Scaley Leg Mites

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The Scaly-Leg Mite (Knemidocoptes mutans) lives under the scales on feet and legs of poultry. It also may attach to the comb and wattles. It causes a thickening of scales on the feet and legs that gives the impression that the scales are protruding directly outward, rather that laying flat on the limb. It spends its entire life cycle on the birds and spreads mainly by direct contact. This problem is caused by small scaly-leg mites that bury under each scale and cause an irritation of the skin and the production of cells and substances that try to "wall-off" these mite parasites. Most free roaming chickens will have infestations of these mites but they seldom cause problems other than creating an irritation to the birds.


Effective treatments of the condition include:

  • A weekly coating of the birds' legs with a petroleum-based product like vasaline, or mineral oils that suffocate and kill the mites. You can also add a few drops of Ivomec to the vasaline before applying to help, but it is not necessary.
  • Spray the legs of the bird with a mosquito repellent that contains Deet, and rub it in good.


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