Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Scaly Leg Hen

Not quite as nice to look at as yesterday's Hellebore!

Over the winter, Kylie, our little White Star, seems to have developed a very bad case of  Scaly Leg. As you can see, the scales on her leg are raised up and rough, where they should be smooth and glossy. Poor Kylie.

This nasty condition is caused by microscopic parasitic mites which burrow under the scales, irritating the skin, which eventually distorts the scales. Eventually if left untreated, it can cause lameness and must be extremely irritating. In fact I am itching just thinking about it.

You don't have to hold your chicken one handed - this is just showing off.

 So, to treat her, we soaked her legs in a lukewarm solution of TCP and water for five minutes. Strangely enough this seems to have a hypnotic effect on a hen, so there is very little flapping and fuss.  We then used a soft nail brush to brush away dirt and to make sure the solution got right under the scales. We finished off with a good thick slathering of Vaseline, although you could brush with olive oil instead. This is to create an airtight seal which will hopefully suffocate the mites and solve the problem, if repeated three times a week.

The mites will spread from hen to hen, so we will need to treat the rest of our flock. We will also need to clean out the hen house in case they have dropped into the litter.

Good news today - the ducks put themselves to bed unassisted! It is the first time since they arrived, a sign they are settling in.

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