Sunday, December 18, 2011

Scaley Leg.

My chooks had Scaley Leg, some hardly noticeable but some had it quite bad and I should have gotten onto it sooner so I am a bad chook mummy.  But notice I said had...I am thinking I have it all sorted now.

I have a pen of Isa Browns, a pen with rooster and a few hens and a pen with my AussieRocks and the leftover Mixed Breed chooks.  Three pens but close to 50 chooks.  Oh and the chickens and their mothers so another few or 16 there.   I really am going to sell some, soon.  $10 for a young unsexed bird if anyone in my area is interested.

A long time ago, before I started with the AussieRocks, Daughter and her husband came out and helped me catch and Vaseline the legs of the Mixed Breed chooks I had..  I was suposed to do it again a few weeks after that but never did them all.  Only a couple that I could catch.  So I did know that it was here.  And that was more than a year ago.

A few months ago when I first noticed the legs on some of the AR looking scaley I rubbed Vaseline on the legs of the few I caught.  The idea was to smother the mite that gets under the scale and kill them and then the problem would be solved.  I only had a little bit of petroleum jelly here, not enough for them all so it wasn't enough to rid the flock of the pest.  I talked of calling around and seeing if I could get some old oil but didn't actually call anyone.  Until a month or so ago.  I called the local garage, they sell takeaway food, and asked if I could get some old oil from the fryers.  A lovely lady said yes and a went down and picked up 10litres.  Came home and dipped some legs. I did this to a few chooks, a couple of times a week, over a few weeks but again it was only a half hearted attempt.

After a few dippings the legs of the AR that I had managed to catch were looking better, you could see the old thickened scale starting to come away but the legs of some not dipped were looking quite bad.  
Then I got serious.  Went down to the vets, told them my problem and what I thought I wanted, they discussed things and he went off and mixed me up a potion.  I believe it is Ivermectin.  I needed to put a bit on the backs of the chooks neck.  He sold me a small bottle, enough to do all my chooks and they gave me a couple of syringes to use.  Too easy.  Or so I thought.  I was home alone but hey, I'm a clever gal, I could do this by myself.  And to be sure of things I would dip their legs in the oil at the same time.  Not as easy but hey! I'm a clever gal, I could do this by myself!

I started off with the Isa's because they are friendly and easy to catch.  The plan was to catch one, stand it in the tub of oil while I put the potion on her skin, then shove her through the little door into their shed/house. The first 6 or 7 were a breeze.  The next few needed some coaxing.  Then I had to go and get some food for them.  And then the net.  The last 3 were a bloody pain and it took a bit of chasing and swearing to catch them and there was none of them standing quietly in the tub while I syringed stuff onto them.   A 10min job took me close to 2 hours.  Never again, there has to be an easier way.

But one pen was done with and I was sure it would get rid of the mite and any worm issues with them.
In actual fact the legs of the Isas was not very bad at all and maybe the oil by itself would have worked with them but as I had the stuff I thought it would be good husbandry to do them all.  And good practice for doing the not so quiet ones.

The week after doing the Isas I thought it was hightime to make a proper start on the AussieRocks.  I had been catching and dipping the legs of a few in the oil but there were some I couldn't catch. 

I had tried a few times to lock the AR in their shed and catch them one by one but though I could catch and dip most of them not all of them were cooperative.  I didn't want to start with the potion in case I couldn't remember what was done and what wasn't, I didn't want to doubledose some while leaving some untreated.  This would have to be a job for 2 so I sweet talked the husband into helping.

We coaxed the chooks into their shed with some food.  I had the potion, the oil was in the tub ready, hubby was going to be the chookcatcher.  He caught a chook, I applied the potion to the back of the neck, he dipped the legs in the oil, I opened the door enough for him to shove the treated chook outside...Not really easy but it was a system that worked.  The last few chooks to catch were the smaller mixed breed unfriendly buggers.  We were having to grab them as they flew up the walls trying to escape and put up with their squarking while we worked on them.   Happy to say that they are now all dosed up, oiled and finished with.

That left the rooster pen.  I thought that Rocky would be a problem, he thinks he's a hero and is a tad toey.
We collected a crate, the net, some chook food, the potion and the tub of oil.  We netted him first.  It was a lot easier than we thought it would be, Hubby held him while I applied the potion, Hubby dipped him in the oil and then shoved him into the crate while I put a cover on to keep him in.  Easy.  It was then just a matter of catching the other birds and doing the same with them.  Once treated they were all put back into their pen.

I had done the mothers already, they weren't hard.  I didn't apply potion to the chickens but their legs were oiled.

Happy to say that all the chooks have been treated.

We won't eat any eggs for a couple of weeks.  Instead I will boil them up and feed them back to the chooks.

Over the next couple of weeks I will re-dip the legs of any chooks that I can catch.  It is not really necessary with the potion but it makes me feel better thinking I am doing something for them.   I can see that the legs do look a lot better and I believe the oil is helping with that.

The potion cost me $31 for about 100ml.  There is just under half left.  I need to ring and check if I should redo them all in a week or so but am hoping I don't. 

Over the next few weeks I will plant more Wormwood in all the pens. 
I sprinkle Diatanatious Earth and Lime in the sheds when I clean them out, I feed Garlic...I am picking up more oil tomorrow and will continue dipping legs, for awhile at least.    I'm hoping that using this potion will rid the chooks of this pest and that by doing all the above I can prevent it getting bad again.

Have you had any problems with Scaley Leg Mites or any other chook problems?  I'd be interested in how you dealt with it.


  1. ooh, keeping chickens seems so complicated, but I still dream of us one day having some. having fresh eggs would outweigh everything, I guess!!

  2. Okay, tell me about the wormwood, please.

    I have never had this problem with Scaly Leg, I don't think.

    Let me tell you, I started laughing before you started with the dipping and stuff, actually before the catching part. That was hilarious. I can imagine how oily and dirty both you and your husband were when it was all over.

    Only one hen of the three lays occasionally since I put them out of the warm house into the cold. Now, I am feeding more warming foods. Fancy looks puny, so I may feed them diatomaceous earth for the next two weeks.

  3. Yes we have a bad problem with scaly leg mite at the moment...and fleas! We get our chooks and treat them at night when they are dopey lol! The problem keeps coming back though grrr! It seems to be an ongoing process...

    Equal parts of metho, essential oil (we use eucalyptus) and olive oil mixed together is a concoction we have used with some success. Otherwise just cheap homebrand cooking spray oil or vaseline. I am going to keep suggesting to hubby about cementing the floor of the chook pen where they nest and roost...Good luck you may need it!