My poultry podiatry methods have advanced. Still a hilarious procedure though.
Instead of a miticide foot bath, followed by Vaseline, I’ve found that the best approach is just to Vaseline the little feet, and preferably, do it again 2-3 days later. Even if they have it bad (it being the scaly leg mite that’s such a problem for Silkies in particular), the Vaseline softens up the scales and the unwanted stuff sloughs right off. I think it would be enough to treat them like this 3 or 4 times a year for a preventative.
Plus it’s way easier than organizing a tub of warm water. Just have a rag on hand to wipe your greasy hand on before touching their feathers again.
I don’t wait for night any more either. I used to put a toque over their heads to grab them out of the coop at night. I think partly they’re just used to the routine now and are resigned to it. I can do it any time of day. Everyone screams when they’re first grabbed, but then as soon as you start rubbing their feet, they quiet right down and hold still. They seem to thoroughly enjoy it. Who doesn’t love a foot rub?
My chickens’ feet are doing quite well now. With the feathered feet, Silkies almost always have scaly mite, and show it fast- the white “dust” on their black skin. Almost every flock of any kind of hens I’ve seen has scaly mite to some degree, but it’s less noticable on layer hens, until they get old.
I’ve gone through the Silkies twice this winter with Vaseline treatment, and my layers once, some of whom arrived with bad visible scaly mite troubles, and now everyone’s legs look very good, except the three oldest Silkies, whose legs are merely “not bad”. They arrived afflicted years ago, and I haven’t really hoped to eradicate it in my flocks, but to keep it well controlled.
I’ve heard that the true cure for Scaly mite is oregano! Put oregano in their feed, or oil of oregano in their water, and the mites jump right off their legs! Exciting to know a possible cure, but it will be a while before enough evidence is gathered.