Monday, September 19, 2011

Scaly Leg Mite Nightmare!

While I was offline for the past month, life went on at full force here at Razzberry Corner.  I have so much to blog about from the past month, such as the earthquake that hit Washington DC, then the hurricane that hit us, how it rained for an entire month, all the flooding that occurred, how we didn't have power or water or phones, the list of potential blog posts is huge!  And I haven't even begun to talk about the guineas or the chickens yet!  I'd love to share it all with you!

But, you know, life does not stand still.
Saturday I was touched by the baby deer story and had to share that on Sunday, despite the fact that it was a current event and not something that I had saved up in my mind to share.

And Monday's post is yet another breaking news story.

Meet Lilly.

Lilly is a bantam hen, part Americana.  She's the daughter of Lucy, I made sure to hatch a Lucy egg one year because Lucy is a sweetheart.  And so Lilly was born.  I've raised sweet Lilly from an egg.  Lilly is even sweeter than Lucy, if that's possible.  They both have the same personality. 

Stay with me here, here comes some details...
Somehow our chicken got scaly leg mites in the past year.  Scaly leg mites live under the scales on the feet and legs, spending their entire life cycle on the birds feet. They spread by direct contact with other birds. The scaly leg mites bury under the scales and it is the irritation of the skin that causes the thickening of the scales.  The legs and feet may become swollen, tender and have a discharge or exudate forming under the scales.

They can be brought in via wild birds, such as starlings, sparrows, crows, swallows, etc. They can be picked up at poultry shows, sales, auctions, anywhere there is contact with other avian life. They can be carried in with rodents who enter the coops or pens in search of food. Early intervention is necessary to prevent debilitation in the flock.

We saw that we had a mild scaly leg mite issue many months ago and started treating the birds immediately.  We use Adams Plus Pyrethrin Dip.  This is used for ticks and fleas on cats and dogs.  We just make a warm bath and dip just the chickens feet and legs in the bath for a couple minutes each.  We repeat every night, or once a week or as often as we think it's needed.  We do it at night time.  It gets rid of the scaly leg mites, no problem. 

I read online to try Vaseline on the chicken's feet for leg mites, and so I tried it, but it makes a gooey mess.  It didn't get rid of the mites, but the next morning the birds had softer feet. However, they ran outside and everything stuck to their sticky feet, and then they were covered in dirt and mud.  Maybe I applied too much Vaseline, I don't know. 

But anyway, the dip works well for us.

During the past month, I'm sad to say that there was alot going on, with the earthquake, hurricane, constant daily rains, flooding, possible tornadoes, roads all over the area closed making driving to/from work near impossible, power, water, internet and phone outages at our house, with Randy starting a new job, and me going away to training for 2 weeks, with Bob the outside cat getting lost, two guineas being murdered, and horribly, to top it all off, somehow the scaly leg mites returned with a vengeance to our chickens!

And we were too involved to catch the leg mites immediately, and so it got worse.  
I noticed on my first full day back at the house on Saturday that Lilly was limping.  Badly.  I inspected her and saw scaly leg mites, a really bad case of them.  I covered her feet and legs with Vaseline, as they were obviously paining her and I didn't want to make the pain worse by putting the Adams dip on her sores.  I let her loose in the chicken pen and she looked to be limping less by evening.  Saturday night all chickens were dipped, except for sweet Lilly.  She got more Vaseline. 

Sunday morning I inspected Lilly again.  Blood was running down her legs.  Scales on her legs had become softened by the Vaseline and possibly she or another bird picked at them, making sores on her legs.  She was horribly limping.

And so Lilly came inside.  She sweetly stretched out her legs and let me put more Vaseline on her feet and legs, and I put gauze over the Vaseline, and wrapped each leg and foot in vet wrap bandaging tape.  So now she cannot even walk.  I fed her some peas, put her in a dark bathroom on some towels, turned out the lights, and put a towel over the crack of the door trying to keep it really dark for her.  I've checked on her every few hours, turning on the light, offering her broccoli or peas as snacks, she prefers peas.  She seems to be resting peacefully and doesn't even attempt to stand when I come in with food.

I don't know how long it'll take for her legs to heal, but if no one is picking at them I'd think they'd heal quickly.  I hope the mites aren't too bad.  Once the sores heal I'll dip her.  Maybe next time I check her legs and re-wrap them, her feet can stay unbandaged, so she can walk some.
Poor Lilly. 
Who knew mites could do this to a hen?

Signs were made and put up down the hall going to Lilly's bathroom...

Lilly hates the cats, although they love her. 

Good Luck, Lilly-girl!
Get well soon!


JosephAlsarraf said...

I feel bad for your chicken. It reminds me of the peacocks that I try to take care of. Lol! at the signs.

Carolyn Renee said...

Sorry to hear about Lilly and your missing kitty. We've never had to deal with mites (knocking on wood) and it's obvious it's a pain to have to deal with it. Hope she's able to recover.

LindaG said...

Hope all your chickens get well soon. ♥

Farm Girl said...

To bad for Lilly. I have had a terrible time this year with the mites that get on their their skin, I have dusted with them and once a week now I have to really clean the coop and my husband has to soak the coop with Seven. Then let it dry. Mine are looking a bit better but still it is war. Some of the things I have read say I just need to burn my coop and start over. I may end up doing that.
I checked and I don't have scaly leg mites just the other kind.
It sounds like you have had such a incredible summer.
I am glad you are posting again. It is nice to get caught up.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

What a horrendous month you've had, I'm so sorry! Good luck with healing Lilly and the rest of the flock. Good thoughts heading your way!

cmarlow41 said...

Lynn: Glad you are up and posting again. Sounds like you have the mites on the run. Hope they skedaddle with colder weather.

Knatolee said...

I gotta tell you, I am having my own scaly leg mite issues, so I feel your pain. Time for another pyrethrin dip! I am going to try Bag Balm on their legs, too, as I read it can be helpful. It's very frustrating.

Knatolee said...

And I meant to say, I'm sure Lilly will heal up quickly with your tender loving care!

John Gray said...

LOVE th sleeping chicken sign

I will try that, next time I have a sickie

Danni said...

Oh guys have had a rough go of it, haven't you? (talk about an understatement!)
Lilly looks so sweet and beautiful - I'm certain your TLC and private in-home hospital care will get rid of those nasty mites once and for all.
I am very familiar with in-home chicken hospital care, you know.

Leigh said...

Oh Lynn, so much has been going on with you! I admit I've been remiss about blog visiting, but am glad to catch up. I didn't know anything about those mites, so I was glad for the info, though very sorry for Lilly. She's really pretty and what a treasure to have a chicken with such a sweet personality.

Robin said...

Wow that is a lot of stuff going on. Talk about an exciting life for the past month! We've never had scaly leg mite yet but I do keep a look out for it. We do have wild birds that fly in the coop for food snacking so that makes me worried now.

cmarlow41 said...

Lynn and Randy:
I realized I do not have an email address for either of you so this is going on the blog. Thank you so much for the delicious cupcakes! I absolutely adore the red velvet with cream cheese frosting but the little unfrosted ones were so moist and delicious!

You don't have to approve this to the post unless you want to. I don't want all your followers getting jealous that I get cupcakes!

Cheers! Cindy (and Tim, by default)