Scaly Leg Mites

Scaly leg Mites are relatively easy to treat.  This is caused by a tiny mite that burrows under the scales of the legs and toes.  The buildup of it’s colony and excrement cause the scales to raise away form the feet.

In this first picture we see a few scales that have begun to raise.  This is how it typically begins.  A few scales raised in this area, then the mites spread up the leg and down the toes.

The second picture shows a bird with a bad case of Scaly Leg Mites.  Not only are many scales raised but some have begun to fall off.

Treatment is simple.  Begin by scrubbing the feet with a stiff bristle brush.  Then coat the legs with an oil based treatment to smother the mites.

An old tried and true method is to use Vick’s Vapo-rub.  The menthol is toxic to the mites and the petroleum jelly base will smother the mites.    Many folks use the Vet-rx liquid, and it is effective, but costs more than a good ole jar of Vicks.

After a week scrub the legs again and reapply.   This is when it gets disgusting because some scales may come off while the gunk under the scales is scrubbed away.  Do not worry, this means the mites had killed that scale, don’t worry it will grow back if you wipe out the mite infestation.

Occasionally a really bad case will require a third or fourth treatment but usually two is enough to start the legs on the healing process.   When all mites have been eliminated and the legs have healed you will not be able to tell the difference from a bird that has never had them. 

Now that we’ve told you everything will be OK, let’s back up a minute.  In some extreme cases the condition will be so bad that the toes become deformed and in some cases toes will even fall off at the joints.  Thank goodness I couldn’t find an example of that, because it’s really disgusting when you see it.    Even then the bird can recover, but of course it won’t grow back a new toe.  Let’s hope you never get a case this bad.