty ma­te­rial.

To treat it, you need to kill the mite. Cover the legs in a thick bar­rier of grease, oil or pe­tro­leum jelly and ap­ply it fre­quently (ev­ery 1-2 days) over 10-14 days. This suf­fo­cates the mites, and will also soften the dam­aged scales, which will even­tu­ally fall off and be re­placed by new, shiny, smooth ones.

Light veg­etable oil can be used but this needs to be ap­plied more fre­quently than some­thing with a thicker tex­ture.

An old tooth­brush is a good tool to thor­oughly work a bar­rier into small gaps and around all the scales.

A gen­eral pest treat­ment like iver­mectin ap­plied at the same time can aid in erad­i­cat­ing the mites.

DO NOT use kerosene or diesel. This is an old­fash­ioned method which can burn the skin of the chicken, and both are toxic sub­stances that can be ab­sorbed into a bird’s sys­tem. Dam­age caused by scaly leg mite.

Kne­mi­do­coptes mite Im­age: Alan Walker, Wiki­me­dia Com­mons

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