Scaly Leg Mites is an infestation of microscopic insects, known as mites, that live on the feet and shanks of chickens. Their presence causes a gradual shift in the condition of the scales. This is because these microscopic insects spend their days digging tiny tunnels under the skin while consuming tissue and leaving behind their excrement.
In the earlier stages of a Scaly Leg mite infestation, the scales overall look normal except that it begins to look more "dry" with changes of colors. Over time, the bottoms of the scales start to lift up and the scales begin to thicken.
Some simple actions can help prevent heavy mite infestations. Always be careful when bringing in new birds from any source. Quarantine all new birds for a time period upon arrival to give any dormant issues a chance to show. Add diatomaceous earth (DE) to their dust bathing areas. The act of dust bathing will also help protect the bird against lice and mites. All litter on the floor of the coop and surrounding areas should be changed regularly.
The treatment for scaly leg mites is two-fold. First, the mites will need to be removed from the legs of the chickens. Take a nail brush and brush down the legs to remove loose pieces of scaling as well as other dirt and debris. Vaseline or Green Goo should be used to coat the leg thickly. The idea is to really work the jelly into the scales which will suffocate the mites by cutting off their access to oxygen. Treat daily for the first week, then once a week for 3 additional weeks. Green Goo also has antiseptic qualities.
For the coop, the roost will also need a coating, though not too much as the birds need to be able to grip onto it while they sleep.